GOD, THE ULTIMATE GOAL-SETTER – Part 2 (By Janine Mick Wills)
Again, I’m exercising my spiritual imagination here, but I believe there are many examples in the Bible that show God as a planner and goal-setter. His greatest achievement was Creation. Before there was time and space, God had a plan. He executed it perfectly step-by-step. If we copy God’s plan, we too, can be successful goal-setters.
Before there was time and space, God had a plan.
Lesson #1 – Sometimes you don’t know the end result of your goal. But don’t let that stop you from going for it. Just believe you will achieve it one day.
In “God, the Ultimate Goal-Setter” (Part 1), we discussed that before Creation, God planned to send His Son to die for the sins of the world (1 Peter 1:20). The first step of God’s plan was to provide a Savior for a world He hadn’t even created yet!
Lesson #2 – It’s fun to sit around thinking about your goal, but you also need to put shoes on your goal-planning feet!
On the first day of Creation, God didn’t stand around. He did something. He said, “Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). He didn’t spend an eternity thinking about light, He just went out and created it!
You can’t sit around and only think about your goals. You’ve got to get up and start working toward them.
Lesson #3 – If problems arise while goal setting, know there is always a way around them.
On the second day of Creation, God looked out and saw water, water everywhere. This could have been a problem since He planned to create man with legs to walk instead of fins to swim. But God spoke and “a firmament in the midst of the waters” appeared (Genesis 1:6). What initially seemed a setback, worked out perfectly.
Let’s face it, Ladies. Things don’t always go like we want. It’s called life. The dog throws up on your carpet five minutes before company comes, the class you wanted to attend is full, your best friend or husband shoots down your plans, etc. etc.
Don’t despair. Take a few deep breaths (This changes your physiology. More on this later too!) and change gears. Sometimes going a different direction will bring even greater results. Whatever you do, don’t give up!
Lesson #4 – Do all things decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40).
Though all of Creation was done in a decent and orderly fashion, Day 3 is a highlight. God brought forth land before He created “grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind” (Genesis 1:11).
“Now, wait a minute,” you might say. “God didn’t create the sun until Day 4? Plants need the sun to grow.”
Oh, but don’t forget on Day 1, God created light! Plants need light to grow, not necessarily the sun. God knew this, so planned accordingly.
Nothing took Him by surprise. Not once did He say, “Whoops! I should have thought of that first!” (On the contrary, He continually said that “It was good.”)
Your goals will not happen just because you want them to. There is a planning process. I don’t really like that part: the sitting down with paper and pen and writing down my goals and the steps to accomplish them. I’d much rather wake up the next day and just start doing something.
But you need a game plan: a place from which to start, a place to go, and how you’ll get there. You will go much further down the goal setting road with a map. Even if you veer off the path now and again, keep coming back to your map, recalculate, and then continue on your way.
Lesson #5 – There is a time and season for all things. Realize you may need to postpone or modify some of your goals.
There is much order in Day 4 of Creation. God created the sun, moon, and stars, which created time. (Genesis 1:14 “…to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years). Time was God’s gift to man. God didn’t need it. He’s eternal!
But time does have its drawbacks. There never seems to be enough of it for one (In a later post, I’ll deal with using your time more productively). Another problem is that we can’t always do what we want to because it’s not the right time. This is especially hard on someone like me, who wants everything done yesterday!
My daughter Jennifer started studying for her Master’s degree in Music at Bob Jones University. She planned to write music and lyrics that were biblically-based and God-honoring. Jump forward six years. She’s now married with three young children and another on the way. She’s had to put her music writing plans on hold for something of much greater value, raising her children.
Something I told her, which I hope helps you as well, is that according to Ecclesiastes 1:1-9, everything has a time and purpose. You might have certain dreams. But you may have to postpone them until the children are grown, you finish college, or whatever is of greater importance right now. These in themselves become your current goal(s).
That doesn’t mean you chuck your plans. It means you may have to modify them.
Though Jennifer doesn’t have the opportunity now to write music, she plays the piano and sings at church. She still uses her God-given talents, but in a different way than she first planned. Later on, when the kids are older and/or leave home, she can continue with her original goal.
Lesson #6 – Execute your plans, step-by-step
On Day 5 of Creation, God made the fowls of the air and the sea creatures. They were the next step in His Creation plan. He didn’t form man from the dust of the earth until He completed His work on Day 5.
When you write down your goals and the steps you need to reach them, it may appear daunting. You may wonder how you will ever accomplish so much. You’re already busy enough as it.
Here’s the advice I give Jennifer when motherhood seems a never-ending, I-can’t-get-it-all-done occupation. “How do you eat an elephant, Sweetie? One bite at a time.”
How do you eat an elephant?
Take your list and write a number of priority next to each item. These may change as you institute your plan, so be flexible and go with the flow.
Start with #1 (Even if you’d rather do #3 and #4) and get going. You may not get finished that day, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing the most important thing is either done or on its way to being done. Then move on to #2, and so on, and so on.
As you mark off each number, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment. This will bolster your resolve to keep going. Before you know it, you’re crossing off that last number and saying, “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow. We did it, Lord!”
Lesson #7 – Allow the progression of your goals to excite and motivate you.
Day 6 is my favorite day of Creation because on this day, God created the animals and man (But He wasn’t completely pleased until He created woman!).
I can almost see God’s excitement build with each day of Creation. He knew on Day 6 He would create Man. Someone who could willing love and worship Him. And for a time, Man walked and talked with God in the Garden.
God desired man’s fellowship! And the great news is, He still does! We can’t talk to Him face-to-face like Adam and Eve did, but He speaks to us through His Word, and we can talk to Him through prayer.
God speaks to us through His Word, and we can talk to Him through prayer.
Lesson #8 – Ya gotta rest now and then from all that goal setting!
We all know God doesn’t need to rest, right? But He gave us Day #7 as a reminder that we do. Goal setting and achieving goals can be hard work. We need to balance it with times of rest and recreation.
When your goals become all-consuming, if all you think about and do is them, they have become your god. And we certainly don’t want that. Especially when we want our goals to honor our Lord in the first place!
The Bible says in Philippians 4:5 to “Let your moderation be known unto all men.” This means that anyone can tell when you are living a balanced life. Don’t do one thing to the exclusion of another. This keeps stress and worry at bay and allows you to accomplish what is necessary to fulfill your God-given life and purpose.
This is a toughie for me. I am the poster girl for “Go-get-’em-right-now.” Even as I type this, I’m looking at the clock tick past 4:00 p.m. That means it’s time for me to quit whatever I’m doing and exercise.
Since eating and exercising for optimum health is one of my goals, I need to honor that by making myself quit, even though I’d much rather continue plucking away on this keyboard! Plus, after I’m done exercising, it’s time to feed my cat and twelve chickens, straighten up the house, shower, and get ready for my dear hubby to come home (Being a better wife is one of my goals too!).
So, until the next time, start thinking about something you can do for God. And keep checking back for more ideas on how to set and accomplish your goals!
Did you miss “God, the Ultimate Goal-Setter” (Part 1)? If so, you can click here and start at the beginning.