As you actively seek the right direction for your journey to finding your influence, it is normal to find yourself second-guessing your decisions about your ultimate destination. How can you find peace about your journey? We wanted to share again an interview with 4word woman Bridget Mburu, who shared in 2018 from her heart about setting goals, at any point in your life, and being open to The Plan when you discover it.
Don’t have time to read this blog? Listen to it below!
Why do you think so many people struggle with setting goals and working toward dreams?
The Internet is full of articles on “how to set goals”, such as the SMART method. So I’m convinced that we struggle, not necessarily because we don’t know how to write down a step by step plan, but because even the best laid plans will encounter various headwind—intangible mental, emotional, spiritual, psychological challenges that are difficult to navigate.
In the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-9), the Bible talks about the condition of the soil (not the seed itself), which means our physical, mental, emotional, psychological, spiritual health. In other words, what is your foundation? What are your beliefs, perspectives, influences? What is the noise you are listening to in your life?
For example, if you set a goal to lose weight and create a plan around it but have an unhealthy self-image or poor relationship with food, the chances are high that you may either struggle to achieve your goal or you may achieve it but struggle to maintain it. If a sweet tooth is one of your vices, address how you are going to manage that first because it is sure to cause you to stumble no matter how many pushups you do at the gym.
Other reasons are:
- We don’t know where to start or how to navigate the process, the obstacles, and the challenges, so we become discouraged, tempted to give up, distracted.
- We are using our own strength, striving and struggling and getting discouraged instead of tapping into God’s grace (empowerment) and fully trusting Him.
- Relying only on our five senses: We pursue our dreams according to the natural – what we can see, hear, smell, feel, our gut – versus by faith.
- Having no support system (mentors, coaches, personal board of directors).
- Fear, the big four-letter word which can manifest itself in dreaming “small,” setting goals which are “small” and seeing ourselves as “small.”
- We focus on the destination and not the journey, thus forgetting to have fun in the process and to give ourselves the grace to “fail.”
In your experience, how should we approach finding “The Plan” for our lives?
I believe that before we do anything else, we need to make sure that God is at the head and center of all our dreams and plans.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise early, to retire late, to eat the bread of anxious labors— for He gives [blessings] to His beloved even in his sleep.”Psalm 127:1-2 (AMP)
God didn’t just create us. He also put in us the gifts, talents, personality, abilities, and everything we need to accomplish what He put us here to do—not for our sake but for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Apart from God’s plan and purpose, we become shells of ourselves. God not only knows what we are capable of and what’s in us, but also how much time we have on this earth to accomplish it and what resources He has already made available to enable us to accomplish our purpose. So why would we not consult Him and submit to His leading in setting our goals?
It’s also important to obey and heed what God says. Immediately. I mean, look at Peter, just going about his day, doing the unglamorous task of casting nets to catch fish, when Jesus found him, called him and he immediately followed Jesus. Peter probably would have never thought in a million years that he would be following Jesus, the Messiah, and that he would become a “fisher of men.” See, Peter could immediately follow Jesus because he knew something many of us struggle to realize, which is that God sees more than is externally visible. He knows us intimately, and He looks in our hearts, souls, and spirits when He charges us with an assignment.
As we follow our unique paths, how can we keep ourselves from wishing for the “greener grass” those around us might have?
I’ve heard it said that the grass is only green where it’s watered. So if we are not watering the grass where we are, serving faithfully where we are, we are deluding ourselves in thinking that if we had the green grass that others seem to have, that we’d take care of it and it’d stay green. The Bible is very clear that when we are faithful with a little, God will make us ruler over much.
“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’”Matthew 25:23
Remember that God is with you and blessing you right where you are: You know what’s hilarious and perhaps many will not admit? The reality is that WE all have something that others look at and wish they had. I guarantee you that regardless of how much you think others “have it” and that you don’t, there is someone somewhere who thinks you have something that they don’t have. Imagine that!
Pray for a renewed mind to see as God sees: What became clear to me as I grappled with insecurity from comparison was that I needed to surrender to God to do a deep work in my soul. I tried giving thanks for what I could acknowledge I was blessed with; I tried recalling scripture that affirmed God’s love for me and how everything he created was “good.” But this insecurity was wedged deep in my soul. So I did what we all do when we are desperate: I prayed…and God answered in two ways:
Remember that God will absolutely fulfil His plan and purpose for your life: I read the story of Hagar in Gen 16 & 21, this servant girl who birthed Ishmael as a result of Sarai’s unbelief, only to be cast out later when she disrespected Sarai. After being banished, Hagar was wandering around the wilderness, with no food, no family except for her infant son, no hope for the future, waiting to die, but the bible says God SAW her! God showed up in her desperate, humble situation and not only provided for her physical practical needs, he also prophesied over her son’s future and continued to provide for them in the wilderness. And Gen 16:13, has a shout-worthy revelation that talks about how Hagai in turn SAW God. So in the midst of her wilderness experience, dealing with lack and the very real prospect of death, God saw her and she in turn saw him! Whoo! May we SEE God and not our circumstances, our limitations, our as-yet unfulfilled dreams, our setbacks, our failures. God, help us to see you and not the perceived “greener grass” of others.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to set goals for themselves this year (and beyond)?
God is very strategic and He doesn’t do things adhoc. He has a plan and His vantage point is so high and He is all knowing and wise and wants to bless us because He loves us and to advance His kingdom. Numbers 23:19 (NLT) reminds us that “God is not a man, so he does not lie…Has he ever promised and not carried it through?”
Therefore, approach your dreams and goals with the following principles in mind:
- Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in setting goals and plans (or if you don’t have a goal to set, ask Him to show you one.)
- Stay faithful even when the outcome is not what you expected. Get clear about what your true intentions and expectations are, versus what you think they are.
- Don’t wait for (or expect) others’ validation of your dream or plan.
- Learn from previous mistakes, recalculate and get back on track. Know that God can handle our mistakes and He is able to use even our mistakes for good.
- Commit to the process and be patient.
- Be flexible and don’t fear interruptions to your plan.
- Get a mentor, coach, personal board of directors, sponsor, or other accountability and support system.
- Run your race (Heb 12:1 & 1 Cor 9:24), not Irene’s or John’s race. Be disciplined and focused in running yours. What’s going on with their lives is cool, but so is what’s going on with yours. I’ve noticed that when I started accepting my race and not be distracted by others’ races, I started discovering the potential and glory in it.
- Be content. It’s a great cure for dis-ease. Contentment is like exhaling. There is such a grace we gift ourselves when we truly acknowledge how significant our lives are and see the value that God sees.
- Don’t be in denial about a goal or plan that’s not working or try to spiritualize it in order to not deal with it.
- Have fun. Choose to enjoy your life as it is now.
When I’m not posting words on my website here, I can be found reading, enjoying various genres of music, or discussing world events pretending I can bring world peace. I’m an eclectic foodie who loves food from different cultures: Indian sweets and well, everything Indian food, Ethiopian Wot, Greek moussaka, Kenyan chapatis, French pastries (all that butter!), Peruvian meats, and even going to high tea. I think in Heaven I’ll be in charge of the food, reading, and music selection. My other interests and passions are hiking, acting, singing heartily, texting family and friends, and doing virtually all my shopping online (thank you Amazon and Uber Eats!).