What a wonderful experience I’ve had since I’ve started following Girlfriends in God, an on-line daily devotional sponsored by Crosswalk.com (http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/girlfriends/).
I know that whenever I read something and it sticks with me for a couple of days, it’s more than just a passing thought—these words are meant for my soul. That’s what happened when I read the January 5th’s devotion, Go for the Gold Part 2, by Mary Southerland. Her words of wisdom as well as challenges from scripture noted in her devotional burrowed deep into my heart regarding setting, maintaining, and understanding goals.
“A goal should not be set to authenticate what you have already been doing or want to do. God created us to mature, to grow and change, not to stand on the sidelines of life. God wants us in the game and on the field of life. Godly goals will push us beyond where we are and what we are capable of. If no effort is required to reach the desired outcome, then it really isn’t a goal.”
Have I been standing on the sidelines when God has had a specific plan for my life? At first I said, “Nawh, that’s not me … I’ve had a full year last year.” But I’ve learned long ago that first responses to questions may not always be the most accurate. So I sat back and took stock of the past year. Did I work on a goal that stretched me spiritually? What did I have planned for this year?
Then I got sight of the second question.
“Are the goals we are setting from God or from our own selfish desires? Do I want my relationship with God to grow or do I want others to think I am Godly?”
Again, I didn’t just read the words of the devotional so I could put a “done” check on my mental list of things I needed to do. I gave these questions serious consideration.
I love difficult questions like these; I appreciate the challenge. I don’t want to spend my few years here on earth making nice-nice with my beliefs only to one day stand before my Lord and have HIM ask me these same questions. I would much rather ask them of myself so I can answer God as clearly as I can. If I am not mindful of my motives, I can very easily fall into the “I want others to think I am Godly” category. Who would NOT want others to think the best of them, right? But the problem comes when that is our core motivation.
These are some thoughts to ponder and pray on for guidance. This is the time of year for reflection and re-evaluation. No one knows exactly how long we have on this side of Glory to do such pondering. Let’s make the most of the time we have and ask … then truthfully answer … the hard questions about our goals and motivation.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 NIV
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16 (NIV)