Recently I had a chance to hear a motivational speech by Silver Medal Olympian Noelle Pikus-Pace. Among the many fine things she had to say, she also held up a small bound book and told us that she kept a “Goals Journal.” The bound book was her daily Goals Journal. Over the years, it has helped keep her focused on what is most important each day.
Noel told us that she tries to have three goals for each day. Any more than that, and she feels overwhelmed. That too is a great reminder. One of the keys to personal happiness is that we do not expect too much of our selves. When there is too wide of a gap between self-expectation and our ability to meet the goals we have set, feelings of inadequacy are inevitable.
Soon thereafter, I was talking with someone else who was at this same event. Speaking about daily goals setting, she said, “I do that, but mentally”. It was good to hear that there are more ways than one to keep goals before us: sometimes, by writing them down, sometimes by carrying them in our heads and in our hearts. Wherever they are, these goals give our lives meaning and purpose throughout each day, each week, and each year.
The key feature of keeping a cluster of goals, is to surround them and infuse them with prayer. Conversations with the Lord about what we hope and intend to do does several things. First of all, it allows us to determine whether our goals happen to coincide with God’s goals for us. Most often, they do coincide and we sense God at work as we try to meet those goals. Sometimes, however, our goals are not in line with what God intends for our best good. When that happens, God will let us know.
Second, God will assist us in reaching these goals. This is exactly what we hope will happen. We want to have God’s Holy Spirit’s energy, focus, direction and inspiration in order to meet and achieve the best possible results from our goals. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” is how the Bible talks about this.
Third, God loves to see us at work when we are “about our Father’s business”. So prayer is a way to hear back from God how we are doing. This summer, why not try the “Three Goals” approach to each day. You very well may find that this spiritual discipline helps the day go better than expected.
Yours in Christ,
Dr. John A. Dalles, Pastor