On Setting Goals

This post is written to link with Five Minute Friday: write for five minutes on a one-word prompt.  The prompt today is “goal.”


I wonder how you feel about goals.  Are you the sort of person who needs them to stay on track and loves to have a target, or do you struggle with the pressure to achieve and the frustration of unfulfilled goals and wonder if there’s any point?

There are definitely times when I find goals helpful.  If I’m to achieve anything, I need a deadline, and I will do whatever it takes to make it happen.  If the target is “whenever,” the chances are it will never happen.  And since I began being more intentional in setting goals for myself around things like diet, exercise and getting more sleep, there has been a big improvement.  I may not always have met the goals I set, but there has been progress I doubt I’d have made without them.

On the other hand, if I have goals but no clear sense of how to work towards them, I find it frustrating.  I can see where I want to be, but I have no idea how to get there, and yet I can’t get rid of the persistent desire that draws me towards that goal.

Yet the question that really matters is not, “What are my goals?” but, “What are God’s goals?”

His timing is not our timing, and his ways are not our ways.  And I think often his goals for us are less to do with our achievements and more to do with our character.

One of my favourite quotes on this topic comes from Oswald Chambers:

“If you can stay in the midst of turmoil unperplexed and calm because you see Jesus, that is God’s plan for your life.  Not that you might be able to say, “I have done this and that and now it’s all right.”  We have an idea that God is leading us to a certain goal, a desired haven.  He is not.  To God the question of our getting to a particular end is a mere incident.  What we call the process, God calls the end.  God’s purpose is that you depend on him and his power now.  God’s purpose is that you see him walking on the waves.
No shore in sight.
No success.
Just the absolute certainty that it is all right because you see him.”

Lord, may our goal above all else be to know you and to trust you more, to walk with you and to know you walking with us.



20 thoughts on “On Setting Goals

  1. Your post, your thoughts on “character rather than achievement” resonate with me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts — there’s much wisdom to be pondered here. (your FMF neighbor at #15)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Loved your thoughts and this hymn, Lesley. I still set a goal here and there but far fewer than back in back in the day.

    A contentment laced with gratitude seems to be more my thing in this season.

    Less striving, ya know?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. That quote is amazing! I’m going to have to really ponder on it! I’ve been a procrastinator extraordinaire so I had to have a goal and deadline to accomplish anything, to the extreme. But I’m more like Linda above….less striving, more contentment and more recognition of God’s blessings! This is a great post Lesley! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Cindy! I’m glad you like the quote – it’s one of my favourites! There is a lot of wisdom in stopping to be thankful for what we have rather than always striving for more.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Another good post, Leslie. One line stood out to me above all others: “Yet the question that really matters is not, “What are my goals?” but, “What are God’s goals?” I’m trying to learn to ask the Lord that daily, not just concerning long term goals but specifically, “Lord, what do You want me to do today?”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ve fought it for so long, this storm,
    and it’s not unlike a dream
    in which disaster is the norm
    and no-one can hear you scream.
    The pastors of the airwaves say,
    “Jeremiah 29:11!”
    But there can be no earthly way
    they’ve ever read verse ten.
    Some of us are surely meant
    for an end that roils in pain,
    but I find that Heaven-sent
    strength allows me to remain.
    I ask no promised sylvan shore;
    just remember that I died at war.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Andrew, you inspire so many of us with the way you persevere and fight! I agree, Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the verses people often pull out of context. I’m more encouraged by Revelation and the certain hope that we have that the end of the story will be free from pain and suffering. Praying for continued strength for you!


  6. “Yet the question that really matters is not, “What are my goals?” but, “What are God’s goals?” This question changes our focus on what truly matters. Thanks for the wisdom you shared and for including the beautiful hymn, “Be Thou my Vision.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love having daily goals. It helps me stay on track with what I’ve purposed to do. But I have to remember to hold them loosely and not preempt what God wants me to do instead! He often has better ideas than me. 🙂 Thanks for the reminder, Lesley.

    Liked by 2 people

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