New Year, New Goals

The new year is upon us. Hopefully you’re thinking about some goals that you’d like to accomplish in the next year. If you’re not, this is an amazing… and dare I say… Godly habit to start.

For most people, especially for my self centered, “give me everything: it belongs to me” generation, (AKA: Millennial. #im1too #yolo #old) “goals” haven’t magically manifested. And we’ve all been fools to think that somehow God was going to just hand us success. If you’re a person, like me, who thought that straight up belief and trust in God was going to get you that thing you were “promised” then this might be the wake-up post for you.

My journey started out by admitting 1. that I was a fool (especially by biblical proverb standards…) and that 2. I had no clue or direction for my life. I did not have a #purposedrivenlife. I didn’t even read the book (I took a quiz once and this somehow disqualifies me from being “evangelical” #haha #satire #thatsfunny #lies #icantbelievetheywouldgosofarastobootmeoutofchristianityalltogetherfornothavingreadthatbook #goodbook #theresonlyonegoodbook #thebible).

Basically, I needed help, and I came with a humble spirit, mind and heart to the Lord, and I examined His words, searching out His wisdom. Here are two scriptures (ESV) that really stood out to me during that time.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. – James 1:5 (in context: James 1:2-8) 

Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house. – Proverbs 24:27

Again, I asked God for Wisdom. And when I did, it was like all that God had to do was point out what a fool I had been, with my money, time, and even relationships! (hard pills to swallow!), and I was cured! Or started my journey to being cured.

Look, it’s not going to happen magically. A new year approaches. Get some wisdom. Make a plan. You already have goals, or dreams, or even wishes that you’d really like to see happen. Weightloss, home bible study, magic: the gathering ministry, or literally build a house. I don’t know what it is, I just know that you need a definite plan. The proverb lays it out for us pretty well.

Prepare your work outside.

Look, it’s not going to happen magically. A new year approaches. Get some wisdom. Make a plan. - Rene Astorga Click To Tweet

Know what you’re going to do. Have a clear goal in mind. Think about what materials you need; how many people will need to be involved. And even about how long you think it will take you and your team to complete the work. Set up a schedule of what days and times you’ll be working toward this goal. HAVE A CLEAR GOAL IN MIND (yes, I repeated myself)

Write your plan down somewhere. If you’re writing it down it might mean that you’re actually serious about making change.

Ask yourself the hard questions: Why is this important to you? or to anyone? What kind of true, long lasting value or change will this bring for you, or for your congregation, or family? Is it really worth pursuing?

If you don’t know why you’re doing it: stop what you’re doing, get yourself another goal. There is only pain, and much suffering in the road ahead. (excuse the exaggeration about pain, but in many ways it is just suffering you experience when you don’t know why you’re working so hard toward something).

Get everything ready for yourself in the field.

Gather your materials. Was it a new sound system you needed to record that album? Make sure you have one; and make sure it can do exactly what you intend it to! Was it people you needed? Make sure you have the people, and the amount of people you need! AND MAKE SURE THEY KNOW WHAT TO DO ALSO.

Is there a definite dollar amount? Is it a lemonade stand your’e running, how many lemons does it take to make one jar of lemonade? how many jars do you plan to sell. Gather that many lemons. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED. (again, all caps for emphasis) Do you get the point? Make sure you have every grain of sugar in place before your start working toward your goal. (please forgive the jumps in metaphors – this could potentially be read by a wide demographic).

It may take longer than you want it to, but make sure every resource you need is available. You will find it ridiculously frustrating to start “building your house” and find out your missing things like the front door, or plumbing, or worse… wifi… *makes scary ghost sound*

And after that build your house.

You know what your goal is. You’ve got your stuff together. Now get to work. Enact your plan.

If you have done the first two steps, you’ll find that this step is fun! (Notice I didn’t say easy.) Or can be fun. But it’s still going to be hard work.

In a conversation (actually it was just a complaint about yard work) I once had with my grandpa I told him that work wasn’t fun and that that’s why I didn’t want to do it. He responded, swiftly mind you, “yeah, that’s why it’s called work”.

God Trusters, Holy Spirit Listeners – shake the myth that Holy Spirit can’t move if you have a plan in place. - Rene Astorga Click To Tweet

I can now laugh at the fact that my grandpa had to clear up that work was called work for a reason (one that I never thought about before); Grandpa was right in telling me that, and it was what I needed to hear and learn then – but my grandpa just hasn’t had the chance to explain what deep, strange, desires are satisfied when I work hard toward completing a job with definite purpose and reason. (it’s as if God created human beings to work and that it was supposed to satisfy them on some deep, deep level… whaaaaaat?!) (that was a facetious statement, because He absolutely did create us that way).

This is only the tip of the iceberg

Look, this is a very general, tip of the iceberg type of post. I don’t really have time to get into all the intricate details of what I do during my planning process***, and certainly do not know everything about this goal setting stuff. But I know that planning is God’s way of prospering anything and everything on earth. You can’t do it without being intentional, and you can’t do it if you don’t know what you’re going to do.

God Trusters, Holy Spirit Listeners – shake the myth that Holy Spirit can’t move if you have a plan in place.

God is at work EVEN in your planning process, ESPECIALLY when you invite Him in.

I leave you now with some inspirational quotes. Let them sink in, let them further highlight the validity of the scriptures and our need for Christ’s guidance constantly.

It’s better to have a plan and have Holy Spirit change it, then to not have a plan and then wonder why Holy Spirit “didn’t show up”. -Bill Maxon (Creekside Church Elk Grove, CA)

If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. -Benjamin Franklin

I find that the harder I work the luckier I get. -Benjamin Franklin

***I rely heavily upon, and started out by learning and using this method: “The Self Journal” You can see almost verbatim what inspired me to start goal setting as opposed to just making plan.

One thing that helped me get my financial stuff in order was “Financial Peace University“.

Proverbs was a huge reason I began this journey. Biggest reason.

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Rene Astorga

Rene is based in Salinas, CA. Married, father of 2. Spends most of his time making sweet Jesus music.

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