Goals. We’ve all heard how necessary goals are to creating the a bright future but most of us, including me, just keep going where the wind takes us. On Day 6 of 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life, Tommy Newberry stresses how important goals are to finding the joy you and I are seeking.
Goal setting, he states, is an essential tool for disciplining your mind to focus on what’s lovely, excellent and worthy of praise. Clearly written goals act as a physical mechanism to focus your mind on the good. Joy-producing goals are fixed, measurable, time-bound and compatible with God’s Word. Since our goals usually reflect whatsoever is–insert the list of sterling qualities from Philippians 4:8 here—focusing on them keeps us in a joyful state of mind. Because we can only think one thought at a time, thinking about these positive outcomes keeps us away from thoughts of fear, worry, anger and other emotions that are the opposite of 4:8 thoughts.
Newberry also points out that our Bible heroes had goals. Noah’s goal was to build an ark, David’s was to kill a giant, Paul’s desire was to evangelize unreached people, and of course, Jesus’s goal was to give his life as a ransom for us all. Those were all big goals! Newberry suggests that if we can accomplish our goal without God, maybe we should pump it up a bit.
Today’s exercise is to come up with 5 bucket list goals, things you would like to accomplish or do in your lifetime. To go the extra mile, considering your lifetime goals, he suggests you come up with short-term goals you could accomplish in the next 40 days. What changes could you make in faith, relationships, family, fitness, and finance? Newberry encourages us that we can do a lot in 40 days if we have a goal.
I agree, goals are good and imagining the expected benefits of reaching the prize gives me a charge of joy, but a goal without a plan is only a dream. Proverbs 13:12 (NLT) states, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” When you are choosing your goals, especially those short-term ones, pick something you are willing to work for and plan your action steps, asking God for his guidance and direction. Those Bible heroes certainly didn’t launch out without a plan, though David’s was impromptu based on prior experiences with lions, bears, and God. Reaching their goals cost them something, sometimes everything. Planning and counting the cost will help you to see progress and you will have reason to celebrate and praise the Lord for all He has done.
One of my life goals is to be a writer and to share the wonderful love that Jesus has revealed to me. Though I didn’t think about it prior to reading today’s exercise, my short-term goal is to blog everyday about my experiences with 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life. Doing this is keeping a promise to myself and that has turned out to be a satisfying and joyful experience, even though it has taken time and commitment. The cost has been well worth the rewards.
Don’t let the exercise for Day 6 become another opportunity to beat yourself up. If you decide to write down some goals and come up with plans to achieve them with God’s help, be sure they reflect what you really want and that the plans are something you can see yourself doing consistently in this season of your life. If you miss a day or a target, get back up and back on plan. Soon your desire will become your tree of life!
What do you want? What price are you will to pay?