I don’t write about and study goal setting because I’m naturally good at it. I need accountability and some serious pants-kicking to make things happen. I remember so clearly standing on a beach in Maui with Natalie Norton years ago, telling her I just “don’t set goals.” She challenged me, waves crashing at our feet, to set some goals that mattered. “Just try it,” she urged. “God wants us to set goals that help Him shine!” Ever since, that has been on my heart. I lived for so long thinking that we should just sit back and let God make our lives happen. While there is truth to that, God calls us clearly in His word to take action for Him and for the gospel. The Bible is an action book, not a casual read. Jesus had goals. He had a single goal and a core purpose and all of his actions centered on fulfilling that purpose. While we are not Him, we are made in His image and called to walk with Him. So, that’s what I want to try to do. I want to model after the man who laid His life down for others and gave it all and didn’t care about material things and loved people so passionately. I will never come close to having a heart like His here on this earth, but I thing the pursuit of that will be worth all of my failures and shortcomings. Setting goals is good. We need direction and a path to what matters. It’s when we start setting goals that don’t include Him that things get a little (here comes my favorite Southern word!) cattywampus.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)
So, last year, I decided things were going to be different. I started my first Goal Setting series to lay out a process that was more thoughtful than what I had done in the past. From there, I developed the PowerSheets and this whole process changed my life. With my PowerSheets, I started to be more mindful of taking action on my core purpose. I realized that I had to give myself a structure or I’d fall into my old habits and forget my goals. So, I pasted my PowerSheets Tending List to the front of my binder each month and kept it out on my desk so I saw it every single day. I prayed on my goals. I even posted my 2013 goals on my new about page for accountability. As I expected, my goals changed through the year. They got clearer. This is why the PowerSheets were only created for a 6 month timeframe. There’s no magic to 356 days. We should always be re-evaluating our goals, not just at the start of a new calendar year. I posted my progress every three months (or when I could!) here: April, August, October. I am so exceedingly grateful that I wrote things down throughout the year. This was new for me and completely changed things. It gave me so much more to celebrate because I didn’t forget good things or let negative things overshadow them. This helped me to have the energy and confidence to keep going when things got hard. It helped me see so much more of God’s goodness that was there all along. 2013, by the grace of God, was a really incredible year. And not because everything went well. It was a great year because I learned more about God’s heart through challenges and mistakes and triumphs and failures. I learned more about where He wants my attention and energy. Here are what my 2013 Goals were:
My update for these 2013 goals is simple: God made it happen. I made significant strides on all of these goals because of His guidance and grace. I still have a long way to go in many of these areas, but I am in awe of how He worked in my life this year. While I didn’t finish reading the Bible completely by December 31, reading it daily this year is honestly where I found the most clear direction to make these things happen. What I learned from all of this: His plans never fail. Ever. They just don’t. Times I pursued things for my ego or lost sight of His purpose for my life, I failed. When I did things for the bigger picture — to build others up in love for Him — He blessed those things. Now, when I say “blessed them” I mean He gave me clear guidance and sometimes that guidance was hard. Sometimes it meant I had to fail at something in order to move forward on His path. But, it was all for a great reason. I also learned that tending to goals little by little is where real lasting and continual progress comes from. I think “little by little” was my key phrase for 2013 and it still is. My Tending List in the PowerSheets was instrumental in keeping me on track. Little by little seeds turn into trees. Little by little babies grow. Little by little — and sometimes in an instant — He makes all things new.
OK, I have 20-something days to finish my book manuscript, so I would definitely appreciate your prayers. My 2014 Goals are up next, but I need a few more days to think on them and get into this manuscript. Till then, post your own 2014 Goals on my last post or feel free to wait till I post mine later this week! I am praying that you all have a remarkable start to 2014 and that you keep your eye on the goal! We can do this, friends!