Crushing Your Goals…God’s Way

I’ve read too many books about achieving goals, accomplishing tasks, and being more productive. Some authors say you should shoot for the stars when setting goals. Other authors say you should have low, reasonable expectations. Some say that if you write your goals down, you will unlock the positive energy of the universe, which will then flow through you (I’m not making this stuff up). Others go so far as to recommend writing out your own obituary. All the books have titles like Crushing Your Goals!, Be An Elite Achiever!!, and The Principles for World Domination!!! (these authors really like exclamation points).

And the truth is, these books have helped me to achieve some of my goals. I ran a half-marathon. I’ve written a few books. I exercise regularly. I did pretty decent in college. Hurray for me, sis-boom-bah, big honkin’ whoop. Not really. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I was able to do those things. But I’m beginning to realize that there’s a big difference between simply achieving goals and achieving goals in a manner that pleases God.

It really is possible to achieve almost anything if you put your mind to it and are willing to pour all your energy into achieving your goal. This is how morbidly obese people lose 200 pounds, mailroom employees become corporate executives, and total nerds found companies like Apple and Google. It’s also how people memorize entire books of the Bible, create freakishly awesome youth ministries, and write Christian books.

But there are two ways to achieve a goal. The first way is by relying on your own strength. You will pull yourself up by the bootstraps, kick down all the doors, and suplex anyone who gets in your way. When you accomplish the goal, you get the glory. That is not God’s way of achieving goals. Unfortunately I’ve taken this path far too often.

The second way to achieve your goals is in humble dependence upon God. In Proverbs 16:3 it says:

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.

Godly goal crushing begins by committing the goal to the Lord. It begins by saying, “Lord, I want to do this for your glory. I realize that I can’t accomplish anything truly good without your divine empowerment. Help me.” Godly goal crushing begins by humbly praying over our goals. It begins by lifting our goals to the Lord and saying, “Lord, I hold this goal loosely. If you want me to achieve this, help me. Otherwise, thwart me.”

  • “Lord, help me lose weight for your glory, so that I can be healthy and more effectively serve my family. I want to do this in a manner that pleases you.”
  • “Lord help me get good grades for your honor, not mine. You have given me a mind, help me use it to bring you honor.”
  • “Lord help me attain this position at work in a way that pleases you. Guard me from selfish ambition. Guard me from the temptation to advance my agenda above your agenda.”

It’s quite possible to achieve good, moral goals without pleasing the Lord one bit. I’ve done this too many times to count. But, if we commit our goals to God, and work at them in humble dependence upon God, he will be honored. If we work in our own strength, we get the glory when we achieve the goal. If we work in God’s strength, he gets the glory. Today, tackle your goals with God’s strength.

How Do You Plan?

Due to an insanely busy week which involved me reading large chunks of Systematic Theology, going to DC, and joining a secret club of ninjas, I no longer have any brains left for blogging. So today I want to for your help.

Here’s what I want to know. Recently I’ve been trying to grow in planning. I want to learn to diligently plan my days and weeks so that I can more effectively serve my family. In essence, I want to learn to organize my life more efficiently. My question for you is: how do you organize?

What tools and strategies do you use to organize your weeks, and your finances, and your fellowship, and your spiritual disciplines? How do you attack the week before it attacks you? Please help me out here. Point me to some good strategies, tools, articles, etc.

God’s Plan or My Plan?

For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 1:11)

Very much of the time I live unconsciously thinking that the world pretty much revolves around me.

Much of the time I’m thinking about what “I” want to get done this afternoon, what “I’m” going to do this Friday night; who “I” need to call; etc.  Often I unconsciously believe that my plans are really the most important plans on earth.

In reality, my plans are not important at all, especially compared to God’s plan.  It is God’s plan for the world that matters.  God’s plan is to fill the earth with the knowledge of his glory. God’s plan is to bring multitudes to himself through his Son.  God’s plan is that his name will be great among the nations and the incense of worship will ascend in every place from redeemed people delighting in him.  That’s what really matters to God.

It’s important to plan, but we must hold our plans loosely.  I personally am a bad planner.  I’ve struggled with planning and organization all my life.  I tend to set unrealistic goals like, “Learn Spanish and Klingon this month.  Jog 500 miles this week.  Learn to love my dogs.  Read 3 books a day.  Eat 800 grams of fiber and drink 6 gallons of water daily, learn to make Wedding Soup and use Maritime signal flags.”

I start off the week with a flourish, learning some important phrases in Spanish, such as “Donde el-bathroom-o?” and “Donde el coffee shop-o?”.  Then I jog a half-mile, choke down some oatmeal and flax seed and a glass of water…I’ll have to learn to love my dogs later.

By day 2 of my week I’ve given up on all my goals and decide to spend the rest of the week watching television.

Actually, I’ve gotten a little better at planning over the years.  But even when all is going according to plan there are always interruptions –  unexpected calls, a ride I need to give one of my children, someone in need who stops by.  Can you relate?

Our plans are important only as they fit in with God’s big plan.  If our plans aren’t fulfilled it doesn’t matter.  Only God’s plan matters.  If we spent more time thinking and praying about God’s plan than our own we’d be much more joyful.  Let’s be more concerned about God’s plan and rejoice that he’ll fulfill it, even if he doesn’t fulfill our plans.

photo by jurvetson