Monday, October 10, 2011

Pursuing Goals God's Way

I shared with you last week that there were some things God had placed on my heart and that I felt Him calling me to focus on praying through those things for a few days. And that is exactly what I have been doing. God was calling me to Him to reveal to me a specific thing that He wanted me to do. I am so excited about it, but, at the same time I know it is going to take a lot of hard work, discipline and prayer.  He also revealed that in order to accomplish this task He has for me, I must change the way that I pursue my goals. I must pursue them God's way.

In the past, I have not been successful with the goals I have set. God has shown me why those have failed and has shown me how He wants me to pursue this goal, and I believe all goals, that He has for me. While there are many things I was doing wrong, I want to share with you three of the ones that I struggle with the most.

  1. I must wait on the Lord. Many times throughout Scripture we are told to wait on the Lord. One verse in particular reads “In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” (Psalm 5:3) I was real good about laying my request before God. I was not too good about waiting expectantly. I must wait for God to tell me if what I want is what He wants and if so, then how to do it and when to act. I need not rush out but to be patient but to “wait expectantly” to hear from God. We can expect His response.  We just have to be patient and trust that when His time is right He will respond. But until He does, we wait on the Lord.  God does not give us the whole plan in detail from the start. He tells us in Psalm 119:105 that His Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. The thing about lamps is that they only illuminate for us our next step on the path, not the complete journey or even 5 steps ahead. God wants us to take that next step when He reveals it to us trusting that He is leading us in the right direction. That is called walking in faith which is difficult at times because we don't know what lies ahead.  However, walking in faith can come much easier when we realize that the One leading us is the only One that is able to see the path from the beginning to the end. Knowing this should give us peace because from God's viewpoint, He can see which paths will lead to life and which will lead to death. God will always lead us down the path that leads to life. All we have to do is follow the next step that He reveals to us.

  1. In order to reach God's goals for me I must realize that rewards are received by sowing and reaping, and not expect instant gratification. Again, I must be patient and wait on God's timing. God desires that I work hard in doing His good work so that in His time, I will reap the reward. The good I do today may not always bring me a reward today. We are told that we should “not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9) When we do not see our goals through, the problem can be found in either one of two places: our goals or our expectations. Failure to do the first step of laying our request before God and waiting expectantly for His response can lead us to pursuing goals that are our own, not God's. This can consequently lead to us giving up before we reap the reward. And here is the reason. Jesus says in John 15:5, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (emphasis mine) If we can do nothing apart from God, then it makes sense that the goals we set apart from God would lead to failure.
    Sometimes, the problem lies in our expectations. Often times even when we are doing the will of our Father in Heaven, we are still tempted not to see things through. To start things and not finish them.  If we are tempted to do this, it likely that we are thinking we should have already seen the fruits of our labor, but no harvest has come. If a farmer sows a seed and then reaps the harvest before the proper time, before the crop is ripe, he will miss out on the best possible harvest. Only God knows when the harvest is ripe for the picking. If we follow God's Word, do not grow weary in doing good and do not give up, then at the proper time, in God's perfect timing, we will reap the full and compete reward. We can not even begin to imagine the wonderful ripe harvest God has in store for us if we remain faithful.
  2. Lastly, I must have balance. Now, I don't know for sure that this is required necessarily to reach a specific goal God has set before us. However, I do know that God is making it clear to me that I must seek balance in my life if the goal He has set before me is a long term goal. Let me explain. I have a tendency when I am excited about doing something to start and not want to stop or do anything else until I am finished. However, by doing this, I often neglect the other parts of my life. For instance, if I am not careful, I will spend the majority of my day writing a blog post I am very excited about sharing in an attempt to get in on the blog that day. Consequently, my work and/or housework gets behind. The Word of God says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) I'm sure you have heard the saying “A place for everything and everything in it's place,” Well, I have made up my own version. “A time for everything and everything in it's time.” I have to make sure that I set aside a time to do all of my responsibilities that I have as a working wife and mother. I also must try, as much as possible, to keep my tasks within the time frame I have set for it. You may not struggle with this like I do and I hope that you don't. But for me, without this balance, I end up putting too much energy and time into the one thing I am most excited about and then I am left without enough energy and time for all the other jobs I have.   I also realize that sometimes God places unexpected things or people in our daily lives.  In these cases, I must always be ready to say yes to God at any time and in any situation and not let my schedule keep me from doing the good work that He may place in my life today.  My schedule is meant to help me keep balance in my life with everyday chores and task, but it should not be so set in stone that I am too busy to love on someone that God places in my path to help or share the gospel with.

Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. “ I do not know all the plans that God has for me in the future. I also do not know all the details for the plans that He has revealed to me now. I do know, however, that all He has planned for me is good. I so long to do good, to honor God in my life. Even in the things that seem mundane. Picking up toys a million and one times a day can seem very unrewarding.  However, we are told in 1 Corinthians 10:31 that in whatever we do, we should do it to the glory of the Lord.  God also says that if I do not grow weary and give up, then in due time I will reap my harvest. Proverbs 31 describes a woman of noble character. She makes it her lives work to tend to her husband, kids and home. She works hard to seemingly no reward. But at the end of the chapter it says...”Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” That, my friend, is reward if you ask me. However, I have made a choice to always strive to do what is good even if I never see reward this side of Heaven. My hope lies in the promises of God and that He is faithful to fulfill those promises. Payday is coming soon, sister! Keep up the good work!


Anonymous said...

Oh My Goodness Melinda, God has taught me much through your words today. Stay strong my sister. Kim M.

Melinda Rivera said...

That you for that encouragement. I am so awestruck in the goodness of God. I have verbalized to Him many times that I am in complete dependence on Him and He has been so good and faithful to come through for me. I am so glad that I can share these things and that God is using them to speak to others as well.