Monday, January 10, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Why we should set our goals with God

Goals with God
A devotional by Cyndi Staudt

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” 
–Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)

I love the feel of a new year.

It’s like a blank slate just waiting to be filled with hopes and dreams, experiences and adventures. Anything seems possible while the door closes on the previous year’s journey, no matter what happened along the way. Usually, I have a new planner waiting for my activities and experiences to be reported. I also have a crisp, clean journal inviting my stories to be written and my experiences to be chronicled.

During the week between Christmas and New Year I always set aside time to take an inventory of the year about to close—a “year in review” of sorts. I relive highlights of the year—happy times and hard times—as I observe all the ways God showed up along my journey. I find Him in the mountaintop moments where I experienced rich joy in His presence. I also encounter Him in the deepest valleys where I had to cling to Him for comfort so my grief would not consume me. This review reminds me that I serve a loving and faithful God who promises never to leave me nor forsake me. He is my constant companion.

My “year in review” also serves as the perfect launching pad to look at the “year in view” – the new year on the horizon. As I stand on the threshold of a new year, I sometimes feel like the Israelites when they sent out the scouts to the Promised Land. On one hand I am hopeful, anticipating great things from the God who assures me in Jeremiah 29:11 that He has good plans for me, plans not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future.

But on the other hand, I can feel the imposing presence of giants lurking in the shadows, a reminder of the adversary who is always looking for a way to devour me and distract me from what God has planned. I don’t allow my thoughts to linger there too long before I fix my mind on Jesus Christ who has already defeated the devil. Therefore, I begin to prayerfully pen plans and goals, dreams and expectations for the year ahead.

It’s exciting, albeit slightly daunting, to see on paper the many things I hope to accomplish in the coming months. I find peace in the reminder that while I make my plans, I serve a God who will order my steps into His perfect will for my tomorrows and for eternity. I can then step confidently into all He has for me.

While God invites us to review the past, He doesn’t want us to dwell in it. While He encourages us to set goals and pursue dreams for the future, He also reminds us to not worry about tomorrow. Those “steps” that God orders on the path to pursuing our plans happen in the present. The present is where we encounter God daily. He meets with us in the everyday moments of our lives, attending to every last detail. He desires daily, intimate relationship with us. Our spirit will thrive when we seek Him with greater intensity than we chase our dreams.

As much contemplating and planning as I do at the onset of a new year, when I come to the year in review, I'm always sure to see sweet little surprises my Savior gifted me with along the way. I try not to box God into my plans. Instead, I leave them open to His creativity along the way. He has unlimited resources and unexpected methods of making things happens for our good and His glory. And I don’t want to miss a single one.

Let’s Pray: Creator God, thank You for being my faithful guide and constant companion on my journey through life. I am so grateful You are accessible in my every moment, joining me in the joy on the mountain tops and accompanying me as I trudge through the valleys. I marvel at Your creativity as You unfold your plans and purpose for my life in surprising and unexpected ways. I appreciate Your patience and faithfulness as I stumble in the steps I take in efforts to walk in your will. I am grateful that Your gentle hand is ever present to pick me when I fall far from Your plans, and set me back on the path You've placed before me. While I prayerfully pen my plans for this new season, help me to stay out of Your way. Teach me how to surrender any expectations of outcomes to Your ways, Your will and Your timing. In the mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

Cyndi Staudt is a Jesus-loving, adrenaline junkie devoted to living her life for Jesus until the day she is living with Him.

With a passion for cultivating a craving for God's Word, her devotions and Bible studies are saturated with faith and hope to stir your soul to connect with God in deeper, more intimate ways.

Through her writing she hopes to ignite your desire to read God’s Word, invite your heart to experience God’s love, and inspire you to live your life "souled out" to the One whose love has no limits.

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