I received an e-mail about goal setting that I thought asked a good question: “I am really trying to figure out how to blend the need to set goals and to do God’s will. I used to start the year with a set of goals that I would work toward the whole year. But as I grew in my relationship with the Lord I started to think that I needed to be more God directed rather than self-directed. So I stopped goal setting. But I feel that isn’t right either. I feel like I should be doing something. I need to know how to mix the two. What are your thoughts on the subject?”
Here is a summary of my response: First, I believe we should work like it depends on us and pray like it depends on God. And if we do that we will find the balance that we are looking for. Second, here is quick overview of a process so you can go about goal setting in a God-honoring way:
1. RETREAT DAY – Pick a retreat day and get away. You know – change of pace and change of place leads to a change in perspective.
2. ASK GOD TO DIRECT YOUR GOAL-SETTING – Use your time on this retreat to pray and listen for God’s direction about your goals. I recently heard Erwin McManus say “what sets Christ Followers apart from other religious people is that when we pray we hear from God and obey.”
3. WRITE DOWN POTENTIAL GOALS – As things come to mind – write them down as potential goals. Take the list of potential goals and narrow them down to what you believe are the priorities and possible goals.
4. SEEK WISE COUNSEL – Once you have finished with your list of goals meet with a trusted friend who shares your spiritual values and review your goals with that person. If they confirm that these are God-honoring goals I would feel confident that these goals are the direction you should move.
5. ONE STEP AT A TIME – We never accomplish significant goals all at once, we pursue them one step at at time. As you take each step continue to ask God for guidance or to have Him re-direct you.