Are you finding it difficult to set spiritual goals that you can achieve? In today’s world, we set unrealistic goals that can be hard to fulfill. However, God wants you and I to seek Him and His word and draw a closer relationship.
I have another guest post to share with you so allow me to introduce my sweet friend, Fleda Bennie from Women Ministering. She’s going to help you by providing us with the 5 Steps for Setting Spiritual Goals That Work in 2020. Enjoy!
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It’s not too late to set goals. Setting spiritual goals can be done at any time. We usually do it at the very beginning of a year, but truly, anytime is fine. One of the keys is this, they need to work for you and here are 5 steps to help you set goals that work.
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What are Spiritual Goals?
Spiritual goals are anything related to what we refer to as our spiritual being. As Christians, the Holy Spirit is living inside us His qualities are the ones being replicated in us. For instance, the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
When we set goals, we are determining a set of actions that will cause us to grow in the fruit and in Christ-likeness. Some of those actions can become goals.
Things like prayer and Bible Study are, of course, foundational parts of our actions because we need communion with God and we know Him through prayer and His Word – written and that spoken to us through the Holy Spirit.
There are disciplines the Scripture exhorts us to engage in to benefit us and cause us to grow spiritually.
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8
We do this through various actions and purposeful disciplines (actions) and goals give us a way to set a path and follow it in the areas we choose with God’s help.
Spiritual Goals List:
- Praying more and/or consistently.
- Regularly reading and studying the Bible.
- Attending a Bible Study or completing one online.
- Being more active in your church.
- Getting together on a regular basis with other women who share similar beliefs.
- Growing in one area of your spiritual life – peace, joy, love, etc.
- Getting involved in ministry outreach.
- Starting an outreach.
- Changing in areas such as Motherhood, being a wife, an employee, etc.
Spiritual Goals can be very broad. Praying more is a broad, somewhat non-specific goal. That’s the starting point but the detail is needed in order to know you can reach your desired outcome.
Perhaps as you look back over the past few months or year, you will see a particular area where you desire to change and grow – go deeper with God to fulfill your calling. God loves it when we do this because it means our heart is set on Him.
But he who is noble plans noble things, and on noble things, he stands. Isaiah 32:8
Goals are Intentions. They are intentions of our heart and we can stand confidently and honorably in our words and actions in relation to our goals. Here are 5 Steps for Setting Spiritual Goals That Work.
SETTING SPIRITUAL GOALS – HOW TO START
You just start. I know that seems a little obvious but, it’s easy to overthink the process and just give up because it seems overwhelming. I am also a writer. A few years ago, I took a class on writing and here is how you start writing.
You write! Yes, you heard it here. You start.
You’ve already been brainstorming about a plot, the characters, etc. So, start. Just start writing. This is the Rough Draft. You don’t edit as you write or worry about the order. You just start getting your thoughts out.
It’s the same with spiritual goals. You already have some ideas, thoughts, dreams wandering around inside of you. Just start putting them on paper or a Vision Board or whatever method works for you. Don’t worry about how to achieve them – just start writing them out.
If it helps, put them in categories, but really, for now, just write out the things the Holy Spirit has been saying along with the hopes, dreams, and changes you know you need to make.
SETTING SPIRITUAL GOALS – PRAY
Pray over the list. As you pray, ask God to show you the ones you need to keep and the ones that may need to be set aside for later or combined with others. Pray to have peace about the situation.
Your list may be really long or short. As you pray, remember that there is no wrong way to do this. Be yourself, be free, and let the Holy Spirit loose to guide you.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Be open to things you may not have thought of before. Be open to new dreams. Pray and put your trust in God to give you vision. There is a really good chance that you already know a few things you want or need to do. Don’t be afraid of them or decide they’re impossible.
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9
SETTING SPIRITUAL GOALS – FIND YOUR PASSION
As you look over what you have written, which ones stir up the spirit inside you? Which ones give that feeling – I can do this?
Or, I really want to do this. Of course, there may be something on the list that isn’t really that appealing but you know it’s what God is speaking to you about.
Setting a goal to be more patient with your children might be very necessary but a little daunting. If God says to do it – do it!
As you look over your list or Vision Board, start circling the ones that stand out to you, either because God has been speaking or because your spirit is stirred when you think about them.
As you continue to look at them, pray about what they mean for your life and for those around you. Add some numbers to them.
Perhaps you really want to go volunteer at an outreach like a food bank or something, but God is talking to you about that ‘patience’ thing. Put the number 1 next to patience and 2 next to Outreach. Keep going and narrowing things down.
In order for your goals to work, you need to care about them. Don’t set a goal just because it seems like the right thing to do. Also, don’t set unrealistic goals. It is doubtful you are going to read the entire Bible through in one month!
Set achievable goals.
If you have young kids, a full- time job, and are active at your church, set your goals around the things that come first – God, family, and you. Yes, time for yourself.
Perhaps that’s one of your goals – just to have an hour a week to do whatever you want! That’s a good goal because a healthy woman, wife, mother, grandmother, friend, a co-worker is a benefit to everyone!
SETTING SPIRITUAL GOALS – SET YOUR STEPS
The steps of a man are established by the Lord when he delights in his way. Psalm 37:23
Re-write your goals. Use only the ones you have circled and put them in order. If your list is too long, you may need to eliminate some more or combine them. Again, in order for your goals to work, they need to be realistic and achievable without completely altering your entire life.
As you are in this process, you may find that one thing begins to stand out more and it should be first. Just move them around as you are led.
Big goals like pray more, need to be broken down into steps. Ask yourself:
- What time will I pray?
- Do I also want to journal my prayers?
- Where will I pray?
- How long can I pray?
- Do I need some tools to help me get started? Journal, Planner, Notebook, Bible Study, Babysitter, etc.
- Is there something specific I want to pray about?
These things all matter. Because you probably have family and/or a job you need to take into consideration, form your steps in ways that fit your life.
Maybe, at first, you can only pray for 10 minutes a day on the way to work.
Don’t look down on small beginnings. Then you can add 10 more minutes at lunch, and ten more on the way home. That totals 30 additional minutes of prayer!
Add your steps-of-action under each goal. Your goals won’t work unless you determine the actions you will take. In order to achieve, you must do something. Write down exactly what you are going to do to make this goal happen. If you don’t – it won’t.
SETTING SPIRITUAL GOALS – LAUNCH YOUR BOAT
Set a time to start and then, start. The only way you can go sailing on the water is to launch your boat. Same with goals. The only way to achieve is to start. After a few days or weeks, you will probably find you need to make some changes or adjustments to them. There is no problem with that.
Maybe you overshot a little on one of them. Don’t feel guilty or like a failure and stop. Just make the necessary adjustment. If you tried to read your Bible for 30 minutes every morning and then found you couldn’t, adjust the goal to 15. You can always work your way back up as your circumstances change.
This year, I have already made a few adjustments to some of my goals. In fact, I got rid of one I had set because I knew that, in order to do the others well, I needed to set this one aside for later. I tend to overshoot and had to be realistic about my time.
The other goals were ones I wanted to be able to do with excellence and that required eliminating the one. This will help in keeping God first in 2020. Another resource I have found helpful is Arabah Joy.
RELAX IN GOD
God isn’t up in heaven with your list of goals checking every day to see how you do and grading you! His greatest interest is in your heart. So, relax and work through your goals, changing, adjusting, and never stopping.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song, I give thanks to him. Psalm 28:7
If life happens and you can’t go to the women’s bible study at church for a few weeks, just ask for prayer, leave it in God’s hands, and go back as soon as you can. To help you reach your spiritual goals pick one word and let this be your guiding word for 2020.
The point of goals is not to experience failure and self-condemnation. They are simply a wonderful tool to help us keep moving forward.
Spiritual goals are particularly good because they are focused on being more like Jesus. You don’t have to worry about whether or not you are in God’s will because you already know this is what He wants!
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6
Trust God. He is with you and in you, always completing the good work He has begun in you.