Aligning Goals

As I am faced with a new year, I am met with different emotions – fear, excitement, hope, intimidation. Goals crowd in with dreams, ideas get intermixed with necessities until I start wondering what the differences are. What is the difference between a goal and a dream? The difference between an idea and a necessity? How does one prioritize when there are so many things to be done, so many people to be involved with, so many days to wake up and somehow live to the fullest?

It is easy for me to lose priorities in the general mix of life. That goal I had of washing the dishes gets pushed aside when a friend’s text comes across my phone. That priority to look for scholarships gets lost when I start scrolling through Facebook or a sibling comes into my room, ready for a conversation. And don’t get me started on how many nights I make a mental list of everything I should get done the next day, only to wake up the next morning feeling entirely motivated or life throws another monkey wrench that changes the course of the day’s one-scheduled course.

I don’t know about you, but attempts at organization get worse when I start looking at the general year’s schedule. Mission trip in May – check. Stay actively involved with church activities – check. Make time for family – check. Keep the room clean – check. And somehow, in all that, there needs to be quality Jesus time and maintaining hobbies and making “me” time that is somehow productive and provides restoration rather than further exhaustion. Just thinking about it sends my brain into a tizzy. I could ignore it, but then there comes the issue of waking up in the middle of July and realizing that none of my goals are even half complete.

Sometimes not making goals is acceptable. There are certain life curves that are impossible to avoid. The loss of a family or friend, moving to a new location, or losing a job – God has a knack of resetting us when we need it most, inconvenient as it may be for us.

Thankfully God doesn’t really seem to care about whether or not His plans inconvenience us. He’s much more concerned about making sure our plans line up with His plans. I sometimes laugh when I realize that I went weeks thinking that I was capable of making my own plans without His input, then wake up only to find that all the plans that took place were more of His plans than mine. His goals exceed mine in such a beautiful and perfect way. His thoughtfulness in changing what I often, and wrongly, call “my life” leaves me in awe. Don’t get me wrong; I have plenty of times when I look up and say, “Really, God? I had it all figured out and You just had to come and ruin it for me” – only to realize that I was the one ruining myself, and He only saved me from making it worse.

There is a perfect balance between establishing your plans and allowing God to change those plans. He does not wish us humans to be robots, laying around waiting for Him to hit us with a lightning bolt, jolting us to sudden action. He wants us to have the ability to think for ourselves. But above all that, He longs for our hearts to align with His so that there are no mid-life crises.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11, NKJV

The beauty of life is that as much as we think we are in control, God is always ultimately the One Who has any sort of hold on our life. Part of His sense of humor is watching us stumble through life, thinking we have it all together, only to discover that those perfect moments were only perfect because they were orchestrated by His perfect hands. Those bad moments were only bad because we tried to let go, and He pulled us back. The pulling-back process hurts. It’s supposed to hurt. Otherwise we would not appreciate happiness. Those confusing moments were only confusing because our minds were not aligned with His.

I am thankful that God’s goals are so much higher than mine. I may not always know what they are, but I can rest in the promise that they do exist. They are there. Because of that, as long as I am continuously working towards trusting and living in Him, everything will work out for good.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28, NKJV
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