It’s January 6, 2014, so I wouldn’t call this an article about New Year’s resolutions, but it is about goal setting. I’m not a resolutioner although I have resolved to do some new things in 2014. I think I’ve discovered how to ensure goals are met. (If you do your part, that is)  Make sense?

On my birthday last year I decided to write down goals. I’ve made a lot of goals in my 53 years but not successfully completed many of them. After I wrote down the goals I did something else that has been a rarity, I paid attention to them. I put them on my calendar and I prayed about them every day. I figured I would give myself until my next birthday to complete them. I did this because, in the past, I’ve always been willing to change, it’s been in my head and my heart, but sometimes the results didn’t come. To be honest MOST times the goal was not met. This year I decided to write them down and pray over them because I believe the Bible provides everything we need to live in this fallen world. In Proverbs it says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight.” So that’s where me and my goal setting did:

Trust in the Lord: I ask(ed) Him every day to show me what He wants me to do and help me know the way to complete it. I ask His insight into every area of my life.

With all my heart: I determine to not participate in the things that might make my pathway cloudy or stumbly. I read the Word and read the words of trusted authors who can help me a strong and true child of the one true King, Jesus. He comes first. I read his Word, I pray and I listen. I also sing a lot of songs that bring me in a closer relationship with him. Sometimes I sing the Psalms to my own little tune and sometimes I belt out Mandisa or drop to my knees worshipping with Hillsong.

I don’t lean on my own understanding. Scary to consider where doing life My way would have led to. My way is self-focused and self-serving. My way isn’t attractive; I can be mean, and greedy and selfish. If left to my own means my words slash and cut and my actions can shut down relationships of all levels. Sometimes I even annoy myself. I am relieved to not lean on my own understanding because my understanding is zero.

Acknowledge Him in ALL my ways: I reckon I addressed that above. What ways do I acknowledge Him, do I look to him to lead in my life? Here’s an example of some of the ways I acknowledge him,

a) Relationship with my husband. We’ve been married 36 years next month and, if nothing else, our love is stronger than when we were teen bride/bridegroom. We are one another’s best friends and we trust each other with our lives. That’s not to say we don’t get on one another’s nerves and know which buttons to push. But at the end of the day it’s him and me against the world…. and I like it that way. I pray for him and I know he prays for me. We are like one but somewhat separate, too.

b) My relationship with my adult children. We were very close and then Lance and I moved to Australia for his work. The kids and I are still as close as living half a world apart allows us to be, but our lives are not intertwined as closely as they once were. As much as I would love to be there in the mix of their lives, I am not.  What I can do is pray for them and for my grandchildren. I ask God to protect them and guide them. Also, I let them know I am available even though we are so far away. It’s nice to have the kids as friends.

C) Relationships with others. I do have a few great friends. I like to call them my fRamily because they are close as family but they are friends, too. With some of them I feel free to speak in love truth, and hope. I know they will do the same with me. We are accountable to one another as it says in James to do…Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 516. We do more than confess our sins, we seek advice and share our fears, doubts and worries.

d) Relationships with distant family and friends. Let’s face it, there are people whom we are joined with through blood or what have you. While I am not intimately acquainted with some of my relatives, I do love them, and so does God.

Now, the last part of that verse: He will make your paths straight. Well where once I might be stumbling along in a sort of cloudy haze busy doing my own thing, I can now see clearly and walk surely in the way He leads me, because I know He wants only the best and He has a plan all laid out, (Jeremiah 33:3) I just have to listen. How about you?

By Linda Mae Baldwin | Freelance writer