Setting Goals with Grace: Guiding the Way

This week I'm talking about what happened when I prayed for my goal meeting process to meet grace. Stay tuned to the end of the post for a F-R-E-E workbook outlining how you can follow this process, too!

I do love setting goals every year, but don’t always/hardly ever meet them. This year, instead of putting together a huge list of resolutions, I wanted to really submit everything in prayer before I made my list of things to change. This seems so simple now that I’m writing it, but I don’t think that I’ve ever spent time in prayer before setting goals or guides for the year. I typically make my list of things I know I need to change (“Eat healthier” “Pray more”), then maybe pray one time over them. But this year, without really setting out to, I took a different approach.

I think my heart was prepping for this for a while—my year of dwelling really set my heart in a place where I just know I need God in able to do anything. I feel like my tendencies for perfectionism, while still tangled in this heart of mine, have been loosened as I spent this year learning about God and myself.

The very first thing I did, again, unintentionally, was start praying about a fresh start in early December. Nothing crazy, just a quick “God, please guide me to start fresh where you want me to this next year.”

Then early last week, when the word try wouldn’t leave my mind and before my work day started, I got out a piece of paper and wrote TRY in the middle, then wrote out categories for my life: Personal, Marriage, Finances, Spiritual, Creativity, Career, and Health. Throughout the day as I worked, I would write whatever came to my mind for these areas. All of them were realistic, but some were more ideas that goals. When I went home from work and looked over the paper, I saw some really broad ideas that made me so excited and hopeful.

I pared down these ideas into what I’m calling guides. For instance, under Spiritual Goals, I wrote that I really just want to fall in love with Jesus. That’s not really measureable or specific, but it really shows what I want to happen in my heart this year. All the other goals I wrote down in that category fall under this general idea.  So that was my guide for Spiritual Growth in 2016—all of my goals and ideas throughout the year, I want to help me fall in love with Jesus more.

My guides looked like this:

Spiritual: Fall in love with Jesus.

Health: Be strong.

Personal: Have joy.

Creativity: Commit to consistency.

Marriage: Be a support.

Career: Work diligently.

Finances: Be faithful.

Missions: Serve my community.

I mulled these over for a few days and talked about them with Chris, too (let me tell you, he absolutely LOVES goal talk…NOT!).  I really really didn’t want these goals to be just from or for me, another way I would keep striving to become the “Perfect” Woman. Instead I want to listen to what the Lord is asking from me, in my career or with my creativity or marriage and allow him to refine me. I want to be intentional to accomplish things that I feel like God is asking from me.

So, last Saturday, I woke up and instead of turning on the Pioneer Woman, I pressed record and then sat with my Bible, my journal, and my guides. I felt really great about the guides I had written out, so I set out to find verses that would match these and put them into perspective (aka about God’s glory and not about mine). I used Google search and my Bible to search these out, and here’s what I’ve got:

Spiritual: Isaiah 61:10 “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul will exult my God, for he has clothed me with garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness.”

Personal: Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

Creativity: 1 Peter 4:10 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

Marriage: Ephesians 5:22 “Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord.”  (Side note: I was surprised by how much I really wanted to find a different verse, but this is what God stuck on my heart and wouldn’t budge from. Looks like I have some learning to do in this area)

Career: Colossians 3:1 and 3:23 “Seek the things that are above…whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord.”

Finances: Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he had said, ‘Never will I leave you nor forsake you.’”

Missions: 1 Peter 4:10 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

You’ll see Health is missing, because I’m struggling to find one there! I don’t want to take a verse out of context (i.e. Philipians 4:13 isn’t at all talking about working out), so I’m waiting on that one.

I was really surprised to see how God allowed me to find the perfect verses that really summarized what I wanted to ask for this year. And ask is right—I am going to put a lot of work in, but this year one thing I am trying is to pray boldly and frequently. I have a feeling God is going to move some mountains in my personal life this year, and my expectations are through the roof.

Another thing about these guides is that I am going to use the verses, instead of the original words I wrote, as my guides for goal setting in 2016. That way, each month when I look these over, I am reminded that God is the source of change and refinement in my life, not me.

I'm so pumped about goal setting this year that I outlined the process in a new workbook: Goals with Grace. It includes five days of worksheets guiding you to set goals with God's plans in mind. Click here to sign up for this FREE workbook!