Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tuesday's Featured: Should We Set Goals?

Is goal-setting a good tactic?  Or does it attempt to take power away from God, and place it into our own hands?

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Honestly, I have struggled with this idea for some time.  Years ago, when talking to various people who had set major goals for their lives, I ended up wondering, "How do you know that those things are what God wants for you?"  It seemed sort of controversial...an autonomous and independent decision.

Now, though, I am beginning to understand the power of holding an open hand.  Yes, when people grip too tightly on to their dreams and goals, they do proclaim a certain independence from what the Lord may want for their lives.  But when goals and dreams are taken to the Lord first, prayed over, and then surrendered, one is more apt to hold those goals with an open palm.  The realization that plans can change--God's plans for our lives--remains a major reminder in this process (Proverbs 16:9).

I then began asking, "Well, then, what is a good way to set goals?"  To state, "I will become a doctor" is a fabulous goal--yet, it is not very specific in its details.  Again, only God truly knows the details of our lives, and plans can alter in an instant.  But setting detail-specific goals can absolutely keep them from seeming too "out there" or overwhelming.  

Check out this acronym, as you ponder setting your next goal--be SMART:

Time Frame

Goals, when given some details, keep a person on track, focused, and encouraged.  A goal that is much too large, not very specific, unrealistic, and given no time frame will most likely not be reached.

For example, instead of saying, "I am going to apply for jobs today", a person might restate this goal more specifically: "I am going to apply for at least three sales positions today, between the hours of 10am and 2pm."  This goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and has a time frame!

Some Scripture that I read this morning from 1 Timothy reveals the importance to holding fast and passionately to the way ahead: "Fight the good fight of the faith.  Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called...keep this command without spot of blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ..." (v. 11-14).  Fight, take hold, and keep are not lazy verbs!  The way will not be easy, but through Christ's power we are called to run the race with perseverance.

What SMART goal can you set today?  What do you think about goal-setting?  I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions!

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