One sermon after another was about the same thing: Goal-setting. Predictable for the first Sunday of the year. Some of the preachers framed goal-setting in the “what is the right thing to do?” Which path? Choice? Each preacher used the words, “consistency” and “consequences.”
Andy said it is not a right or wrong question. It is a “which is the wise choice?” Right or wrong is a different question than a wise choice. A right decision may not be wise for you. The better question is…
“In light of my past experiences, my current circumstances and my future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing to do?” (Andy Stanley)
I am in the Caleb Generation. (Joshua 14:6-15) I desire my brand to include the word, “Wholehearted.” Caleb’s selfie is amazing as he uses words like “strong” “capable” and ready for battle.
I listened to those preachers talking about goal-setting and I felt cynically resistant. I went to my soul to ask why. Some of the responses:
“Whatever I decide won’t matter.”
In a weekend retreat, I talked about goal-setting. A relative young man angrily said, “It won’t matter!” It was not a faith issue, it was a pragmatic statement based on “Been there and it never worked. Not going there again!” That is an entrance to nihilism, cynicism and never trying again. Not deciding is to specifically decide. To neglect is to determine.
“I don’t know how.”
If we grow up in certain types of homes, goal-setting is natural. Planners and calendars are as common as alarm clocks. But, what if your care-givers don’t set goals—getting by day to day uses all available energy? Many of us don’t think about family goals, career goals, marriage mission statements because we think they are a futile activity and life is a crap shoot or we are glued to “God is in control—therefore….” I reflected that planning was not easy when I was fifteen and it was not in my thought process that I needed to learn.
“God (fate, universe, karma) is in charge!”
A person’s heart plans his way, but the LORD determines his steps. Contemporary English Version We make our own plans, but the LORD decides where we will go. Good News Translation You may make your plans, but God directs your actions. Holman Christian Standard Bible A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD determines his steps.
The word “but” is misleading. It suggests—”You can foolishly make your plans, but God is going to override them and guide your steps.” I think the word “and” is more accurate, at least more comfortable to me. “You make the plans and God will guide your steps to fulfill them.”
I have come to believe that God plants in us “desires” and depends upon us to pursue them as He guides our steps in that process.
“I don’t know where to begin.”
Goals tend to grow out of your vision of the future. Finances, health, relationships, spiritual, family/marriage, career-calling-occupation.
1. What do I need to do to get there?
2. What do I need to learn in each area?
3. Who would know the answers and would tell me experiences?
4. Who do I need on the journey?
Since entering the Caleb Generation, my sleep has been affected by the dumb and ignorant things I have done. I have perfect recollection from age six. I question myself how I could have “known better.” That would have required curiosity and mentors. At the same time, I’ve wondered about the craziness that has become dominant in our culture—it has become our culture driven by a lack of character that once was a strong weight-bearing beam.
I am thoroughly disgusted with the Congresswoman who publically called our President a mf..er. One female reporter/writer attempted to ease the use of the word with, “It was a private meeting—it wasn’t meant to be….” During my lifetime, character was measured by those things we do or say when we think no one is watching or listening.
I’ve been reading heavy studies and opinions about “young people”, the future of Democracy and Western Civilization. I’ve come away from those pages with a sense that character is the missing component. So, I come to the goal-setting issue by determining what needs to be improved or changed in my character. It is being clarified that the goal or end result is not as important as the habits we establish to get us to our desired future.
I want to talk later about the habits.
Thanks for wondering with me.
©2019 D. Dean Benton