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Organizing the steps and specifics of long-term goals is not an automatic habit for me. Though I wonder if this is less about how I’m wired, and more about the way God intends the journey to be – small increments of step by step instruction.
Because the small stuff matters. Whether writing ingredients for a five day supper lineup or the small steps of a five-year life plan – what seems minuscule to me, sometimes matter most to God.
Powerful Scripture #1
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.” Luke 16:10 NIV
Don’t shun what seems small. Imagine chocolate-chip cookies without the chips!
In God’s world, the small, faithful steps of obedience, service and generosity, often yield significant results, with immense impact. We are not called to calculate the impossibilities of a dream or the dimension of a goal, we’re directed to count the cost.
Am I willing, in this season, in this place, to stick with the process, even if progress is slow? There is plenty of hype when setting and starting new goals. But somewhere in the middle, enthusiasm tends to dwindle and determination can diminish.
Counting the cost before we begin, helps keep an eternal perspective as we go and a realistic aim for progress. It also safeguards us from pursuing what may, in time be good, but perhaps in this season, could cost in an unhealthy way.
Powerful Scripture #2
“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?” Luke 14:28 NLT
I heard about a public study between people who do pretty well in achieving their ambitions and those who are highly successful. One notable difference was the later group had the habit of writing out their goals.
Powerful Scripture #3
“Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.” Habakkuk 2:2 NKJV
One practical way I practice ‘writing the vision’, is to create columns or use two separate pages side by side in a note book. On one side is my responsibility and practical steps. Then I mark the other page or column with God’s promise and part.
Powerful Scripture #4
“A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 NKJV
And my hubby echoes, “God is my business partner.” What an awesome truth – Jesus and I, Jesus and you, are active participants, together for life. And partners each play a part.
Reviewing your roles in each season will help guide you in your goals and prepare for the path ahead. If you’re hesitant, ask God to reaffirm or redefine your roles.
For example: What is my responsibility as I seek this particular change in my marriage, home life, work place, relationship? What’s my role as I pursue this goal, project or opportunity? And what impossible parts do I relinquish and entrust to my God-parting, God-saving, God-providing – God?
Now your goals are written – ‘That he may R U N who reads it.’ Love that line in Habakkuk!
Powerful Scripture #5
“Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-26 NIV
Speaking of crowns in Corinthians, I’m reminded God’s definition of success differs from the world’s. What’s that verse? “The last will be first and the first will be last.” Matthew 20:16 And. .“The greatest among you will be your servant.” Matthew 23:11
Throughout scripture we see the humble lifted, the nobodies becoming SomeOne’s – belonging and grafted in as integral parts of God’s big story. Shout out to the Shepherds!
Powerful Scripture #6
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 NIV
When God’s Kingdom is my first love, first priority, first pursuit, I freely enjoy the abundant fruit of peace and joy in all I pursue. And the more I abide, the less I stress and strive. One of my personal goals this year is to live closer to the heart of Jesus, to be less occupied with my schedule and more consumed with my Savior.
Powerful Scripture #7
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV
Every God-given dream, God-centered goal, God-driven ambition has an ultimate purpose – to glorify God. And gearing up with God’s Word, will give us the best opportunity for successfully reaching them.
It’s important to mark our goals with God’s glory in mind and heart. Evaluating our motives when making plans helps establish what goals are God-inspired and discern ones we may need to forgo.
A few helpful questions:
What is my aim in this ambition?
What is my intention for this improvement?
Is the end goal to exalt God’s Word?
I know, I said seven, but here’s another powerful scripture to ponder and press into.
Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. Joshua 1:8 NLT
As we jumpstart the New Year, let’s use a God-centered approach to map our goals and mark our plans, using Scripture as the ultimate source for guidance and of course the gusto we need to persevere in the process!