Have you set any goals that you feel inspired to complete? If not, maybe today is the day to take that persistant idea and put it into motion.
Today I’m setting a goal to get GoingByFaith up and running in three months with at least 36 posts and a few more details (listed at the bottom). This idea has lingered for months but I felt unsure of direction, so I prayed about it and took a few steps to set up the theme with two posts. Not even two months later the door has opened to new-found free time I wouldn’t have foreseen. Another prayer answered!
After proclaiming the goal on Twitter today–OK, so it’s a start–I wondered what the Bible had to say about setting goals and looked around for some inspiration. These four faith-based tips for setting goals helped encourage me today, so please read on and add more that you like in the comments :
1. Banish perfectionism.
In an online sermon “Going for the Goal,” Terry Cavanaugh mentions how Paul starts off Philippians 3:12 explaining that he strives for perfection but still has a ways to go in his quest for complete spiritual maturity. If Paul could say he had room to grow, we all do. Even when we don’t see a clear path for how we’ll accomplish a goal, it’s worth it to start moving in its general direction. That starts by tossing aside the illusion of perfectionism, which has the potential to freeze us in our tracks. And if the pull of perfectionism is too strong, ask God to lift it from you–and have faith that He absolutely will.
2. Purge away the past.
When it comes to setting goals, this goes along well with banishing perfectionism because much of the time our need to feel “perfect” comes from past hurts, disappointments and thwarted efforts. Let’s take another look at Paul’s message:
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, 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, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)
Cavanaugh points out that Paul uses a strong word for “forget” here: In Greek it means to “completely forget,” the way a runner forgets his opponents in a race–completely in the zone, completely focused on the finish. Let’s learn to release the past so it doesn’t hinder our progress. “The people who succeed in life are the ones who overcome their earlier mistakes; they purge their past,” writes Cavanaugh.
3. Do what’s good– and pray for guidance.
If the goals we want to set include worldly success with little regard for others, then let’s reflect on our reasons for setting them. Is it to feed some secret pride or to live up to the false expectations of others? God has a plan for us– he’s given us talents and abilities to use and enjoy–and to do good works with! When we pray for guidance and wisdom in seeking to do good works, God protects our steps. As Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”
4. Lean into it– and spread the word.
Paul said he would press on toward the goal. When he was imprisoned in Rome, he didn’t sit around and fret, but instead he wrote letters to others and praised God during that time (he even helped convert some of the guards!). For me, setting a goal and being held accountable for it helps to seal the deal. We can share our goals with others, post them on the fridge or write them in a blog.
Here’s an example:
Today I’m on a mission, with God’s help and guidance, to get GoingByFaith up and running in three months with the following goals:
- Write 36 posts that reflect on and encourage the Christian journey
- Find and implement a customized design
- Add at least one multi-media post
Just to make sense of this in the future, there are currently two posts, a default design, zero media posts, two tabs, two readers and one comment from my mother in law. (Thank you!)
While we move toward reaching our goals, we want to seek wise counsel, thank God daily for His guidance and pray the right doors will continue to open, but it all starts with setting a goal in faith to continue living in God’s light. Good luck!