And with New Years comes resolutions and goals.
I recently had my opinion of goal setting challenged by Rick Warren of Saddleback Church. I often listen to sermons while traveling alone and what do you know Pastor Warren is speaking of goals when I happened upon him.
I usually listen to pastors such as Alistair Begg, Dr. David Jeremiah, Chuck Swindoll, and Ravi Zacharias to mention a few. I listened to Pastor Warren for two reasons~ he pastors a huge church and therefore has a large multitude of listeners--I am curious what they are hearing and I know for a fact he understands man's sufferings. Nothing speaks louder to me than the faithful witness of one who has suffered and endured with God's help. One who acknowledges without God it is not possible to sometimes take the next step.
When Pastor Warren reminded us that Paul himself was a goal setter~I was hooked. My futile attempts at resolutions in the past have not always been successful (most of the time they are not successful). I came away after listening to his teaching with a new appreciation for setting goals.
I broke my goal setting down into categories and tried to keep it simple and obtainable.
Physical--eat healthier. I am a confessed junk food junkie and a balanced diet consists of a dab of protein, a slathering of carbs, and a side of sugar. Add to that my apathy toward eating and you have a disaster of a diet. In the recent past, I have had my trainer challenge me on my eating habits. So my goal for this year is to eat more protein and less sugar with a healthy side of carbs. I am not saying everyday--I am saying the majority of days. To think I will overnight change a lifetime of poor eating habits is foolish. What is obtainable is to begin to be conscious of the amount of protein I am ingesting and to cut back on the sweets. I am not one to deny myself any food, but moderation and awareness are good rules.
Intellectual--continue to learn. Lectures, books, conversations, documentaries are available in all areas of study. Rather than being entertained seek to be challenged and stretched in new areas of interest. Continue to seek wisdom and knowledge in a variety of fields. Exercising the brain is every bit as important as the body.
Relational--look outside the box. I am blessed with a variety of friends from all walks of life. I spend most of my time though with a nucleus of acquaintances who I have known for years. I love that old song--"Make new friends, but keep the old." Expand my circle of friends, by spending time with a variety of people. Grow in awareness of the diversity found all around me.
Spiritual--grow by seeking Him. This is where Pastor Warren hit home. He reminded us of Paul having a goal. Surely if Paul saw the need for a goal--it would not hurt me to do the same. By seeking Him in a variety of ways--study, reading, conversation, time with Him while listening, I will come to know Him better--move closer to the truth of Who He is and deepen my relationship with Him.
Here are two things to consider when setting your goals--speak your goals out loud. Having someone to help hold you accountable is always a good idea. If I merely write my goals on a piece of paper and never discuss them--how easy it will be to "forget" where I intended to go. God gave us relationships to challenge us, make us think and spur us on. Allow someone in your life to be your accountability partner.
Do not be discouraged. If you fall off the horse, get up, dust yourself off, and try again. I have spent years falling off and getting back up on that exercise horse. Two steps forward and one step back--but guess what I am moving forward. For you see two minus one--is one. And "ALL FORWARD MOTION COUNTS!" And new beginnings do not have a limit--we can have a new beginning over and over--Praise God!
So if Paul was always seeking the goal--so shall I--and the goal--the goal is seeking Him---in all ways--at all times--seeking Him.