Setting goals and resolutions for the year is great, but are you making sure that God is at the forefront? Last year, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Rev. Darlene R. Counts, Associate Minister at Judah Temple A.M.E. Zion Church, about this important topic. We are continuing the conversation with part 2 as we embark on 2024.
Are New Year’s resolutions, goal setting, or setting intentions biblical?
I would say it is not specifically biblical in terms of New Year’s resolution. The Bible does share how we can make plans for our lives, but we are still following the spirit of God. A scripture that comes to mind is Proverbs 19:21, “many are the plans of the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
That simply means that we can make plans for our lives, goals, and things we want to change, but it is all about the orchestration of God’s plan for our lives. Our purpose aligns with how God sees us as believers and how the direction of our lives is going.
Often with setting intentions and New Year’s resolutions, we come up with ideas, but we are not always intentional that they are God’s ideas.
Another familiar passage of scripture that people may use is Proverbs 3:6, “Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding.” That comes with obedience to the path that God has you on and how you can walk in the will of God even with the desires you have for yourself.
It is personal but not biblical, for growth and development.
Last year, life was “lifing” for a lot of people, what are ways we can reset to feel refreshed in our spirits when creating goals?
The first inclination as life has “lifed” and sometimes we might have not fulfilled the things we wanted to. I would say to reflect on what did not work so that you can get some type of knowledge to make it work the next time around. Decluttering is also important.
To refresh means, at some point, it was fresh; “How can I make whatever goal fresh again?” or “How can I make the goal I have accomplished better?”
There is also prioritizing your goals and putting the things important to you first. A lot of times, when we do things to refresh ourselves, we do the things we love the most. Whether it is self-care, travel, or whatever brings you the most joy. A lot of times, when you prioritize from most important to least important, it will bring you more motivation and excitement to get the things done on your list.
Create healthy habits and do things that will ignite your spirit, for example, your passions, gifts, or things you always wanted to do.
When life begins to “life,” you lose motivation from the spiritual and natural. It is important to surround yourself with people who understand your gifts and purpose.
Go after the things that bring you joy. This looks different for everyone. There is no cookie-cutter way. Everyone’s joy is not the same, it does not look the same.
Goals and resolutions are a part of living.
How do you intentionally set goals in God’s way?
Setting goals in God’s way begins and ends with Him. When we are seeking after God about the things that He desires for us, he will give us the timing. He will allow the timing to flow as it needs to.
For example, you want to write a book.
God will make the provisions. The Holy Spirit knows our abilities, and it is important when we are intentional to allow the Holy Spirit to govern us on how to fulfill those goals.
There is no specific way of setting goals. You have to be real with yourself about your goals and be true to yourself. For some people, starting off with one goal is fine. Prioritize what you’re going to execute, and if that is one thing, that is okay. Do your best at that one thing.
When God says no or not yet to a goal or a resolution, how do you process this?
There is a purpose behind every response. The reason why it is hard to process a no from God is because, naturally, we do not like being told no. For example, as children, we did not like for our parents to tell us no.
When we are told no, we have an attitude. We live in a popcorn society. We live in an “I” society. Instead of looking at the perspective that God’s no or not yet can be beneficial. We patronize God in this way that he is loving, and he is always going to say yes. He is also a God who takes away. He is also a God who is strategic in what he does. What is being questioned is your reality of who God is. We have to be careful at taking God’s no or not yet as rejection. Getting a no and not yet are a part of the faith journey. God is not a yes man. He is like a parent figure.
What advice do you have for someone who has never set goals at the beginning of the year but would like to set them this year? What is a good starting point?
The first step is to talk to God, “I know what my life looks like right now; show me, God, where you want me to start. If there is anything on this list that you do not approve of, show me. If there are things you want to work on, show me. God, help me stick to that one goal until it is at a good place where I can pick up another one. As I go throughout this year, continue to show me. As you are shaping and molding, detoxing me from things I should not be doing, show me your purpose for me."
This is a way for you to stay in alignment.
Are there books you recommend for goal setting?
Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
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