Faith and Goals

We have all heard statistics about how people who write down their goals are more successful than those who don’t.  In fact, there was a study done at Dominican University that found that those with written goals achieved a much higher success rate than those without written goals.  If this is true, then why doesn’t everybody write down their goals?

Zig Ziglar famously said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” Perhaps hidden in this quote is why we don’t set goals – if you aim at something, you may miss.  Is it the fear of failure that keeps people from setting goals?  I know that for me, this can be a reason I don’t set goals. But there is another reason I don’t set goals and I often try to position it as spiritual – isn’t goal setting presuming upon God or worse?  

Proverbs 16:9 tells us, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”  If this is true, why not just let God plan my steps while I just sit back and wait?  First, the verse doesn’t tell man to quit planning his steps; it just puts man in the proper place.  I believe that it is at the intersection of faith and goals where we see this Proverb come to life. When we set goals we are in effect planning our ways.  The key is to understand that God will establish our steps in either accomplishing our goals or directing us toward another goal.  

So where does faith come in?  Faith should come in at the time when we set goals and then throughout the process of trusting God to help us accomplish them.  When sitting down to set goals, the question I should be asking is “Lord, what would you have me do?”  I should spend time praying and reflecting on what I believe God is showing me to do.  I should then write down the goal and make it measurable.  When I set goals this way, I allow faith to enter the process and I allow God to give me big visions for the future.  

When you set goals with an understanding that it is God’s will you are trying to accomplish and it is God who is establishing your steps, you will begin to grow in your faith as you watch God shape your heart through goal setting. Don’t be surprised if you see your goals drastically change over time.  As you move from the glorification of yourself to the glorification of God you will have more opportunity to watch God increase your faith. When your goals are bigger than yourself and you have to rely on God for their accomplishment you have an opportunity to watch God show up.  

I would encourage you to prayerfully write down your goals and then look for God’s hand and future direction as you begin to pursue the goals and objectives that you think God has for you. Don’t be surprised when He shows up!