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Girlfriends in God - Jan. 3, 2012


January 3, 2012
Go for the Gold Part 1
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
2 Corinthians 1:12 "Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God's grace."

Friend to Friend
I always look forward to watching the Winter Olympics and am always amazed by the amount of training the athletes are willing to invest in order to win a gold, silver or bronze medal. If Christians were willing to make the same kind of investment in running the race of life, I believe the world would be a vastly different place. How important you consider a race to be influences how hard you will run it and determines the goals you set in order to win that race. I believe every believer should have clear life goals based on clear spiritual goals which should be the most important goals of all. There is a close connection between spiritual goal-orientation and motivation and fulfillment in your Christian life. This is a big reason why so many Christians are unmotivated in their walks. If you want your relationship with God to be motivating, it has to be making progress, accomplishing something and steadily growing - which involves learning to set meaningful life goals.

In order to set meaningful life goals, it is important to remember that because we are children of God, we walk by faith - not by sight. The world's wisdom is often in direct opposition to the grace of God. In 2 Corinthians 1:12 the apostle Paul reminds us to keep our gaze on God, our glance on our circumstances and our path in His will. One of the most comforting thoughts about setting goals is that God is more concerned about my future than I am. When I stop to think about the fact that God has planned out every day of my life, setting goals becomes the daily quest of discovering that plan and choosing to follow it. I find great hope in the knowledge that even though I do not know every detail concerning my future, God does, and He has already made every provision for that plan. In other words, where God guides - He provides - which is why I can face each day with a confident expectation that God is sufficient and will bless my life as I seek His plan and set my life goals accordingly. Setting goals is the mark of a seeking heart that longs to please God and experience every blessing He has in store.

A friend once shared with me the idea of making life goals "S.M.A.R.T." Over the years, this idea has become a practical and powerful tool in learning how to set meaningful life goals. I hope it is helpful to you.

Specific. Psalm 139:16 "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

Life goals must be specific. Determine precisely what your goals are. What have you always wanted to do but have never had the time or money? What would you do if money and time were not an issue? What do you want to accomplish in the next five years? What do you wish you had done in the last five years? What do you think God wants you to do that you are not doing?

Break each goal down into a series of smaller accomplishments that, when completed, would result in achieving your primary goal. When you break your goals into bite-sized pieces they don’t seem to be quite as daunting.

By the way, celebrate each time you achieve one of your goals. Sharon Jaynes is a good friend and awesome partner in ministry. I will never forget the day Sharon walked into the office where we both worked, holding what looked like a new baby wrapped in a blanket. Since Sharon's son was in college at the time, you can say I was a little surprised - until she unfolded the blanket and said, "I just gave birth." Her "bundle" was actually the first copy of her new book and she was celebrating. I joined her in praising God for the goal she had set and met! Praise and celebration can help motivate you to achieve the next goal on your list.

Measurable. Luke 11:28"Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it."

Can you tangibly show you met the goal? Goals must be specific to have life-changing value and you must be able to tell whether or not you have reached each goal. What specifically do you want to accomplish, and within what time frame? It is so easy to set ambiguous life goals. "I want to get more involved in my church" instead of "I will attend the 10:30 worship service each week." I once set the goal of improving my prayer life but the first question that popped into my mind was, "How?" A better goal would have been to pray each morning for 10 minutes or recruit a prayer partner to pray with once a week.

Once a goal has been met, review the process of meeting that goal and determine what mistakes you could have avoided and what changes you should have made along the way. Ask God for wisdom as you plan and set specific goals. Involve Him every step of the way and be sure to chart your progress. Don't be afraid to make mid-course corrections as needed. We sometimes allow sin to influence the goals we set but if we submit each goal to God, He will guide us back onto the right path and lead us to re-evaluate each goal

Join me Thursday for the “rest of the story” on setting goals.

Let’s Pray
I come to You today with a heart filled with praise and wonder. To think You created me in response to Your plan is an amazing thought, Lord. But I choose to believe it and celebrate it in my life today. Help me learn how to set life goals that will lead me in Your ways and help me fulfill the purpose for which I was created. Thank You, Lord.
In Jesus’ name,

Now It’s Your Turn
Read and memorize Jeremiah 29:11. With that promise in your heart, begin to evaluate your life goals. Are they specific? Are they measurable? What changes do you need to make in order to set and meet the goals God has for your life? Record those changes below.

Specific goals. Psalms 139:16 "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." _______________________________________________________


Measurable goals. Luke 11:28"Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it."



More from the Girlfriends
Need help getting the Word of God into your life? Check out Mary’s Weekly Online Bible Study, Light for the Journey. The current topic is When I Am Afraid. Need a friend? Connect with Mary on Facebookor through email.

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