Monday, November 13, 2017

Dare to Make Your Goals a Reality

Robert Herjavec, the Croatian-Canadian businessman and television personality, is credited with the quote, “A goal without a deadline is just a dream.” Dave Ramsey, well-known Christian financial advisor, said it this way, “A goal without a plan is just a dream.”  I think if you combine the two quotes you have a workable blueprint for turning goals into reality. Even so, it is often difficult to take the first step toward doing that.

As widows your life has undergone some drastic changes. Many of the goals you and your husband created died when he did. But that in no way lessens the fact that you are still a living, vibrant person who runs the risk of shriveling emotionally and spiritually unless you have goals for your life in your “new normal.” Even your physical well-being is affected when you no longer plan for the future and dwell in the past or what might have been. St. Paul put it this way in Phillippians 3:13-14, Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  

As look through the Bible at the lives of some of the widows, I find that there are several examples of those who, either through necessity or just a strong desire, set goals for themselves and set about to seeing that they came to fruition.

In the book of Ruth we read the story of Naomi who, along with her husband and two sons, went to live in Moab because Judah was suffering a severe famine. I’m sure the adjustment for Naomi was difficult living in a foreign country with no extended family for fellowship and support. Then, at some point her husband dies, followed by the deaths of her two sons. Her life was totally turned upside-down and her new normal was not at all to her liking. When she heard that the famine had broken in Judah, a plan began to foment in her mind. She began longing for the familiar, for family, for the ability to worship God with fellow Hebrews, and to see and enjoy the

familiar landscape of Bethlehem again. Even though she was old and the trip would be arduous, Naomi made her plans and set out for home. Some scholars think that she joined a caravan going that way because it would be dangerous for a woman to travel alone. However, it is clear that Naomi didn’t just sit around and dream about home and die of homesickness; she made plans to see her goal become reality.

One of my favorite stories about a widow who was persistent in getting her goal met is in Luke 18. Jesus tells the story:  “There was once a judge in some city who never gave God a thought and cared nothing for people. A widow in that city kept after him: ‘My rights are being violated. Protect me!’ 4-5 “He never gave her the time of day. But after this went on and on he said to himself, ‘I care nothing what God thinks, even less what people think. But because this widow won’t quit badgering me, I’d better do something and see that she gets justice—otherwise I’m going to end up beaten black-and-blue by her pounding.’” This widow’s goal was simply to get her property back. Most
likely she was left destitute and was desperate. She had to have thought through very carefully what she would do because we are told that she went directly to the judge. She lay aside her fears, she wouldn’t be deterred because she was simply a woman whose rights were minimal at best, and when she was rebuffed, she just persisted in stating her case until the judge, out of sheer frustration, awarded the case in her favor. Doesn’t that just make you want to shout, “You go, girlfriend!”?

I’ve chosen only two examples, one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament. However, there are many stories in the Bible of people who set goals and didn’t just sit around and hope they came true, but rather set deadlines and formed plans for seeing that their goals were met. You might question how you go about setting goals for your life. I suggest that the best way to get clarity is to read God’s Word, then seek Him in prayer to see what he lays on your heart. There are many Scriptures that address this. "Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light..." Ps. 37:4-6
Once you set a goal, remember that you are a daughter of your loving Heavenly Father. Seek Him for His help and guidance. “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9 Don’t be discouraged if things don’t happen just as you planned for; tomorrow is another day and you may have to “regroup” and adjust either your goal or your plan. Most importantly, continue to delight yourself in God, He knows what is best for you.

Ladies, I encourage each of you to take heart and keep in the mainstream of life until God calls you to Himself. Let nothing deter you from setting goals and seeking God’s strength and guidance in forming plans to fulfill them. You were made for more than merely dreaming dreams and waking up to find that nothing has changed. And never forget Phillippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”
Message by Shari Hervold

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Dotti Ackerman - Founder & Director of FNF