Do you ever wish pursuing goals were just a little bit easier? Less struggle? Less work? Less failure? Whether your goal is to write a book, finish college, break free from a stronghold, or lose 50 pounds, we’re all in the same boat. We’re trying to do something we haven’t done before. And it’s hard.
If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to give up after the first week or so. This blog is an example. I’ve been wanting to redesign it for at least a couple of years now, but it just seemed too hard. Every time I started working on it, I gave up because of all of the complications.
But finally after countless renewing of the mind sessions with God on goals in general, a new app that helped me clarify and prioritize my goals, an online Bible study (thanks, you guys!) that supported me in overcoming procrastination, and my wonderful blog designer, Jessica, at thepixelista.com, the blog is finished. It’s exciting.
Here are a few things I learned along the way (and am still trying to pound into my head) about pursuing goals.
6 Things I Learned About Pursuing Goals
1. Be willing to step–and live–outside of your comfort zone.
I don’t know about you, but for me, life is just easier when I don’t do that much. I like setting goals, but when it comes right down to it, I don’t always like working on them. Too uncomfortable.
I hate to say this, but if we want to reach our goals, we have to not only step outside of our comfort zone, but also live outside of our comfort zone. That’s scary.
Thankfully, God is our refuge. If we go to Him when we’re scared, the discomfort zone can become a place of cozy, but powerful, refuge.
2. Lower your expectations and be willing to suffer.
I know, this sounds a little defeatist. After all, aren’t we supposed to have high expectations? Reach for all the stars? Go for the gold? Maybe. But if we’re going to reach for the stars, we have to remember it will take a long time to get there. A lot longer than if we were reaching for the house across the street, for example.
The truth is, it’s hard to reach lofty goals. We’re probably going to fail somewhere along the way, maybe a bunch of times, and it will be hard to persevere. If we want to actually reach those goals, we’ll have to keep working on them even when everything within us wants to throw in the towel and give up.
3. Stop complaining about how hard it is and thank God for the blessings.
Our nature is to complain and think thoughts like, Why is this so hard? and Why doesn’t God make this easier? We think those thoughts because we live in rich countries where things comes easily. But remember all those guys in Hebrews 11 and also the Old Testament and New Testament in general? They didn’t have easy lives.
God teaches us through trials, and sometimes those trials come in the form of goals. One of the things He wants to teach us is to be content in all situations and to give thanks always. If we remember what life is really about (God), it will be easier to give thanks.
4. Go to God for help with your problems, not your coping techniques.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t always go running to God every time I’m discouraged about my goal. Instead, I check my emails, check my Facebook, get a cup of coffee, and wander around the house for awhile. Sometimes all day.
How much better off I’d be if I went to God every time. When I go to God, He gives me truth, grace, comfort, strength, and moral support. That’s about a million times better than my feeble attempts at dealing with my problems. He’s the One that gives me the strength to carry on when I’m working on goals I can’t do in my own strength.
5. Stop fearing the giants.
Do you remember how David’s brothers and all the rest of the Israel army were afraid of Goliath? They were so afraid of him, no one was willing to fight him. I’m guessing David might have been afraid of him too, but he trusted in God so much that he was willing to fight the giant.
When our eyes are on the goal, it’s easy to think of all the reasons we won’t be able to accomplish it. When our eyes are on God, suddenly it doesn’t matter so much whether or not we accomplish the goal. He reminds us of what life is really about, and surprisingly, that makes it easier to work on the goal again because we don’t fear failure so much.
6. Enjoy the Process.
My husband is great at just relaxing and enjoying life. I’m great at relaxing and enjoying life too, but usually only when I’m with people, doing something fun, or on vacation. In work (i.e. writing) life, which I’m still a bit new at, I tend to stress.
God keeps reminding me, “Stop, Barb. Enjoy the process! Enjoy me in the midst of the process!” I’m still not living consistently in that place of enjoyment but I get tastes of it now and then and I like what I see.
I just started a new journal this morning, and after renewing my mind about various aspects of writing consistently for the last 3 1/2 years, this year I’m going to try to renew my mind every single time I’m feeling fearful or stressed about writing or anything writing related. I feel like the stronghold is about to crumble. Any prayers would be appreciated!
My prayer for all of us this year is that we grow closer to God, grow in the areas we need to grow in, and love others well as we do life together. Let’s enjoy the journey!
One more thing before I go: In addition to redesigning the blog, I also switched from WordPress to Mail Chimp for blog delivery. I’m hoping everything went smoothly, but if you ended up getting two emails, keep the Mail Chimp subscription and unsubscribe from the WordPress mailing. The blog post won’t go out until Saturday morning, so if you see this earlier than that, it might just not be in your inbox yet.
P.S. I’m still working on organizing the blog a bit, so let me know if there’s something you can’t find or is confusing. Most of the tabs above have drop-down menus with various things under the menus. I’m trying to make it easy to find things!