Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Down Side To Goal Setting

Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.

We are not in control. There was a television show called The Outer Limits which began with these words, “We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to the outer limits.” That is life. The great adventure isn’t always a fun adventure. That is life too.

Dr. Larry Crabb distinguishes needs from desires; God will meet our needs. Generally goals are our desires. Setting goals is important. Being able to scrap your goals is just as important. Life may send those goals into a death spiral. You plan for retirement and the stock market crashes. You promise to love until ‘death does us part’ and death comes in the first years of your marriage. Life rattles us and breaks our goals.

We must drive hard and trust the airbags. In setting a goal we strive in seriousness to accomplish it. We focus on that one thing and exclude others. There is that strange dichotomy in that the goal is the push, the drive, the objective that brings desire to light and defines each day. Conversely we must hold each goal lightly because God may have a different plan for us.

Blocked desires will result in anger. That is one way we know we are holding on to tight. The tangibles that make up our goals are life principles; the way we raise our children, how we save our money, we discipline to guard our health and invest in romance to fireproof our marriage. Children aren’t ours and neither is our money. Pour ourselves into life we must but still somehow allow God the hand to take away what we cherish most.

The awe and mystery is found in making God our utmost goal. That one God will meet. He will take us into the greatest adventure. It is our job to listen and move trusting all the while that we may not be able to go to this place or that place. The glory of God must be the one thing we seek above all. The rest we let go and leave in His hand.

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