Is living by faith and setting goals at odds with one another?
These are topics I’ve wrestled with in the past. Maybe you have too.
The Two Sides of Living By Faith or By a Plan
Is it too rigid for us to set goals and write out missions statements when we, as Christians, are to live by faith?
After all, Abraham, the father of faith, set out on a journey without knowing where he was going or where he’d end up.
So is it more pleasing to God to set forth plan in this life, and stick to a certain level of discipline?
After all, Paul said that God is a God of order, and not the author of confusion.
The Struggle is Real
I do get the struggle.
My natural inclination is not to be rigid at all. Quite the opposite in fact. I’m the one who took off for Europe about 26 years ago. I only had $500 in my pocket and all my worldly possessions on my back.
I’ve gone on missions trips on the fly while living in Europe. I’ve decided (in the past) to take off for a trip at a moment’s notice, without much of a plan. Before kids, of course.
Of course, I’ve also been on the other side of this struggle.
Because I am blessed with ADHD, I have to have some structure. I have learned that without a plan to shoot at, I do a whole lotta nothing day in and day out. During those times when I fly by the seat of my pants, I get exactly zilch done.
You know what I’m referring to.
Those days when your spouse finally makes it home from work and walks in the door. He finds you standing in the middle of the kitchen. Around you, kids are freaking out about who knows what. There is laundry everywhere. The dog just piddled on the floor. There are 3x as many dirty dishes in the sink as you might imagine could be used in one 8 hour period. And you realize at that moment that you’re still wearing the clothing you slept in. Except now the clothing has lunch spilled all over it.
Why I Believe in Goals, Plans, and Missions Statements (and living by Faith, too)
I had to learn to avoid the chaos with a flexible plan. When I rise up to meet the day and decide to just see what the day brings, generally what that brings into my life is chaos in large quantities.
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Not everyone experiences this.
My own mom, who I wrote a bit about in my book, Beyond the Chore Chart, is not like this at all. She has a natural sense of order. My need for lists, goals, and plans for even the most mundane activities baffles her. Our brains are wired differently.
I’ve had to come to accept that with the creativity and artsy nature also comes difficulty with the simple things in life.
For some who don’t need this sort of prodding, it may seem silly. YetI’ve come to accept that it is absolutely essential to my sanity. Without this structure, I can’t function. My productivity and ability to filter out those opportunities that come up in my life suffer.
Setting goals and planning fits in far better with living by faith. Better than just allowing life to happen without a plan.
Living by Faith with My Plans and Goals
Planning and living by faith need not be two contradictory things. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned in trying to walk by faith and stick to a plan in my day to day living:
1. Be Flexible in your Goals and Plans when Living by Faith
When I set goals, I realize that at any moment, life can happen. I understand those goals, plans and so forth may not proceed as planned.
And, I have to be okay with that.
We have our plans in mind, but God sometimes throws a wrench in those plans for various reasons.
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2. Filter your plans through God’s purpose for your life
This one is huge. HUGE.
When I develop my personal missions statement, and when I set my annual goals each year, I’m not just doing what Kim wants to do here. I’m trying to filter these through God’s plan for my life.
This can include what I find in the Bible. There are some things I don’t have to pray about because He’s made it clear in His Word. It can also include the talents and Spiritual Gifts He’s given me, as well as what we’ve decided as a family.
3. Use These Much Prayed Over and Considered Plans to Pick the Best
All this planning and considering God’s purpose for my life helps me because I tend to be a sucker for a good cause.Planning + considering God's purpose 4 my life helps me focus on the best vs. saying yes to every good thing Click To Tweet
If someone asks me to volunteer to do something, I have to be careful. I’ll say, “Sure” and then kick myself later when I realize I’ve stretched myself too thin once again.
There are things in my life that are super important to our family. If I say yes to every good cause that asks for help, I’ll be sicker than a dog in short order. At which point, I’ll be no good to anyone.
There’s a saying that the good is the enemy of the best.
In other words, be careful about always saying yes. If you say yes to every good cause that comes along, you’re saying no to something else. Instead, focus on those things you know for certain that God has called you to do at this moment.
Saying yes to everything is not going to make you a more effective servant of Christ. It’s going to make you less effective. Why? Because you’re not optimizing your talents and gifts. You’re letting good things take you away from the best things.
4. Don’t Over-Plan Your Life Either
For many years in stay at home mommy blogdom, there was a very popular method of time management. It managed everyone’s life down to 15-minute increments each day.
Yeah. This is not what I’m talking about.
I have to confess that I tried that because I love making charts. Bonus points — color-coded charts, Y’all! And I love organizing even if I’m not awesome at it. But I got a huge dose of rebellion from everyone in the family especially my husband.
If you need to manage your life down to fifteen-minute increments, go for it.
I feel that being flexibly organized works better for me and mine. And the heart of any good habit in life is to work out the details as they best help you. There are no hard and fast rules.I feel that being flexibly organized works better for me and mine. Click To Tweet
Getting Started with Goals, Plans, and Missions Statements
Have I piqued your interest?