It’s that time of year where everyone seems to be setting new goals,writing out new intentions, and choosing a focus word for their year. I’ve talked to some people recently who don’t set goals, and I ask them why. They tell me things like “I can’t seem to follow through on them.” or “I write them, but then I don’t know how to actually make them happen.”
And I get it. I do. Of course, you all know that I LOVE to dream and plan, but I’ve also been one to get pretty bummed and disheartened when those plans don’t seem to be working out for me.
Take our finances, for example. We planned and followed many of Dave Ramsey’s suggestions, but yet we still couldn’t afford basic life necessities at times. It felt lame. Why couldn’t we get it right? We’d beat ourselves up for the times we had to use a credit card to make some purchases for important things like clothes our children needed or maternity clothes for myself, and honestly we were getting pretty religious about our finances if that’s even a thing. Rule following and not allowing grace for ourselves to just do the best we could. That, and our “plan” was results-based, not action based.
See, one thing about goals is that they could focus on OUR ACTIONS… what we can ACTUALLY DO, instead of the results we want. Sure, the results should be a part of the planning process, but when we only focus on the results, and for whatever reason they don’t happen, we get discouraged. So instead, our focus should be on the actions we take instead. We should be proud of our efforts and keep going little by little until we DO see the results we were after in the end. It’s really about having a GROWTH MINDSET, and not a FIXED MINDSET. We all have the ability to grow and change and get better. We are not stuck where we are now, but we have to do the work to get to where we want to go if we want to see it happen.
Anyway – sometimes when we do feel like we’re failing at something – and it makes us think
“Why even bother trying anymore? It’s not working.”
Well, here’s why. Two reasons.
1. God’s Plan is Bigger than our Plan.
2. Our Life has Purpose.
God’s Plan is bigger than our Plan.
We never know what He is working out behind the scenes for our good. We only see from our own vantage point (which is sometimes a skewed view) – We don’t always see from His big picture. That’s where faith and trust come in. When we believe, trust, and have faith that He is always working on our behalf we can know that He has good things for us. Even when we go through hard things and start to doubt, we need to take those thoughts captive and trust that He’s working it all out.
Here’s an example from our story… the short version if you can believe that. We’ve struggled with finances for nearly ten years – our entire marriage. We couldn’t seem to make our “financial plans” work. But we did do our part to not make things worse by acquiring too much debt that we knew we couldn’t afford. We lived below our means as much as we could and tried to steward what we did have well, even though many times, it did not feel like enough. We felt really burdened by our mortgage, and we proposed the idea to family for us to sell it and save money for a while until we felt like we could move forward towards another house. They agreed to let us live in their house in order to do this. We continued to make “plans” but really couldn’t see how they would ever work out. However, as we began to pray over these plans that seemed really great and would allow us to be debt-free in three years, God began to meet us in that and work on our behalf. We started looking for a home to buy, earlier that we had originally planned because we didn’t think we could afford a rental with our large family. The home purchase fell through because of needed repairs, but the very same day that we walked away from that option, God provided another way…. an ever better way! We weren’t looking for it, but it found us. It was a large-enough, beautiful home for us to rent where we could pay whatever we were comfortable with. A total God thing for sure! That’s how it usually happens for us… we start doing our part, making the plans, looking for what we can do with wisdom, and then God totally meets us with what we need and shows us that He was always working behind the scenes, even when we couldn’t see it.
Our Life has Purpose.
We all have purpose, and once we find that purpose it makes us want to LIVE life to the fullest and do that thing that we were created to do. We no longer want to “just get by” and keeping doing what we’ve always wanted to do…. just letting life happen to us. We want to see change and growth, and so we set out in pursuit of those things. We begin to live with intention and purpose, and to do this well – we need a plan. We MAKE life happen. It’s up to us to at least do our part.
It was hard for me to see Purpose in the middle of my depression. But God spoke it to me anyway. He reminded me of His plans for me and even gave me new ideas. I thought, “There’s no way. I can’t even function with the normal life responsibilities right now. There’s no way I can say ‘yes’ to any of that.” But still, there it was, and there it kept coming to me. My excitement for it began to grow, and my depression began to lessen. I had to choose to fight for my life and for my life’s purpose. Little by little, I’m inching my way towards that more and more every day. You can too. Ask God to reveal to you His ideas for your life… His plans and how you can be a part of what He’s already doing. He’s got something special for you too, something specifically designed Just For You, and you’re going to LOVE IT!