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  • Writer's pictureTammy Arlene

Goals or Wishes?

Let’s not look in the rear view mirror at past mistakes. Together, we can look forward and press on toward the goals we were designed for by God.

If something is important, we will make time for it. For example, if we have a favorite television program, we may record it and make time to sit and watch it. It brings enjoyment, so we spend intentional time watching, even binge watching. Likewise, if we have a friend that we value, we make time to spend with them in person, virtually, writing letters, or talking on the telephone. Time equals value.

Shouldn’t our spiritual and physical health goals have value as well? Let’s follow the example set by Paul when he wrote to the young Church in Philippi.

Philippians 3:14 (NIV) – “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Do you have something important that you feel God is drawing you toward? Something that you often say to others?

A few examples from my own life include:

Reading the Bible daily

Writing/Journaling about what I learn from my bible reading

Praying to God with thankfulness throughout the day, starting when my eyes open in the morning

Creative writing for publication

Writing Bible Studies to encourage women

Healthy mindful eating

Daily exercise

The primary reason I’ve struggled to accomplish goals is because I didn’t make time for them. If I had to be honest, the things that I didn’t accomplish were not goals at all, they were wishes. It boils down to the fact that I didn’t see value in the thing I wished to accomplish, therefore, I was not intentional about spending a few minutes or more a day to devote to turn these wishes or desires into true goals. I’ve used lack of time as an excuse, yet I’ve spent minutes to hours watching silly animal videos on social media. I placed priority something other than what God was drawing me toward. That is embarrassing to admit, but sadly true.

In some cases, I’ve let others discourage me from following God’s calling just when the ember of passion for the goal started to heat up. Beware! That is Satan’s attempt to put out the passion and purpose filled fire that God gives all of us! Many of us have been discouraged and hurt by family members or pious appearing religious people. That internal injury may have left us doubting our callings. This is a topic that I can and will explore more in the near future.

What reasons do you have for not pressing toward turning God’s encouraging whisper into a goal? Do you see others who are doing the thing/things that you wish you could do? Do these people have more minutes in their day that you do? It may seem like they do. They don’t. They just have placed value on the task, and therefore, dedicated time to it.

Do you want to press on, making progress toward a goal God has placed on your heart?

If so, I’ve listed a few steps that have helped me. Pick a goal. Let’s do this together.

1. Name it. What is one thing that you hear yourself saying out loud, or in your head, that you would do, if only. . . For example, “If only I had more time, I’d devote 15 minutes to quiet time reading my Bible and listening to God first thing every morning.”

2. Write it down! I like to use 3 x 5 cards. Anything will work. Write “Starting tomorrow morning, I will devote 15 minutes(minimum) daily to reading God’s word.”

3. Be intentional ahead of time. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier than usual. Prepare yourself to dedicate time to this goal. Using the example above, place your Bible and a journal on your bedside table. Or, if you are a coffee drinker, put these items next to the coffee maker so you grab them when you get your first cup of the day.

This is what I like to call an intentional chain reaction. I grab my coffee and read the Bible. I am already in the habit of getting a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, I just add another step to what I already do. Having my Bible right there serves as a reminder and eliminates the excuse to go get it if I am tired!

4. Do it, rain or shine! There are many theories about how long it takes to create or break a habit. I know that it is easier to break a habit than create one. I am a firm believer that we need to press deeper within ourselves than just creating a new habit. We have to prioritize what God wants us to do, know deep inside that this is important for our Christian walk, and dedicate ourselves to reaching toward the goal.

5. Reward yourself. Maybe hanging a paper calendar on the wall and putting a big check mark on the dates you accomplished your goal will motivate you. Or, even better, you can list the passages you read on the calendar so you can see the progress made at a glimpse.

6. Accountability partners are great. Is there someone that you know that has a similar goal? You could report in daily or weekly on your progress. If you don’t have an accountability partner, you can email me and let me know how you are doing. I’d love to encourage you.

7. Don’t be hard on yourself. Remember how I mentioned above that others may discourage you from pressing toward your goal? We can do that to ourselves and stop progress in its tracks. If you miss a day, pick up the next day and keep going. There may be a morning that the alarm doesn’t go off and you need to rush off to work. Or a family emergency disrupts the schedule. Grace, my friend, is a free gift from God. Trust me, He knows what you are going through.

Here is another much needed reminder from the Apostle Paul. Philippians 3:13 (NIV) “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.”

Let’s not look in the rear view mirror at past mistakes. Together, we can look forward and press on toward the goals we were designed for by God.

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