As we were approaching the end of 2018, someone asked me, “Have you set some goals for 2019?” I couldn’t answer that question immediately because I hadn’t set any goals. so I admitted that I had not. That conversation made me wonder if I am becoming less focussed and is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Many years ago, I learned that a goal is an objective I want to achieve with a time-frame for doing it. Too often if we have no deadline, even if it is self-imposed, our best ideas don’t come to pass. So I found that definition really helpful because it prodded me to be more faith-filled and proactive. Without a time-frame we can let days, weeks, months and even years pass without taking the risks required to make an idea become reality.
Why do I hesitate?
So I asked myself, “Why am I hesitant to set goals for 2019?” I had to think about that for quite a while before I could decide whether I was becoming more lethargic or had a good reason for not having goals. I know I have set goals before and that has been very helpful. When I first felt that God had spoken to me to initiate and implement the Reconciliation Walk, I set a goal for getting underway in five years. Actually that was pretty much set for me because when God spoke to me about it and I began to learn more about the Crusades, I recognised that the 900th anniversary of the First Crusade was coming up in five years. That goal really helped me focus and get it done!
Is it God-given?
That goal was marked by a conviction that it was a given by revelation; that made it different than a self-determined goal. In practice, it was a very big difference because I had real faith for it and as Hebrews 11:1 says, “…faith is the guarantee of things we can’t see.” There is another passage of scripture that says it another way: 1st John 4:14, 15: “And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.”
Faith makes things happen
I think that is why I have become less interested in setting goals for the New Year. However, it shouldn’t stop me asking the Holy Spirit to tell me anything he wants me to know or do in 2019. I don’t really have the confidence—or perhaps it is presumption—to set goals for myself. But I do desperately want to know what God wants to do with me and through me. That way I can have genuine faith and faith makes things happen!
The most wonderful news!
As you and I look forward to 2019, there is so much uncertainty about the major events of the world. I think about that quite a lot, but it is always in a bigger context. Most of us have lived in a very long season of peace and our general prosperity is greater than at any time in history. Day to day life is SO much better than it has been thus far in human history.
As long as we invest our time and efforts—and humility—into our relationships with Jesus, with our family and with our friends and neighbours, this is a great time to be alive.
The best news of all is what Jesus said in John 10:10. I like the way the New Living Translation puts it, “My purpose for them [us] is to give them [us] a rich and satisfying life.
We may or may not have goals, but we do have One Who Watches Over Us; One who is able to make everything work together for good. And His purpose couldn’t be better! I plan to go along with His plans for me. Experience tells me that I am in for some surprises I could never plan. So, I guess that means I do have a goal. My goal is to actively, daily put myself in the hands of the One who wants my life to be rich and satisfying. Beat that!