Sustainable, Lasting, and Life-Giving Goals Are:
- Rooted in your core calling
- Organically growing out of your context
- Outlined for clarity
- Tailored to your lifestyle
- Etched into your memory
- Developed by Providence
Last week, we talked about the secret sauce for making progress on your important goals— even when things change —by writing your goals down frequently, even daily, so you train your brain to care about your goal. This week, we’re wrapping up the entire ROOTED goals system by talking about the most critical mindset you can have when setting and executing your goals.
Your goals must be Developed by Providence, the final step in the ROOTED goal setting system.
The Kingdom of God does not rise and fall by the successes and failures of our written goals. Knowing this gives us an incredible amount of liberty to simply follow the Lord’s leading through the messy middle. Leading our lives with integrity and excellence is a deeply meaningful endeavor, and God loves to give us the grace to do that. Having a Christian growth-mindset allows us to set our goals with an “amen” posture towards God’s unknown plans for the future, knowing that when we give our goals back to God, we can trust Him to develop them in the best of ways.
How Can You Set Strong Goals When You Know You’re Not in Control of Tomorrow?
You want to get organized around your goals and chase them with abandon.
But then reality crashes in to your plans, making you question whether goal setting is all it’s cracked up to be. Start digging into productivity and goal setting literature, throw a stone in any direction, and you’ll hit a quote about how we can (and should) be masters of our own fate and designers of our own destiny.
But there’s a difference between attempting to control tomorrow (spoiler alert: it’ll never happen), and taking personal responsibility for your choices, recognizing that they’ll have a significant impact on the future.
The Bible doesn’t pit God’s sovereignty against man’s responsibility. It’s not an either/or, it’s a both-and.
In fact, in the classic James 4 passage that reminds us to make all of our plans with a “Lord-willing” attitude, verse 17 expounds on James’s purpose for even reminding people that their lives and plans are but a vapor in the bigger picture of God’s eternal purposes and reign over history:
Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does not do it, to him it is sin.
What’s the “therefore” there for? James’s reminder that we’re not in charge of the future is supposed to compel us to have strong priorities.
This entire series on the ROOTED Goal Setting System has been written with this heart:
- God is in control of our personal histories.
- He put us in the historical and cultural context that He did for a reason.
- He made us in His Image for the purpose of stewarding His earth and building Godly communities (starting with our own homes).
- He’s given us each talents (resources such as time, money, and influence) that we are called to maximize in loving service to Him and others during our lifetimes.
- God is sovereign, and yet we have freedom of will. The dynamics of this go beyond what we could logically comprehend because we are limited creatures. While He is orchestrating all things together for His glory and the good of His people, we are also fully responsible for the decisions we make and the fruit those decisions bear.
The Scriptures (especially Proverbs) are chock full of practical wisdom about how the sowing and reaping principle plays out quite predictably in the lives of people. And yet forces such as injustice, the brokenness of a fallen world, valid expectations from others, game-changing information (and other disruptions that are allowed by God’s Providence in our personal histories) come in and interplay with that universal sowing and reaping principle in unpredictable ways.
So how do we embrace personal responsibility while still respecting God’s place as, well, God?
The Mindset Shift That Make Sense of Everything
You need to adopt what’s called a “growth-mindset” that is founded on these two principles:
- God gives you the personal responsibility to make plans and choices based on His revealed will (Scripture), the wisdom He’s given you through experience, and the godly desires He’s placed in your heart.
- God will develop your goals through the revelation of His Providences, and will give you more light as you walk forward, committing to be faithful even with the little you do know right now.
You may not know the future, but GOD DOES. He gives you the responsibilities and priorities that He wants to shape your focus. James uses the reality of God’s Providence for tomorrow to urge us to embrace our responsibilities, and do what is right starting today.
We Walk Forward; God Gives Light
But we can’t get to the future part where we’re learning God’s unknown will, until we take those steps of faith and obedience to God’s revealed will in our present. And that’s why we make sure our goals are “Rooted in our core calling,” “Organically growing out of our context,” and “Tailored to our lifestyle.” That’s why this goal-setting system is so unlike anything else out there.
The starting point is God’s Providence for tomorrow, and our path forward is lit by what He’s revealed to us today. Who are the people He’s given us to serve, what are the pressures He’s Providentially allowing to capture our attention, and what resources has He provided to solve the problems He’s allowed us to face?
A goal-setting system like this reminds us that the Kingdom of God does not rise and fall by our efforts—but we do have the responsibility to do our part, exercise our influence, and steward our resources for Christ. This takes a great deal of personal maturity, and getting organized around our goals is an exercise of that same maturity.
So let’s lean into today’s responsibilities with fresh perspective.
Living intentionally is all about taking personal responsibility, nurturing relationships, and setting strong goals for the development of the resources God’s given us. And putting on a mature, Christian growth-mindset means that we’ll be posturing ourselves to embrace all of the ways God develops our goals through the revealing of His will in the days head.