I am a very goal-oriented person. When I achieve a goal of mine, it feels like I am on cloud nine; it feels amazing. On the other hand, when I don’t achieve a goal, I feel so ashamed. I tell myself that I am lazy, and I beat myself up for days on how I should have done better. Almost all of us set various goals throughout the year. New Year’s resolutions, for example, are a very big tradition, carried out by an overwhelmingly large number of people, especially in American culture. However, when you look at the statistics of resolutions, an alarmingly small number survive the beginning of February. So what is the problem with goals or goal-setting? Why is it that so many goals are done away with in such a short span of time? Is setting goals something that should even be practiced?
The simple answer is yes. It is important to set goals, especially relating to spiritual matters. Goals are great, because if done correctly, they help us to grow in ways that we may have not thought possible. Whatever the goal may be, however, we need to be sure that it agrees with God’s will. John 6:27 says, “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
Furthermore, with setting a goal, it’s important to understand what it will take to reach that goal, and if you are willing to do what it takes. We see Jesus teaching this lesson in Luke 14:28-29 when talking about those who make it a goal to come to Him. He tells them, that when we made a commitment, we set a goal to do what it takes to reach heaven. But how many of us actually counted the cost of what we may leave behind to reach heaven? For some that is a heavy price, but one that we have to be willing to pay.
Despite all that we do, or the work we put in, there may be goals that we don’t reach. What’s important to remember is that it’s okay. Just because you didn’t reach your goal this time does not mean that you should give up. Letting your failures get the best of you and bring you down will only make life more difficult. What’s best is to get back up and try again, and more importantly, put your trust in God to help you. King Solomon writes about this in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”
Goals are very important. They can help you build character, and if applied carefully, become a far stronger steward of God. With every goal we set, though, we have to make sure to count the cost of what it takes to achieve the goals, and make sure they are realistic goals. Also, we won’t always reach the goals we set. When that happens, we shouldn’t just wallow in our mistakes, but get back up and try again. Finally, whether we reach our goals or not, we should have confidence that as long as we put our trust in God and in His word, He will take care of us, and direct our steps.