Published in the San Antonio Express News, 2015 —
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” — Luke 14:28 (NIV)
Goal setting is distressing for me to write about and that you will do what I did for many years. You will set goals independently of God.
You may — with good intentions — create a checklist of things to do to accomplish in your own selfish ambition. Like I do all too often, you will discount the omnipresent creator of the universe who is interested in every decision you make.
Then, you will experience the disappointment of accomplishing things only the world praises. You will waste a portion of your life only focused on dollars and cents and not the lives around you.
Looking back, you will regret the selfish season. The good news is that God restores. He gives you another chapter in life. This time, prior to setting selfish-ambition goals, you will change the approach. You will establish the two goal-setting prerequisites: successful setup and high expectations.
Distractions and a messy mind will destroy valuable time. Take a moment to set up the right environment to truly experience the benefits of the goal-setting process.
A big chunk of time away from the office and distractions is needed. You should not fill up the time only writing things down. Spend time just staring and thinking. It is in these moments that clarity comes. My goal-setting venue of choice is a hotel lobby with access to coffee. Your ideal place may be in a deer blind, a home office, or in your car. It just needs to be quiet and away from distractions.
You need to work with your spouse, loved ones, or business partner to set goals. They will see things you can’t. This is wise counsel. Did I say spouse? Don’t discount the power of having your spouse engage in the process. I know it has personally saved my career.
Do not disconnect the maker of the entire universe from goal setting. This is a habit that must be broken. Prayer is the vehicle where we get to talk to our heavenly Father about what is on our hearts, learn about his will for our lives, and see if the two are aligned.
You may set low goals, discounting the greatness the Lord has in place for you. You have to think like a Texan: think big or go home.
Pastor Tim Keller, author of several books including “The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism,” says, “I will no longer disrespect God by having low expectations (of what he can/will do).”
You need to be excited about the potential God has in your life. God wants to participate in life and He wants you to live it abundantly.
We subtly recognize God when we say, “It happened for a reason.” I’m suggesting that setting goals with God not be so subtle or reactive. We need to set goals that ensure the unique gifts God has given us are being recognized, used, and not wasted. Planning with God makes too much sense! Rather than simply meeting budget desires, your goals will now include the lives of those around you. With a goal-setting attitude in complete union with God, you are free to experience the abundant life you were called to live.
Darryl W. Lyons is author of a new book, “Small Business Big Pressure: A Faith-based Approach for the Ambitious Entrepreneur.”