SD#52 Bucket Lists and Resolutions: The What and Why of Goals

Psalm 20:4

“May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed.”

Our motivations matter as we pursue goals in 2020. Our innate desires are hopes and dreams stem from unmet needs, wants deep within from comparison or inspired by God. When we figure out WHAT are goals are, we also need to find our WHY. Listen to find the sub goals that help our goals become a reality.

Mundane Monday: Margin of Possibility

It is in pausing and being still that we are empowered to make an impact that ripples throughout eternity.

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

It is in pausing and being still that we are empowered to make an impact that ripples throughout eternity.

Scripture of the Day:

Psalm 127:2

“It is vain for you to rise early, come home late, and work so hard for your food. Yes, he can provide for those whom he loves even when they sleep.”

Running on the treadmill this morning I couldn’t help but feel somewhat like a hamster on a wheel. Another Monday, another day full of routine and responsibilities. Despite waking up with a headache, in an effort to be disciplined to reach my goals, on the treadmill I go. After that, I meant to throw some pinto beans and sausage in the crockpot this morning to feel especially accomplished to have exercised, showered and made dinner all by 8:00am, but life happens.

One child lost their cell phone, another child’s car was on empty, so on a day full of school orientations in addition to my normal full-time job, I need to flex and be creative, which is why I started work earlier today and am out the door early to accomplish the new challenges of the day, including writing this blog while my teenager with a learner’s permit is driving me to follow the child whose car is on empty on our way to Verizon. I meant that to be a run on sentence for effect. And Verizon is not open this early. Great – plan B or C, whichever plan we are on now. But I digress. Oh, wait – today’s blog is about creating margins in our life. Ha.

If I have a minute, or any amount of time, I will fill it up – Lord willing with useful endeavors, but I have often been told that I do too much. Guilty. But life is so short and I want to make the most of it. So where does margin come into this lifestyle I have created, which includes 5 children, a wonderful husband, leading worship, speaking at conferences, writing a book, writing a new song and working as an executive assistant? Good question. Very creatively is the answer.

It starts with rising early. I cannot accomplish all the LORD has placed upon my heart if I am not up before my kids, and one child in particular is awake before the sun rises. I tell him to occupy himself reading or building legos while I seek the face of God. Oh wait, that should have been point #1. God first. Am I perfect in that goal of placing God first? No, but somewhere in my day I have got to get into His word and my personal preference is to use a “Bible in a Year” reading plan. Here is a link to a website where you can choose a plan that works for you. Do I complete this perfectly every year? No, but I have learned to give myself grace and to press on year after year.

Discipleship. With a full life, discipleship for myself and my children, as well as time for my husband has to be intentional. These are the “big rocks” of life. My husband truly helps in this goal of closeness with date nights almost every week and setting aside time every year to go away together. Work will always be there, people won’t.

Discipling my children doesn’t look as neat and tidy as when my kids were little, when almost every morning we would rise and do a bible curriculum together, but they are older now and have responsibilities of their own. Creating opportunities to have one-on-one time is the challenge; it might be while driving in a car, or maybe just talking late at night, or finding a spot in the house to have a private conversation. Purposeful dates with kids is also one way this is achieved. Discipling for myself is a little harder to come by. This is where I mentor myself with books and studies – but when?

Multi-tasking. While on my treadmill, I have my reading glasses on, reading an inspirational study or a book on ministry, highlighting key phrases. An iPad is one of my favorites to use while on the treadmill, because it is easiest to highlight while literally, “on the go”. Another place where I multi-task is in the car. Since I have teens, I have built-in chauffeurs. It might make me a little sick to my stomach temporarily, but I can usually get something accomplished, whether it is doctor’s appointments, planning, working on my laptop, etc. Of course sometimes I need to be sensitive that it also might be time just to listen to loved ones.

Rest. My secret weapon is Melatonin gummies to help me get a good night’s rest. This is imperative for me to have strength and energy for the coming challenges of the day. It also helps with autoimmune diseases and might even curb headaches. The verse for today convicts my soul and reminds me that I am not invincible. Acquiescing to a schedule and getting proper rest are fundamental. This is still an area I am challenged in, but setting rest as a priority helps me achieve my goals.

Goals. I can have great ambitions and plans, but if they do not have deadlines, it will not get done. My flesh is a great obstacle in this regard, but as Paul said, I press on! In the past this has included registering for races which was an impetus to make me train. But goals are not enough alone. The motivation for the goals is essential. But where does that come from?

Attitude. My attitude needs adjustment that is only found in the word of God. This is the most important fuel for my heart. But all sorts of problems try to dismantle the joy and positive attitude that is formed by God’s word. What then? I can find motivation in courses, groups, studies or courses. Michael Hyatt’s course Best Year Ever was a real encouragement to me. But sometimes we need somebody to come alongside us.

Accountability. This one is tougher to find, but within our own household we can find someone who has a vested interest in our success. Small groups at church are another great option, or if we have to go it alone, planning tools can help to keep us on track.

Planning. Speaking of planning, building in time for planning is essential. Evernote really helps me in this regard, but then so does utilizing an old fashioned planner like Amy Knapp’s that I write all of my children’s work schedules and daily reminders for me in. But sometimes you just need to come apart or you will come apart. This past weekend was such a time for me, but I confess it was not planned.

Saturday was a beautiful day. No obligations other than preparing for worship leading and making meals for the family, who were all out of the house working. I basked in the presence of God and spent most of the day planning. This was a rare moment for this girl and I cherished every moment of it.

Don’t get me wrong – I am also the girl who wants to be around my family 24/7, but in this moment God created a space for me to think and ponder for an entire day. (A dangerous thing, I know). This time served as a catalyst that inspired a lot of changes to how I approach the Seeing Deep ministry going forward. Exciting stuff!

Examination. So in my quest to be effectively used by God and maximize the time God has given me, I learned again this past weekend that I need to take one day a month to set aside to pray and plan, in addition to my daily quiet time.

It also might mean examining my life to see where precious time is wasted and asking the LORD for wisdom with what needs to be pruned and what needs to be added. This article How Americans Spend Their Time was at once enlightening and a little sobering in that it conveyed both an opportunity to be introspective and aware of how we are numbering our days, as well as hopefully an encouragement about how some of our time is well spent.

I long to be faithful and passionately pass on this faith in Jesus that has arrested my soul. Ultimately we are all accountable to the LORD for how we used this evaporating commodity called time. But to be more effective, ministry, family goals and work take planning. It is in the margins of life that our souls are replenished and refocused to the mission God has called us to. It is in pausing and being still that we are empowered to make an impact that ripples throughout eternity.

Lord, help us to number our days aright that we might gain a heart of wisdom. Help us to honor You above all else in these lives You have given.

Mundane Monday: Keep on Keepin’ On

When life just seems to disappear (1)

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

When life seems to disappear into a sea of never-ending challenges or failed attempts at reaching our goals, if we will just keep keepin’ on – each of those steps is one step closer to achieving our goals.

Scriptures of the Day:

Galatians 6:9

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we don’t give up.”

Philippians 1:6

“…Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”


Pursuing dreams is hard work. Seems unreachable and takes all we’ve got. But what would it be like if we never had a goal to pursue to start with? No bucket list, no aspirations. Just existing. Doesn’t sound like much fun.

Somehow in the longing and straining to be faithful to develop the talents God has given there is a peace. Even though the results of our efforts might not be what we had hoped, there is a sense of purpose in doing what instinctively God has placed on our heart.

When there is a calling deep within our soul, to deny it or to not work toward that calling for fear of failure is a miserable existence. Sure, it is a bummer when it seems like we take two steps forward and one step back, but even this is progress. 

When life seems to disappear into a sea of never-ending challenges or failed attempts at reaching our goals, if we will just keep keepin’ on – each of those steps is one step closer to achieving our goals.

I hope this blog encourages whoever is reading it to continue to chase after that calling in your heart. I know I needed it. But even if my eyes never see what I am aiming toward, the best relief in pressing toward our goals is that as we seek to work hard, God is the One who brings the results He wants. Ultimately the pressure is off of us to produce the final result.

Isn’t that good news? And the fruit and character developed as we labor toward our goals and dreams is perhaps the most precious reward of all.

Oh God, all I have is Yours. Extend my territory as You will. May I be faithful to seek You and Your righteousness and to make You known.

Fickle Friday: Endless Pursuit

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Even though our work on earth is temporal, that which is done in the spirit lasts forever.

Scripture of the day:

2 Corinthians 1:17

“Therefore, I was not vacillating when I intended to do this, was I? Or what I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, so that with me there will be yes, yes and no, no at the same time?”

We have a lot of goals that we pursue, but any purpose that is attempted in the flesh will ultimately fail – even if it appears to be successful according to the world’s standards.

Our desires change and fluctuate moment by moment. That’s just our nature. As Solomon questioned all the activity underneath the sun, he wondered what really mattered. Even though our work on earth is temporal, that which is done in the spirit lasts forever.

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting different results, I think we would all qualify.  So many resolutions offered your after year with few ultimately accomplished.

Wow. I really sound like a downer. We certainly never should cease trying to be more like Christ and working toward goals that he puts on our hearts.  It is the vain pursuit of success apart from His leading that is a futile effort, even if we achieve our objective.

Sometimes when God calls us to do something, it will take a lot of effort and tenacity. But when we know that He has placed a vision on our heart, we cannot deviate or vacillate from it.

Our double-minded, fickle nature makes it a challenge to discern between pursuits that don’t matter and ones we were destined for.  But in our weakness he is strong.  He knows we are flesh and His grace is greater.

Lord, help us to know your will for this life and to be faithful to that calling all for your glory.

Denise Pass | Seeing Deep

 

Mundane Monday: Insistence on Persistence

SetAndReachGoals.jpg

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Pray for God to give you a God-sized vision, then work at it with all your heart.

Scripture of the Day:

Proverbs 21:5

“The plans of the diligent lead only to plenty, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.”

Running on my treadmill this morning, I struggled to mark sentences that stood out to me in the book I was reading by Mark Batterson.  (Yeah, I read and run at the same time). “After all, you’ll never achieve the goals you don’t set.”  “It’s never too late to start”.

I live my life outside the comfort zone.  WAY outside my comfort zone.  It is in that place of desperation before God that I recognize anything and everything I do is solely by His grace. But I am humbled to see the goals that Mark Batterson set for himself.  Don’t get me wrong, I know we are not to compare, I just admire the tenacity and perseverence as well as the bodacious goals he has set.  Do I dare dream of such possibilities for me?

We should have dreams.  But having dreams is just the beginning to achieving them. Discipline on top of discipline and purposefully writing goals and working toward the completion of each item is paramount to achieving goals.  But I am often sidetracked by emergencies or life in general before I even begin to write my goals.

Reaching for our goals will mostly be made of boring moments in which we choose to work at the vision God has given, even though we do not yet see fruit.  Sometimes in the face of adversity, or failings, fears, even others trying to discourage us – we press on toward goals with a dual purpose: the glory of God and being faithful to steward what God has placed in our hearts.

Without goals, life loses its meaning.  If nothing else, may we never stop seeking to honor God with our lives and to dare to set goals that are beyond us.  One decision, one step toward our goals at a time.

Lord, help us to never grow weary of well doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest. Please help discouraged hearts to know that You will complete the work You have begun in each one.

Preparations for the New Year: Evaluation

Romans 12:3

“For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, but to think with sober discernment, as God has distributed to each of you a measure of faith.”

Each year typically most people have some form of a goal or resolution for the new year.  Sometimes we do not want to utter it out loud, lest we fail again.  But we all can benefit by looking over the past year and assessing what worked and what didn’t.  Even as tough as it might seem, it is actually quite liberating.  Come on in and let’s get started.

In the past few days I have explored the preparation of our mind, heart and bodies for God in the coming year.  Now to the practical application.  Knowledge gained is not as effective as knowledge applied.  Today’s blog is a lot more practical, but I pray beneficial, in your planning for the new year.

I came across a wonderful blog that is very beneficial for the “how” and “why” of successful planning – “6 Steps to Crush Your Goals in 2015” – found at: http://timemanagementninja.com/2014/12/6-steps-to-crush-your-goals-in-2015/?utm_content=buffereed4b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin.com&utm_campaign=buffer .  I worked through the steps the author suggested and then used an application called “Trello” to itemize, categorize, strategize and quantify my goals with due dates.  I also used Word to place the goals all on one page, answering the questions contained in the blog.  It was a time of investment of one to two hours and will require maintenance and consistency, in order to be effective.  Therein lies my challenge.  It is highly probable that I will not achieve all of the goals on my list, but that is not holding me back.  Planning means more will be achieved than not planning at all.  God bless you all in the new year!  May we achieve more than we dreamed possible all for Christ’s glory.

May God grant us wisdom and grace in planning and may we seek His will in all aspects of our lives!  Carpe Diem!

Preparations for the New Year Begin with the Heart

Photo Credits wau.org

Photo Credits
wau.org

Psalm 26:2

“Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.”

Matthew 6:21

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 

Proverbs 3:5
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”  
Psalm 51:10
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Psalm 73:26
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Psalm 37:4

“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” 

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As I begin to contemplate what goals the LORD would have me set in this coming year, there is not just the battle of the mind, but the battle of the heart.  What we think about matters to God.  What our heart longs for does, too.  Our hearts can be drawn to many worthwhile and unworthy passions.  What we desire, we will often succumb to, unless our minds are girded with the word of God and our flesh saturated with God’s perspective.

Although the mind and the heart have many similarities, when I refer to the heart, I am referring to the strong emotions which affect our will and thoughts.  Catching myself craving something that might not be in accordance with God’s will can be difficult to discern.  I confess that I struggle with disciplining my flesh when it comes to exercise and food.  My thoughts can be well intended regarding both of these important aspects of life, but my emotions, my heart, can deceive me.  I wake up excited to run on my treadmill (ok, maybe excited is a stretch, but motivated, nonetheless).  I overcome the mental block inhibiting me, then my heart comes in and tempts me with the Lazyboy recliner and a cup of joe.  I begin to think on it and I am ashamed to say that my heart usually defeats my mind when it comes to food and exercise.

The rationalization might be dressed in righteousness.  Time with God, ministering to my family or friends.  But physical training is of some value.  Around and around the battle goes.  So, how do we cultivate and foster a heart towards righteousness?  How do we crave what pleases God?  What we meditate on in the mind is paramount, but when our heart feeds our mind, we can call out to God to help us walk after the spirit and not the flesh.

Disciplining the mind and heart is not all drudgery, though.  One of my favorite verses is Psalm 37:4, which contains a precious promise of God granting us the desires of our heart.  What precedes this promise of God is our delight in Him.  Turning our heart toward craving the things of God instead of the things in this world is possible.  Christ being our joy is also far more rewarding than any other occupation or endeavor this world has to offer.

As we plan for the coming year, may we consider our heart and lay it bare before our Maker.  He knows what is best and what I desire must be checked by the Holy Spirit and submitted to my God, my King.  Retraining our heart to run after the things of God will feel unnatural at first.  That’s ok.  Practice makes perfect.  Despite our failures, there is great hope: God is our strength and our portion forever.  He really is all we need.