I’ve felt the familiar tension and resisted it all day long. I know what I should do, what a part of my being wants to do, yet I don’t do it. Setting new goals is easier to avoid.
It’s the tension between the old-in-sin me and the new-in-Christ me, the self-centered, lazy, fearful me and the Christ-focused, hard-working, confident me.
I know who I want to be, friends, but the distance between who I am today and the Christ-confident woman I want to be stretches out before me like a road in the desert that only ends when it meets the horizon.
The task seems impossible, yet I know I serve the God of the impossible.
And hasn’t He proven Himself faithful time and time again in my own life? Each fear-inducing challenge came with the grace to persevere: each one followed by unexpectedly beautiful rewards worth so much more than the sacrifice required for obedience.
So why this goal-setting angst?
I know the truth yet my feelings lead me astray. I’m a stubborn, helpless, rebel whose only hope is Christ!
Praise God He loves me enough to keep molding me.
He pursues me even when I run and hide in fear like Eve did so long ago. He creates a restlessness in my spirit that causes me to yearn for more – more Christ-likeness, more knowledge of Him, more surrender to His plans, more freedom to be who He created me to be!
Do you want it, too, friend?
Do you long to walk into the New Year with confidence in God’s direction, with focus, with purpose?
6 Ways to Set Goals with Confidence
1. Surrender to God’s plan for your life.
To be capable of discerning God’s direction and claiming the confidence that comes only from Him, you must first surrender your very life to His plan for you.
This begins with salvation, friend. You cannot follow God if you don’t have an authentic relationship with Him. You cannot claim His promises if you don’t first belong to Him.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 (NIV)
Do you know Jesus on a personal level? Are you confident in your salvation? If not, you can be today!
Don’t waste another year chasing dreams that aren’t meant for you. Instead, find your real purpose in Christ!
You can set goals with confidence when you learn to see yourself as a new creation in Christ!
2. Consider your unique spiritual gifts.
Scripture is clear that each of us Christ-followers have been gifted by the Spirit for the building up of God’s body, the Church. One practical way to understand who God created you to be is to take a spiritual gifts test or inventory. In fact, I recommend taking several so that you can gain a clear picture of your top few gifts. You may be surprised by what you learn!
Learning my own spiritual gifts has given me the confidence to use them for God’s glory rather than sitting back and waiting for someone else to tell me who I am supposed to be.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)
Whether you currently believe it or not, friend, you have your own spiritual gifts, and they are much needed in your local body of believers!
Set goals with confidence by understanding the spiritual gifts you have today.
3. Consider your past preparation.
When I look back over my life as whole, I see the ways in which God has prepared me for the tasks God has given me today. Like a beautiful tapestry, the threads of my unique experiences weave in and out of one another to create a beautiful work of art.
Years spent waiting prepared me for leading women’s ministry today. Missionary kid experiences gave me a heart for the lost essential to our current church-planting journey.
Even the pain-filled years become connecting threads in the hands of the Master Weaver.
God has a plan for you that is not new to Him. It’s been His plan from even before you formed in the womb. The experiences you’ve had, the challenges you’ve faced – these things helped mold you into the person you are today.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
Look back at the road you have traveled, friend, and see if that path, coupled with your spiritual gifts gives you insight into where God is leading you today.
Set goals with confidence by remembering the progress you’ve already made!
4. Pray for godly desire.
Our God amazes me. He isn’t content with second-best for me, neither is He content with second-best for you, friend. I remember the year that I didn’t want persevere to be my one word because it sounded like hardship to me. But what a year that turned out to be!
The more I learn about His character and grow in His likeness, the more I realize that His challenges are worth tackling. His rewards far outweigh the sacrifice and suffering often required.
Yes, following hard after Christ requires cost. (Matthew 16:24-24) I won’t lie to you about that.
I won’t tell you to ask God for health and prosperity and successful relationships in the New Year because I won’t presume to know that’s what is best for you.
Sometimes God’s best doesn’t look good at all to our human eyes. We’d rather avoid pain, suffering, and hard work, let’s be honest!
After all, how can losing a loved one possibly be good for us? How can illness benefit? How is loss of income or possessions in our favor?
I’m sure the disciples asked the same when their Greatest Hope hung dying on the cross. How could such a death be part of God’s eternal plan? Yet it was!
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5 (NIV)
Ask Father God to give you godly desires, friend, but also to give you a willing heart that accepts whatever path He deems best, even if that path requires hardship. When you pursue His desires for you, you can be confident that He WILL establish your steps.
Pray for a sensitivity to the Spirit before you sit down to set goals, then set goals with confidence by trusting God to answer that prayer!
5. Create a plan.
How often have you set a goal or made a New Year’s resolution that utterly failed? (both hands raised meekly over here, too!)
When the excitement of the New Year or new habit wears off and our fresh start begins to feel like a lot of hard work, we either persevere or we grow discouraged.
At this point in your journey, a solid plan makes all of the difference between success and defeat!
If you know that following steps a, b, and c will get you to the end zone, then it’s easier to push through those pesky plateaus. However, if you don’t have a solid plan in place, you’re likely to give up when the going gets tough.
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This is why I continue to use and recommend Grace Goals by Arabah Joy. Grace Goals begins with a biblical foundation (beginning with prayerful consideration of God’s direction) and builds on that using practical tools for success (like planning sheets, evaluations, etc.), all the while teaching you how grace motivates real and lasting change!
It has become my go-to tool for making concrete plans to successfully complete projects God lays on my heart (including the latest book, Being Confident of This), and this year I’m planning to use it to make some changes in my habits (like learning to prioritize my schedule/say yes and no to the right things and possibly working on some healthier habits, too).
I know from experience that going through the Grace Goals workbook process will help me to create a doable plan and protect me from becoming overwhelmed.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)
Set goals with confidence by creating a practical plan for success!
6. Take the first step.
There comes a time when Christian women need to quit praying and planning! Yes, you heard me right – quit praying and start obeying.
We often tend to use the “pray about it” excuse as a reason for delayed obedience, which is really dis-obedience. If you’ve prayed about your goals, spent time communing with the Lord in regard to His plans for you, and followed the Spirit’s leading in creating a plan, then at some point, you have to quit praying and planning and start doing.
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:14-17 (NIV)
If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. James 4:17 (NIV)
It’s not enough to talk about the goals we are setting, to pray about the goals we are setting, or even to write down the goals we are setting if we don’t take that first step of action. In fact, according to scripture, failing to act on what we know God wants is sin, plain and simple.
This is the point in time when your confidence will really be tested!
Is this the right goal for me? Is the timing right? What if my own fleshly desires got in the way and I’m choosing the wrong path? Will the work be too hard?
What happens if I fail?
These questions and doubts will keep you stuck indefinitely if you allow them to, friend! Answer them with what you know to be true about God and who He created you to be.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Review the process you have taken so far and rest in the knowledge that even if you happen to mis-step, He will correct your path! Your Father God hasn’t asked you to take on this new journey on your own. No, He promises to guide and direct you, to give you strength and courage!
Set goals with confidence by following through and taking that first step.
Friend, I firmly believe that Christian women like me (and you) should be more intentional about how we spend our time and the things we choose to pursue in life. When we embrace the work-in-progress in us, we recognize the need to continually partner with the Spirit so we can be molded into who God wants us to be.
We know our time here is limited, so let’s not waste it, amen?
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8 (NIV)
As much as fear pulls against you, let God have control over your life this New Year! Let Him determine the path you take. Let His desires become your own, believing that His way is what is best for you and for your family.
Set goals with confidence this year!
Before you go, I’d love to offer you this FREE printable to help you as you sit down to prayerfully consider your plans for the New Year! We like to give all of the best stuff to our faithful subscribers! Just click on the picture below to go to the sign-up form for our newsletter, and you’ll be on your way to your freebie.
If you’re serious about setting godly goals this year, please check out the recommended resource Grace Goals!
Harness the power of grace-filled, Spirit-dependent living in order to see real transformation in your life. If you join through our link by clicking the picture below, we’ll send you a free bonus – The Work In Progress Toolkit!
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