New Year – Time for Goal Setting
Crumble up that piece of paper with your New Year’s goals and resolutions. We’re starting over, unless this word above is at the top of your list as the building blocks of your life.
As the New Year dawns, setting goals is a task that comes to many of our minds. We’re reminded of the goals we set last year, all the ones we didn’t accomplish (sigh) and the ones we did (yeah!) We reflect back on how life didn’t go as planned and wonder why we bother setting goals in the first place. Some of us resolve not to set goals so that we aren’t disappointed despite the proven fact that those who set goals accomplish far more than those who don’t.
As you are thinking about your priorities this next year, I want you to consider ONE very important goal. The most important goal you will every make because it affects all the others; a goal given to you by YOUR God. The first and most important activity you partake of in your life. Love God with all your heart, soul and mind.
Mark 12:30 ‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment
What do you do when you love someone? Think about the love of your life or the one you hope for. You can’t wait to see them. You make them a priority. You reorganize your days because of them. You are devoted. They consume your thoughts. You can’t get enough of their presence. You talk and listen, you hang on every word. You replay what they said in your head trying to figure out what they really meant. You share your inner most thoughts. You aren’t always hanging out with just their family and friends. You want to be alone and intimate.
This passionate engagement is how we should be with God. Drawing close to Him means abiding in His words and letting them permeate our lives in faith, stirring the deep. Just as we long to hear the thoughts, desires, will, and concerns of those we love, if we love God or want to grow in love with Him we will spend time with Him in His Word, listening, talking, sharing, and growing. And being with the family, other believers is wonderful, but it doesn’t and can’t replace alone time with Him.
Here is a little test for you. Who do you say God is to you? Do your actions match your words? Many say they love God, but their choices and how they spend their time tells a different story. Let yours tell the same story. Be authentic. Be real.
If God is YOUR God, don’t you want to know (deep personal knowing) Him, especially because He tells you to know Him? Wouldn’t you want to know the One you are trusting with your life? Isn’t it true that we actually can’t truly trust without knowing?
I challenge you in this New Year to make your actions match your words. Make God a priority, THE priority. Spend quality time with Him each day in prayer, reading the Bible, and listening to His counsel. Spend time with Him as you would with someone you love. Treat Him like YOUR God. Treat Him like YOUR first love.
If you didn’t set another goal but this one, it wouldn’t matter because this is the only one that truly matters and when you do this simple act it affects every other purpose and plan you have.
A good goal is SMART
Specific – Decide on a place and time each day to meet with God.
Measurable – Track the times you spend with Him.
Attainable – Chose a time that you’ll be able to be consistent. Consistency helps habits to form.
Realistic – Be realistic – like 40 minutes each day verses 2 hours.
Timely – There is no better time than now to make God THE priority in your life.
Over 10 years ago, I started seeking God and spending time with Him each day. It was the most impactful life-changing decision I’ve ever made. The ripple affect of spending time with God each day has been astounding touching every area of my life and every aspect of my soul. It’s the best discipline I’ve ever kept. It changed everything. I read Matthew 6:33 and did it. I didn’t worry about anything else; I just focused on seeking God. His Word is true – all else did follow as it should.
God made it simple – seek Him and live. Amos 5:4 He is the way to abundant life as He has planned for you. Don’t make it more complicated than it is. Seek Him. Put Him first. He’ll handle the rest.
If you are already spending time with God … perhaps try to take more time to being still and listening for His still small voice. With practice you can learn to tune into His voice more clearly to hear His perfect counsel and wisdom for you life. Also, try staying connected throughout the day. Pray before major tasks. Make additional time to be still and listen. Try to be more consciously connected to Him throughout the day so that you can pray without ceasing.
If you set any other goals make sure they are ones that allow you to spend time with God each day.
Start by writing TWO love letters to God; one reflecting where you are today and one reflecting where you want to be at the end of the year … that second letter is a reflection of where you are headed.
Happy New Year!
January 3, 2011 at 8:58 pm
It sounds like a great way to start the year Rachel–two letters. I’ll start tonight.
Also, I keep track of my nightly time with God using a computer spreadsheet. I should go back and review it.
January 3, 2011 at 10:27 pm
Hi Slamdunk — it was such an amazing blessing when I wrote the two letters. I may post them next week. It is a HIGHLY beneficial exercise in my opinion. 🙂
January 4, 2011 at 4:51 pm
Sorry, Rachel. I said I had nothing to say about this post because you said it all so well. However…I had this song running through my head after reading your post, and…well…enjoy. I think it bears witness.
January 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm
Hi — good one. Thanks for sharing 🙂
January 5, 2011 at 6:55 pm
“If you are already spending time with God … perhaps try to take more time to being still and listening for His still small voice. With practice you can learn to tune into His voice more clearly to hear His perfect counsel and wisdom for you life.”
Amen, amen, amen.
Making lists or resolutions for spiritual self improvement is little more than eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Dying to our own list of efforts,- and sitting at His feet with an open ear, -eating of the tree of life, ie.- Jesus himself, is worth every moment.
January 6, 2011 at 8:08 pm
Francis – very well stated. Without Him first, everything else is in vain.
January 10, 2011 at 1:16 am
Frank’s words bring to mind the story of Mary and Martha. Which one are we, really? And which one should we be, really? Exactly. One represented a list, and one represented the feet of Jesus reality. Love that kind of stuff!
Donald in Bethel, CT
January 10, 2011 at 9:21 pm
Hi Donald – it’s a question that we all need to take under serious consideration — brought to mind the verses Revelation 2:4-5 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent
January 8, 2011 at 1:05 am
Good word,good word!!! It really is time for us to run after God as never before and to cling to him,and we must stay in the word in order to know him better. God is wonderful and his love for us is so far beyond what we can realize.
“Happy New Year”
Love ya 😀
January 10, 2011 at 9:18 pm
Hi Pat – I much agree — we far underestimate the love and mercy of God. It is hitting me recently how long suffering He is as well.
January 9, 2011 at 2:50 am
I wanted to stop by after I missed a comment from you on my blog, sorry about that!
It’s great to see we are both starting off 2011 in the same direction: with Jesus at the helm! 🙂
Im looking forward to reading your letters if you decide to post them…I think it’s a great idea and while I have already written out some commitments for the year, I may take you up on your suggestion. It would be a great thing to look back on.
Bless you and thanks for sharing the insights of your journeying with the Lord. It brings great encouragement to those who stop by.
January 10, 2011 at 9:19 pm
Hi Claire — I actually am planning on posting the letters today. It is a wonderful exercise – one I highly recommend. 🙂
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December 26, 2011 at 11:24 pm
Thanks for the good advice. Even though it is turning 2012 when I read this 1 year later from when you wrote it, it is still good advice for next year’s goals. I need to spend more time with God! My time has dwindled in the past years. I do need to start building up my time again with him.
December 27, 2011 at 10:15 am
Hi – there is nothing more important that our time spent cultivating and nurturing our relationship with God, and when we spend this time it affects every other moment to be full of purpose, truth, and love.
January 10, 2013 at 3:15 am