Teaching a goal-setting class at a homeless shelter gave me a whole new perspective on goal-setting. In preparing for the class, I was all set to use the S.M.A.R.T. Goals approach, but I felt that something big was missing…God. I just couldn’t teach a goal-setting class without including wisdom from the Lord. I mean goals are great and all, but God-goals are even greater! These beautiful women needed God-goals in their lives as they try to get back on their feet, find jobs, homes, and a new beginning in life.
But I realized that we all have struggles. We all have seasons of darkness. We all fall into deep pits. We all have desires in our hearts that we long for God to fulfill. We all ache for a new beginning in some area of our lives. We all want God to bless our path and make it clear. It is our job to align our goals with His will and then walk forward in confidence and faith trusting that He makes all things good in His time.
Instead of just S.M.A.R.T. goals this year, let’s be smarter. Let’s invite God into our goal-setting process with P.R.A.Y.E.R. goals instead. Let’s commit our plans to Him and allow Him to guide our steps.
- PRAY—Ask God what He wants for you and for your life. Prayer is the most powerful place to start! Take time to silence the demands of the world, and ask God to reveal His plans for you. Invite Him into your goal-setting process. Seek His direction for your life, and ask Him to reveal the desires He’s placed in your heart.
- RECORD—Record the goals that God reveals. Getting them out of your head and heart and putting them down on paper will increase your chances for achieving them. Your goals may be practical or personal as long as they are prayerful from the start. Remember to be realistic, specific, and use positive words like I’m going to find a job using my people skills by January 2017. Put your goals in a place where you can see them every day.
- ACT—Make a plan for how you will accomplish each goal. Take your goals from just staring at you on a piece of paper to actually becoming a reality. For each goal, write down 2-3 detailed action steps—very specific actions you need to take to move forward. Pray about these little steps of faith every day.
- YOURSELF—Take time to look within yourself and identify your feelings about each goal. Asking yourself these two questions can help you understand more about your motivations. You will also have a better idea on how to prioritize and pray for each goal:
- How do I feel about each goal? Am I excited, nervous, ambitious, indifferent, determined, passionate, fearful?
- How will I feel after I accomplish each goal? Will I feel happy, elated, ecstatic, thrilled, indifferent, nervous, unsure?
- ENCOURAGER-– Ask a person whom you love and trust to be your encourager. Find someone to be your cheerleader, your high-fiver, your go-to guy or gal when you’re feeling down or discouraged or when you want to celebrate an accomplishment.
- ROADBLOCKS—Identify possible roadblocks in advance. Put on the armor of God and prepare yourself with a plan for how you will overcome potential setbacks—from yourself and from the world. Be on the look-out for fear, doubt, insecurity, time-management, money, lack of motivation, energy, temptations, put-downs, negativity, laziness, or even past mistakes to creep in and try to stop you! Stand strong. Be bold. Pray. And pray some more!
Whether you are homeless, single, married, divorced, employed, unemployed, tall, or short, it doesn’t matter…God created you with very specific gifts and talents. He has a special purpose for you, and He wants you to understand that your goals are great, but following God with those goals is even greater!
So remember to give yourself grace and give God the control over your goals. Give Him the freedom to edit, revise, or completely rewrite your goals for you as needed. And never view yourself as a failure if you don’t accomplish a goal that you set for yourself. Life is unpredictable. Our circumstances change. Curve balls are thrown. God will turn every roadblock into a blessing, every setback into a lesson, and every curve ball into a grand slam if you are committed to following Him, trusting Him, and ultimately willing to give your entire life to Him…goals and all…every single day.
“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4