We have made it through the first week of another year! With each new year, new week, new day, we are blessed with the opportunity to have a fresh start and a new beginning.
With 2018 being full of lessons learned and having grown from the difficulty faced, I have BIG plans for 2019. And I know I’m not alone. It seems as if everyone around me is excited to go after all their new goals and plans this year.
Some have made the resolution to take better care of themselves, physically, mentally and spiritually. Some have made plans to finally work on that business plan or that new venture they’ve wanted to start. And I’m one of them!
But most importantly in 2019, I want to achieve the personal goals I’ve set AND follow God with passion and purpose.
But in the midst of my own planning, I can’t help but think about the things God has for me and if the plans I’ve made align with His perfect will.
So, the question becomes: How can I create goals that align with God’s will? But also, how can I keep my focus on God in achieving those goals?
After doing a deep dive in my word and some super helpful devotionals, I’m excited to give you guys a few tips.
When sitting down to think about what I pray to accomplish with this new blank canvas we call 2019, I first wondered, “What does God even say about planning for the future or even having goals?”
I’m pretty sure that everyone has heard the old Yiddish proverb that says, “Man Plans, God Laughs.” Before I became obsessed with planners and wall calendars, I laughed at the thought of planning my day out and writing down daily tasks. I used to think that there’s no possible way to plan ahead because you can’t really know what unexpected things can happen in a day, a month or a year.
However, the Bible gives a different perspective.
Proverbs 21:5 says “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance and advantage, but every one who acts in haste comes surely to poverty.”
This scripture reminds us that planning not only gives you an advantage but can save you so much time, energy, stress and even money.
Even when it comes to our goals for 2019, by having a plan, we can know precisely what steps we need to take to achieve them!
Now that I know what the Bible says about planning ahead, I then began to think “how can I tell if goals are God sent or if they are from me?”
One way we can speak directly to God is through prayer.
Once I began studying for this post, I promise I saw this scripture almost every single day.
“If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him. But he must ask [for wisdom] in faith, without doubting [God’s willingness to help], for the one who doubts is like a billowing surge of the sea that is blown about and tossed by the wind.’ James 1:5-6.
So basically, ASK HIM! Ask Him about the goals you have for the year. To go a bit further, ask Him to give you goals that align in His will and the purpose for your life. Ask Him, what does he want for you in 2019?
“We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer.” Proverbs 16:1
“I will instruct you (says the Lord) and guide you along the best pathway for your life; I will advise you and watch your progress.” Psalm 32:8
Another way you can assure that your goals are coming from God is by using the best-written manual for daily life to ever exist. Drumroll, please… The Bible!
Whenever I had a question or needed guidance, I never thought to look in my Bible. I know that may seem like an obvious place for answers, but my first thought was to always ask God for direction through prayer.
Though it does have an extensive compilation of stories and parables, the Bible is also a giant set of instructions that help us operate our daily lives!
And I know what you’re thinking. How can a book, written over 2,000 years ago by men, be relevant to anything I have going on in the 21st century?? I once thought the very same thing. I didn’t know the bible would have the answers to goals about self-care or building better relationships.
However, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 reminds us that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
And Hebrews 4:12 tells us “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”
Because the Bible is living word, it can help us in any situation, at any period in our lives. And it was written with guidance straight from Him to help us in every goal we may have!
From how to run a business, how to manage finances, how to have healthy relationships, to taking care of our bodies, the Bible literally give us all the keys to achieve a successful life.
When we are creating goals for this year, check and see if you can find scriptures that affirm whatever goal you have in mind!
I know one scripture that I am keeping in mind for this year is Philippians 4:8. It gives me sort of a checklist to keep when creating my goals.
“Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].”
Lastly, if you have God-loving mentors or trusted friends, ask them for advice about your goals!
I have always struggled with asking others for help, even when I can’t handle whatever is going on by myself. Asking for help doesn’t mean you can’t do things on your own, but that you are smart enough to know that you don’t have to handle things on your own!
Proverbs 15:22 assures us that “Without consultation and wise advice, plans are frustrated,but with many counselors, they are established and succeed.”
It’s perfectly ok to go to people you trust and know you well to give you sound advice on some of the goals you may have for this new year. They may even be willing to keep you accountability buddy as you accomplish them!
Now buddies, before we move on, I have to drop a disclaimer. There is no one size fits all formula to find out if your goals are from God. What may work for your best friend, may not work for you.
And that’s perfectly ok! God wants to have intimate relationships with us that are unique for each individual, so is the way He chooses to speak to you. He may switch up the way He does it as you elevate in your relationship with him or as you battle different circumstances. He may even want you to wait for an answer from Him so you can be refined and readied for what He has in store next.
I just pray that you move with an open heart to hear, see, experience what He may have to say to you.
“Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].” Proverbs 3:5-6
Ok, now that I know what God says about planning and goals, and how to tell if goals are coming from Him, I started to think about the goals I set for this year.
Some of them were faith-fueled, and some of them focused on my own personal health and well-being. So I started to question, “can I even have goals that have absolutely nothing to do with ministry or do they all have to be fast, pray, serve, church?”
When we are born again in Christ, and our heart is transformed by his unconditional love for us, we are compelled to, out of our love for Him, to read our bible (Psalm 1:2), spend time with him in prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18), be with other believers (Hebrews 10:23-25), and share our faith with others (Psalm 96:3). That is at the core of His will for us and how we can build our relationship with him. Again, this is no formula, but things we should want to do to keep us close to Him.
At the end of the day, God wants everything that we do, big goals or the seemingly mundane ones, to be done for his glory.
Whether it’s graduating from the #1 HBCU in the country in 4 years, being smarter with your finances, or taking care of your body, if you do those things with the sole aim to please God and give him the glory, you can be used as a light for Him.
“Commit your works to the Lord [submit and trust them to Him], And your plans will succeed [if you respond to His will and guidance].” Proverbs 16:3
Submit and trust? To the common control freak (me), submitting may seem like a giant word to grasp. Allowing God to have full control and just trusting that He’s got my back has always been a struggle for me.
I try to sprinkle a little James 2:26 on my situations and say that “faith without works is dead” as my reason for still trying to put my hands in what God is doing.
But I realize more and more every single day that God can do a much better job at handling my goals, my problems and my needs better than I ever could. And when He helps me, I just got to give Him the glory.
So, do all of your goals have to be about church or serving?
Whatever goals you may have, bloom where you are planted and remember to always give Him the glory.
Now that I know what He says about goals and planning, how to tell if goals are in line with His will and if all my goals need to be faith-fueled, I feel like I’m ready to tackle 2019 head on!
But, “how can I keep my focus on God and achieve my goals?”
So just like when you take a trip, you have your maps making sure that you’re going in the right direction right? You still have the choice of making a left turn too early or a right turn a little too late, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get to your final destination. It just may take a little longer, and you may experience some things you necessarily wouldn’t have to, had you stayed on the intended course.
God wants to live life right beside us, connected to our every step. He wants to be our guide. He knows the right way to go.
“Remain in Me, and I [will remain] in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you [bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith] unless you remain in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5
My mama started saying, “He wants me to win,” a year or so ago and it has literally become my mantra in every situation.
He literally wants us to achieve our wildest dreams. The goals and plans we have will be fruitful if we remain in Him and continually seek His guidance. Any success, win, victory or goal accomplished comes from Him anyway. All He asks for is the glory, and He will give us the desires our hearts.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, And He will give you the desires and petitions of your heart.” PSALM 37:4
So now buddies, let’s recap!
To set Godly goals, we
- Seek His wisdom on God-led goals
- Stretch ourselves and take steps in faith in big, small faith-fueled and personal goals
- Trust and submit our goals to Him
- Give Him the glory
But, what happens in you don’t follow through? What if I try to do these things but mess up along the way?
I got good news for you, buddies.
“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” Philippians 3:12-14
God doesn’t expect you or me to be perfect. That’s what Jesus was sent for. He was assigned to be our guide, our strength, and to show us the way. Where you can’t, He can. There isn’t a mess that He can’t turn into something beautiful.
If you lose sight of Him or fall off the path of achieving your goals, pick it right back up again.
God isn’t concerned about us making perfect progress on our journey, He just wants our heart. Every step, every prayer, every movement as you seek Him first, you will stay on the right path.
“Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Buddies I pray that as you journey into this new year with bright eyes and big goals, that you seek what God wants for you in 2019. Ask Him to help you set goals that He can get the glory out of.
And I can assure you, if you remain in Him, you can expect to win!
Comment some of your goals you plan to accomplish in 2019!