Friday, January 20, 2017

Goals 2017

A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.  
(Proverbs 16:9 KJV)

Goal as defined by Webster’s Dictionary of 1828 is:  “The end or final purpose; the end to which a design tends, or which a person aims to reach or accomplish.[1]  Goal is a noun indicting a stopping point, as in a race or even a starting point.[2]  For the purposes of this post, I will be considering the word goal from the first sentence in this paragraph.

Word Cloud created by K. Jolly. All Rights Reserved.

We are nearing the end of the third week of this year.  The year is still fresh and new—full of possibilities.  Each New Year’s Day we receive a fresh start from God.  Of course, that is true of every day the Lord gives us, especially if we are walking in relationship with Him.

At some point in the last few years I have written about goals on this blog (please see Goals, Goals 2016).  This post is utilizing some material (with editing) from both of those posts, as well as some new thoughts.  Nevertheless, I encourage you to read what I shared the last two years; it may be helpful for you as you plan for this year.

The freshness of a new year beckons us to try new things, make changes in our lives, and accomplish a list of goals.  When we have our eyes on God, our goals should lead us ever closer to Him, rather than away from Him.  Furthermore, our goals should be healthy ones too—physically, spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically.  It is good to keep in mind that when we set goals they should be ones that do not require the cooperation of others—those goals have a high failure rate, for obvious reasons!

Many people make resolutions at the beginning of the year, abandoning them a few hours, days, or weeks later.  Why?  Perhaps the goals are far too ambitious, too vague, or require the cooperation of others.  New goals tend to require new habits to form—something that takes time and dedication to achieve.

The greatest commitment we can make as Christians is to grow and develop in a positive direction in our faith.  Taking time for silent meditation of our hearts and coming into the presence of God.  Doing this, along with dedication will help us meet the other goals we may set for ourselves.

The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord.  
(Proverbs 16:1 KJV)

It is my heart’s sincere desire that you are setting aside time in your daily schedule to commune with God and that you are growing in your relationship with Him.  God loves you so much and desires nothing more than a relationship with you.  He loves you so much, in fact, He’s crazy about you!  Keeping your eyes on the goal (prize), will help you stay focused and not get off track.  A word of caution:  be kind to yourself, realizing that some days or weeks will not be so great; things will go wrong—give yourself the grace you deserve—give yourself the grace you would give to others.  Encourage yourself over how far you have come.

Wordificator Word Art Creation by K. Jolly.  All Rights Reserved.

For the third year I have established goals for myself—these goals are fairly similar to the previous two years with a few tweaks.  For the second year, I developed two lists of goals:  general and spiritual—there is a healthy degree of overlap between the two lists, which is to be expected.  Once again, the goals are quite substantial (clearly I have learned little the last two years or I am trying to be an overachiever or punish myself).  

Even in the face of my substantial goals, I see the need for some time to simply be, to have some “margin” or “white-space” to allow God to work, and for me to rest.  (I wrote a bit more about this concept last year in my post on goals [see the link the third paragraph].)

However, I sense this year will be different.  Different in that I am using a life planner to supplement what I am already doing.  Additionally, two of my friends easily volunteered to hold me accountable to my goals.  My thoughts are to do a quick evaluation of how I am doing at the end of each month and do a more thorough evaluation quarterly (March 1, June 1, September 1, and December 1).  Perhaps evaluating how you are doing on your goals will be helpful for you as well?

Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.
Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.
Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.  
(Proverbs 4:25-27 KJV)

Discipline and accountability are key ingredients in goal setting and in achieving those goals.  The life planner has built in times to assess how I am doing with my goals; as I mentioned above, I plan to do a bit more than the life planner directs me to do, which is likely a positive idea.  

In the near future, may be even next week, I plan to share my word for the year.  In my mind, the word will guide and inform how I pursue my goals.  In my thought processes I am beginning to see how my word for the year will “make or break” how I pursue my goals or do not pursue my goals.  Moreover, it will also guide my walk with the Lord.  How is that for a “teaser”?

Setting goals, having dreams serve to give us a purpose in life.  Waking up each day with a sense of excitement, expectation, and a purpose makes it easier to get out of bed and get going on the day, especially when we are fighting against the urge to stay in bed with the cover over our heads!

My most sincere desire is that you have reserved, set aside time each day to be alone with the Lord in prayer, worship, and reading the Word.  There is no substitute for this time with the Lord.  Try making a goal to spend a certain time frame with the Lord (even write it in your planner)—keep it as you would any other appointment.  I pray that you will discover, as I have, how precious this time is and make the necessary effort to tenaciously guard it. 

Personal Photo

Personal Photo

What goals have you established to pursue this year?  Who have you asked or can you ask to hold you accountable? 

God-given goals will make an impact, not only on us but on those around us as well.  May God bless you with the drive and dedication to achieve your goals.  Be sure to encourage those around you too!

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Lord of All, thank You for the fresh start that seems so readily apparent at the start of the year; remind us though, how each day is a fresh start and gift from You.  Although we struggle at times, we know we need to surrender our goals and the whole of our lives to You—help us to surrender.  Guide us through the discernment process of goal setting, so that our goals would be given by You for our growth and development.  Guard us from losing sight of what really matters—our relationship with You.  As always, may our greatest goal be that of being rightly related to You, having our names in the Lamb’s Book of Life, so that we can enjoy You and Heaven for all eternity.  In Jesus’ Name, we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,



  1. You gave us such a teaser, Kim! Looking forward to finding out what your word is.
    You've also given us great tips about setting and keeping goals. I love the idea of having a planner where we actually make appointments to meet with God each day. Growing in relationship with Him should ever be our loftiest goal.
    Love and blessings!

    1. Martha,
      Thank you for your kind comments. Teasers are fun, at times. Goals are so important, just as scheduling time to meet with God each day. Yes, our relationship and growing in Him should always be our loftiest goal!

      Love and blessings!

  2. Hi Kim! As you know, my word for the year is 'now', and remembering to take responsibility for prayer in the now is a part of that. I agree that quiet is so necessary to truly settling into peace, and to being able to hear when God speaks. I am trying to pray each morning and evening, although at times I do miss it. But as you say, it's important to be gentle with myself.

    Well, you've got me wondering what your word is for 2017! Looking forward to hearing what it is, and how you want it to encourage you.
    Sunday blessings,

    1. Hi Ceil! I love the insight you shared here. It sounds like you're off to a good start with focusing on your word for the year. You're not alone in being curious about my word for the year. That post will come in time...

      Monday blessings to you,



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