“So, what are you working on right now? What are you really, really excited about today?”
I was driving to a baseball game with some friends when a buddy I hadn’t seen in a while lobbed that question at me. This guy is a goal-crusher. His whole life has been a series of setting and reaching some outrageous goals. He has an amazing family, is a leader in his church, has been the CEO of a few different companies, and is financially successful. If I had asked him what he was working on and excited about, he probably could have talked all afternoon without a break. I, however, couldn’t think of a thing to say.
All afternoon, I was distracted by the question that still hung in the air around me. I couldn’t understand why I didn’t have a single answer. After all, I had a lot of balls up in the air. I was just getting my career off the ground. I was launching a new project at work. I was leading the college ministry at my church. Hey, I was really busy! But as I turned that question over and over in my head, I realized all that activity was taking me nowhere. I was the proverbial rat in a wheel, running and running as fast as I could but always ending up back where I started.
My problem that day was that I was focused on activities, not goals. In fact, I didn’t really have any goals. I woke up each day, did the things I needed to do for that day, and then went back to bed. I wasn’t planning ahead. I wasn’t dreaming about who I wanted to be or what I wanted to accomplish. I wasn’t praying about what God wanted to do in and through me. The hard truth I came to that day more than a decade ago was that I wasn’t accomplishing God’s purposes for me because I wasn’t that interested in His purposes. I hadn’t asked Him.
Too often, we miss the fact that our lives are already full of goals—whether we know it or not. Scripture often speaks of God’s will for our lives. Paul tells us, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (Eph. 5:15-17 NIV). And:
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light (Col. 1:9-12 NIV).
God wants each of His precious children to grow and live an abundant life (John 10:10), and we are to be active participants in that process. This is a truth my friend understood, so he made goal-setting a constant part of his prayer time. From that day on, so did I. Maybe now it’s your turn.
So, if you need a goal-focused wake-up call like I did back then, let me ask you: What are you working on and excited about today?
Dr. Stanley tells us how we can discover God’s divine purpose for our lives in his series, Set Your Goals and Live By Faith.