A Goal Setting Activity
This goal setting activity can be done at any time of the year. However, there is something about the start of a new year that prompts a desire to set goals.
The change of seasons, the celebration of holidays and feasts are designed by God to give us the anticipation of change in our own lives. The leaves change color; one year comes to an end with the joyous celebration of Christmas, and another year tempts us with possibilities.
In Christ, the past is forgiven and He gives you a chance to start afresh. So why not dream as a child would – freely and without limitations.
As a goal setting activity, this is different because you do not do it alone. Instead, you sit down together with the One who created you, redeemed you and desires to make you over into His likeness. As my pastor loves to say, “ He loves you just the way you are, but loves you too much to leave you that way!”
He has aspirations, plans and purposes for you that you have not even contemplated yet. He knows you so intimately, that nothing about you comes as a surprise to Him.
So in this goal setting activity, you set aside some time to linger with Him. As I come to the close of this year, I find that I am even more contemplative than I am the rest of the year. Give yourself plenty of time, keeping your spirit open to hear from Him. To sensitize yourself to truly hear, you might want to consider fasting - whether it is abstaining from food or something else.
The goal setting activity begins with prayer. Commit to Jesus your eagerness to hear from Him about specific areas of your life. The more thoroughly you break down your life into areas like – spiritual, physical, family, artistic…, the more you welcome His involvement in your life.
When praying about these areas, ask for wisdom and insight. We are promised that "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering" James 1:5 KJV This verse assures us of His willingness to grant that wisdom.
However, I think that most of us miss receiving that wisdom because of our skepticism. I know that I have often missed receiving, because of a lack of faith that what the verse promises me, is true.
If we ask unwaveringly, it is given to us. So how does that work? I think that like much of God’s word, it happens in a manner that is counter -intuitive.
Picture with me, that you are engaged in a goal setting activity, sitting face to face with an incredible mentor - a truly gifted artist. He tells you that he will help you establish goals for the next year, since he has a reviewed your life this far and has a clear understanding of where to direct you next.
Would you challenge his desire to assist you, if he were sitting directly across from you? Would you, for even an instant, question his suggestions? Yet because we do not see God eyeball to eyeball, we doubt His word. But remember this, none of us came to Him because we saw Him face to face.
We came to Him because His word drew us. When we tentatively trusted in those precious words of salvation, our lives changed forever. Each of us has a wonderful list of events in our lives when He proved to be completely true to His word.
If what He has said is true, then each of us should require no other source for wisdom and insight. So why are we not all wise with the wisdom that He promises?
I think the answer lies in the fact that we hinder receiving because in the core of our being, we don’t believe that we will.
Here is the challenge – we must believe that we have it (not that we will receive it sometime in the blurry future) as soon as we request it. Most likely, we’ll feel no different – no wiser, experience no jolts of insight, or anything else in the tangible realm, that confirms that we have it.
But God’s word transcends what we feel. It describes a reality that is unseen first, before it manifests in our tangible world.
So in this goal setting activity these are the steps to consider
• Ask Him to reveal to you the plans that He has for the coming year
The words that you speak betray whether you truly believe, or not. If words contrary to what you prayed slip out,they are a dead give away that you don’t believe what you just prayed! So determine to speak only words that affirm these truths by saying(not merely giving mental assent to it) the following:
• You have wisdom to know where to begin, what to tackle first in each area of your life
Invariably you have to deal with the "What if?’s." "What if I hear nothing, have no clue about how to proceed, no insight…?" Would I not be lying when I say I have wisdom… when I don’t feel it yet? This is the counter intuitive part of this goal setting activity.
Your speaking only the words that affirm the truth of James 1:5, is the key that will manifest your goals. Do not swerve from the certainty that it will work for you. Set a close guard over your mouth, watching diligently for anything contrary to that truth that might slip out. If it does, repent quickly and reaffirm the above truths.
In this goal setting activity, eager expectation of its success is what will guarantee its effectiveness. And it goes without saying, that skepticism will kill it.
Maintain your attitude of listening to God, as you engage in this goal setting activity. Then read your Bible beginning anywhere. Keep reading expectantly until, He starts to speak to you through what you read.
As ideas pop into your mind, write them down. If nothing comes immediately, persist. All through the Bible, we read of God’s overwhelming desire to communicate with man. We read over and over again “ the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, or Ezekiel….’ They merely maintained an attitude of expectancy. You are equally precious to Him. He will speak.
If you are only given one little glimpse into tomorrow, don’t be discouraged. Instead, take steps to act on what He gave you. Each step of obedience will illumine the way for the next.
This goal setting activity is different from all others, because for the actual setting of the goals, you are not the initiator, He is. Besides that, He provides the ability and resources to make your goals a reality.
So relax and enjoy the year to come – your only task is to expect Him to lead and to obediently follow.