Some people set new year resolutions. Others set goals. Some people do it at the end of the year in preparation for the new year. Others choose to set goals throughout the year.
It doesn’t matter what words you use to describe it or how excited you are while doing it; it’s normal to have your enthusiasm for goals fizzle out over time. You’re not alone. Most people never follow through with their new year resolutions or have difficulty reaching their goals!
Does no one really want positive change in their lives?
Of course, they do! All people want their lives to change for the better. Desire isn’t the problem. We all have lots of desire.
It’s usually diligence that’s lacking.
Isn’t this true of our very faith in Christ? If we were not diligent in keeping our eyes on Jesus, we could quickly grow tired of doing the right thing and fall right back into our old life.
If we stopped making prayer a part of our days.
If we let dust gather on our bible
If we made an extra hour of sleep more important than going to church, how quickly would we find it more difficult to make the right choices? How much easier would it be to focus on the day in and day out and let eternity grow fuzzy?
The Bible is overflowing with reminders to keep our eyes on the prize.
23“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." (Hebrews 10:23) NKJV
In Hebrews, Paul went on to tell story after story of real people from the bible who had to pursue goals every day of their life without ever being able to see them literally. They had to run a race with no finish line in sight.
Then he goes on to say…
1“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2) NKJV
These verses encourage us to hold tight to Jesus so that we will not stray far away from our faith and grow weak spiritually.
Below are some questions you’re encouraged to take a few minutes to stop and reflect over. Grab your journal or a piece of paper and jot down your thoughts and feelings.
How do you feel about your life and where you are going?
Lives are not lived one life at a time; they are lived one moment at a time.
Have you ever stopped to think about where you are going with your life?
What are your goals and plans, and dreams?
What are you doing today to bring you closer to these dreams?
A goal isn’t a goal until you have a plan!
Have you ever sat down and created a plan to help you achieve reaching your goals? If not, now is an excellent time to start.
A goal isn’t a goal unless you are working towards it!
How many tangible, measurable steps have you taken towards making them a reality? And how many tangible, measurable steps have you taken that have made your goal more difficult to reach than ever?
Everything you do in life does one of three things…
We don’t become what we want to be through HUGE decisions. We become who we want to be through daily actions. Sometimes, tiny actions.
We don’t wake up one day acting just like Jesus, do we? No, but day by day, we slowly but surely act more like Him:
These and a thousand other daily actions that occur over time reflect the changes taking place on the inside.
Are little changes easy? No! Even small changes usually involve some kind of pain and frustration for all of us.
Pain is usually the result of the internal dialog that takes place. When we’re used to letting our flesh rule in an area – it just plain doesn’t like it when we expect it to change.
For example: when you make up your mind that you will get a raise at work this year. You decide that you’re going to start getting to work early and always offer to stay late when needed. You’re going to always do a little more than is expected and make an impact with your boss. You’re going to prove that you’re the one who deserves a promotion once and for all.
Only getting to work early means getting up earlier – and your body doesn’t want to get up fifteen minutes earlier. And staying late means missing your favorite TV show. And doing more than is expected means giving up chatting with coworkers during the downtime.
The decision you made to make a big impact is great, but it’s the little daily actions of follow-through that will make it happen. You have to do it even though it hurts.
Frustration comes as the result of something external. We may have our internal situations well in hand but run into some kind of roadblock that we have no control over.
Taking our career ambitions as an example again, we’ve decided that we’re going to work harder than ever before and make a profound impression with our boss – only our boss gets a promotion and that guy we can’t stand and who doesn’t like us just got his old job.
Will making those everyday decisions be a little harder now? You betcha.
Any significant change worth making will always offer a Season of Disillusionment for the one attempting the change.
Think about it in relation to reaching any big goals that you’ve set.
You set a goal with your eyes on the Prize.
You tackle the first day with the Prize sharp in your mind.
You face the next day well.
The next day is ok.
The next day is a little harder.
The fifth day… you have less of the Prize in your mind and more of how hard yesterday was.
The sixth day you’re really losing steam.
The seventh day you can’t even remember what the Prize was in the face of all this discomfort and just give up!
Sometimes we get disillusioned because we don’t get the immediate and dramatic feedback we dreamed we would.
For example: Think about a difficult relationship that you might be dealing with. Maybe it’s your husband, and the two of you have been arguing and nitpicking each other for months or even years, and you make up your mind that come hell or high water, you’re going to change. You’re going to be the one who chooses to just bite her tongue and say something nice no matter what he says.
You make it through the first day.
You make it through the second day.
You make it through the third, and now you’re patting yourself on the back for all the opportunities to snap back that you’ve resisted.
You make it through the fourth day.
You make it through the fifth day. You’re feeling pretty darn good about yourself, you figure that he has to have noticed that something about you has changed – and then at the dinner table he asks ‘what it is that you want, he knows you must want something, or you wouldn’t be being so nice.’
This is your moment of potential Disillusionment!
You could get offended and stomp away.
You could scowl at him and refuse to answer.
Or you could just say, “Honey, I’m really glad you noticed. I’ve just been trying to show you a little more respect and care. You’re my husband, and I love you, that’s all.”
If you can only make changes when you get positive feedback from people – you’re never going to be the person God has called you to be because some of what God will call you to do won’t be popular with people.
Some of the most significant changes that need to occur in your life will stop the pattern of negative consequences you’ve grown used to– but never bring about any great rewards that you’d be about to point out to anyone else.
Some of the most valuable changes that will take place in your heart will only ever be noticed by one or two people – such as your husband or your sister.
Some of the most important goals you reach in your life are between only you and God. No one else knows about them or would have any idea that the goal has been achieved.
If you NEED greater feedback than what God can offer you – you will never do what it takes to be what He has called you to be.
God gave you life, and he appointed to you a number of days, and only He knows how many of those days you have left.
You have a purpose on this earth.
You have a purpose, and you have to pause every once in a while and answer the question, “Where am I going in my life?” “Am I fulfilling the purposes that God created me for?”
Here is one of my all-time favorite quotes – and I do not know who to attribute it to:
"You don't have to be more than God created you to be - but stop being less."
To live a life that falls short of our God-given potential is sad.
I don’t believe that we’re going to face God and get a lecture on everything we could have done and didn’t do – no, I believe that we will see our true reflection in His eyes.
The only way to really be all that God created us to be is to see ourselves as He sees us.
We have to learn to see ourselves as overcomers instead of excuse-makers.
We have to find the courage to do the right thing because He affirms it whether no one else ever does.
Imagine for a moment that your life will be recorded in the annals of history – like that of Moses or Abraham or Paul. What will they write about you?
Now that you’ve reached the end, I hope you don’t feel bad about any goals you’ve set and haven’t reached – again, as mentioned in the beginning, it’s normal for all of us to lose enthusiasm and not reach our goals. This also isn’t intended to make you feel bad if you think you’re not living your God-given goals.
Instead, it’s meant to be a source of encouragement! And I hope you’ll use this as a stepping stone – stop and reflect on the questions, especially the last set. Pull out a journal (or piece of paper and pen), your Bible, and set aside 20-30 minutes to get quiet and spend some time in prayer and meditation with God. He’ll guide you and help you see any areas of improvement that need to be made.
Grace and peace,
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