Monday, June 17, 2013

God-Defined and Personalized Goals and Success

Mark Batterson, in his book The Circle Maker, states that "if faith is being sure of what we hope for, then being unsure of what we hope for is the antithesis of faith. Well-developed faith results in well-defined prayer, and well-defined prayers result in a well-lived life." We should be able to spell out the promises, miracles, and dreams that God has put on our hearts in fervent prayer. He says, "Don't just make a wish. Write down a list of God-glorifying life goals. Then he makes this statement: "living without goals is living life by default." I resemble that remark a little too much for comfort. I am living my life by default and, among other things, I'm getting kind of bored with it.

I started to think about some God-glorifying goals I could "work towards as if it depended on me and pray for as if it depended on God." These are to be dreams and desires unique to me that God has put on my heart. I couldn't think of a thing! Except for the dozen years when my life's goal was to love and protect my son to the best of my ability, my only goal in life has been to die. Most of my life, I was living to die and now, while I am not rushing my way to the end, it still seems like making it to the end of my life here on earth and beginning my life with the Lord in heaven is still the only goal I really have. I've just been killing time with everything I do in the meantime. Sometimes, when I'm stuck on a question, I turn it around. So instead of asking what goals has God put on my heart for this life, I asked myself, "When is God's peace and presence most tangible and he most glorified in my obedience?" That was much easier to answer:
1) When I am laying hands on and praying for another's emotional and spiritual healing
2) When I am sharing God's comfort with a grieving soul
3) When the Holy Spirit speaks to my heart through Scripture
4) When I'm writing about God's grace and glory

The Spirit had long ago given me specific Scriptures to hold close to my heart as a kind of guideline for my life. They are Romans 12:15 - Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn and Revelation 21:5 - He who was seated on the throne said, "Behold I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down for these words are trustworthy and true." Combining my list and life Scriptures, I was able to form an overall life's goal, a mission statement if you will:  I want to be an encourager, to walk alongside those who mourn, and be an instrument of emotional and spiritual healing through prayer, deed, and the written word.

If everything I do in life is guided by this simple statement, God is glorified and I am living true to the specific purpose for which God created me. Batterson also states in The Circle Maker that we should have a definition of success to guide us further in reaching our God-given and God-glorifying goals. In other words, what will our lives look like if we are successful in living out our life's goal? Using the author's personal example, I thought about what I would do, how other would be affected, and how my heart's desire would be met if in fact God blessed me with success. Here's what I came up with:
1) I am acting and reacting as an extension of God's heart of mercy.
2) I am encouraging others toward intimacy with God and giving comfort.
3) My desire that others would see God in me and love me in him would be satisfied.
While I still don't have a specific list of God-glorifying goals, I feel like I have a defined purpose now and that is a good and satisfying feeling. Have you ever defined your unique God-given purpose or redefined it lately? And if so, do you know what success looks like? I encourage you to pray about it if you haven't. And if you have, I encourage you to, as Mark Batterson says, "work like it depends on you and pray like it depends on God" in your pursuit to glorify the Lord in your daily life.

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