Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ready. Set. AIM!

My husband is an avid hunter.  He is a camo-wearing, pick-up truck driving, Texas kind of guy.  Every year when hunting season rolls around, he gets out his bow and checks it out to make sure everything is in working order.  He usually sets up a big styrofoam target of some type for the bow and shoots a few arrows. If he misses the target altogether, then the site on the bow needs to be adjusted.  There's only one other reason he might miss the target, and that would be if he forgot to aim. He would like for me to say that the second option doesn't happen.

All of this got me to thinking about life, setting goals, and aiming to hit our goals.  Just like my husband's trusty bow sometimes needs to be tweaked a bit in order to hit the target, we often need to tweak what we are doing so we can began to experience a greater level of success in actually fulfilling our own goals. You have probably heard the old saying, "He who aims at nothing is sure to hit it".

So, what does it look like to aim at our life goals? Aiming to hit our goals is really just the steps we take, whether big or small, in the direction of our goal. Something that has been incredibly helpful to me is to realize that small steps over time still get me where I want to go. Don't get me wrong. Big steps are good, too, but we often get bogged down or overwhelmed when we try to bite off more than we have time or energy to pursue.

For instance, right now my walk in closet that I share with my hubby is in pretty terrible shape. It's the one spot in my house that has the right to be messy. My closet over the holidays served as my hiding spot for gifts and quick wrapping sessions which I did on my ironing board that stands in the middle of the floor(yes, it's a large closet). There are several baskets of laundry waiting to be sorted through, and who wants to do laundry when you have family home for holidays? And last, but not least, there are shoes scattered all over the floor waiting to be reassigned to their super organized shoe box stacking system.

I'll be honest, I could spend several hours working on my closet, but I don't tend to have several hours on any given day that I could devote to closet organization. So, how can I move toward my goal of having an organized closet? What works for me is to make a decision to spend 10 to 15 minutes a day working on the closet until I have the task completed. If I miss a day, that's OK. Just pick it up again the next day. Each of those 10-15 minute cleaning sessions is 'aiming' at the goal of having a clean and organized closet.

This is just a silly example, but you get the idea. We have to ask ourselves some questions: what is my goal? And, what am I doing to move towards my goal?

I've experienced first-hand the frustration of unmet goals and unfulfilled dreams. That frustration helped push me to some practical steps that pulled me out of the unmet dream doldrums. Here are a few thoughts to ponder as you gear up for a groundbreaking year of breakthrough into your dreams:

Take some time to give your dreams the Prov. 16:3 treatment. Solomon wisely tells us, "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." Many times as we do this, our heart, motives, and methods are purified in the light of His Presence. You want Him to be the wind beneath your wings, so wait before Him for His methods, timing, and strategies.

Did you fulfill the goals you set last year? If not, why not? Be honest now. An ability to be candid with yourself is an important first step to getting started to achieve your goals.

Do you have a plan for fulfilling your goals? Just making some goals is not enough. Get practical and do some brainstorming about what it will take to actually reach your goals. Make a plan.

What steps can you take to achieve your plan? Sometimes our goals seem so daunting that we fearfully balk and refuse to move at all. Learn to take baby steps. Set small, realistic steps to take daily or weekly that will advance you forward in your plan to reach your goal.

Did you ask for any advice? Reaching out to ask for help can sometimes be intimidating, but once it's done, can also be one of the most powerful motivators. Talking with someone who can move you closer to your goal will make your goal seem more of a possibility. Some people choose to stay in the "dream" mode and never pull their dreams down to reality.

Did you read anything or listen to anything to grow in the area of your desired goal? Because writing has been an area of desired growth for me, the past two years books on writing have been at the top of my Christmas list. I have a lot to learn, and choosing to glean from the wisdom of others further down the road just makes good sense.

Taking some time to tweak the aim of your dream-fulfilling bow is time well spent. I believe God places His dreams in our hearts and delights in walking out the process with us to see us hit the target of ours and His dreams fulfilled.

Dream big this year and by all means AIM!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Defeat is Not Your Destiny

This morning I took a good hard look at the giants in my life. Not exactly a fun experience. But, I learned a few things as I pondered my response to these formidable foes.

Our giants reveal a lot about where God wants to take us in the Spirit. It may be hard to understand, but God uses and even allows the giants in our life to grow us up into Him. I always use to wonder why God allowed the giants to be in the Promised land. The Israelites had come such a long way and overcome so many obstacles to make it there, only to find their enemies inhabiting the land that was rightfully theirs. But, God in His wisdom knew that the process, growth, and change that happens in those who learn to overcome, is much more valuable than a piece of real-estate. He is after the glory-to-glory process that we eventually come to know as true riches.

We often find ourselves in similar situations. We finally make it to the land of our dreams, what we have prayed and fought for, only to find an inconvenient giant squatting on our land. It is in those moments that we are faced with multiple decisions. Am I suppose to fight? How am I to fight? What are the weapons I can use?

The truth is, we have a choice not to fight. But, a choice not to fight sends us on a return trip to Egypt, because essentially we again become enslaved. We have given dominion to an uninvited giant.

As I thoughtfully looked at the giants I am facing, I asked God for His battle strategy for this season. Though every giant may require a different battle strategy, I want to share a few of the things I heard Him say to me:

1. Your gaze is everything. Don't look to your own strength, ingenuity, or even spirituality to overcome your giants. Lift up your eyes to see where your Help comes from. I am the Maker of Heaven and Earth and I can certainly equip and empower you to overcome.

2. Don't forget that you are meant to be an Overcomer. Even if you have already fought the same enemy many times and lost, defeat is not your destiny. Look to me for new strategies. I do not set you up for failure, but intended victory.

3. Repent of unbelief. Remember that those who died in the desert did not enter their promised land because of unbelief. Unbelief often manifested in grumbling, murmuring, and complaining. Refuse to partner with unbelief and speak words of life and faith.

4. Pick up your stones. Just like I gave David a sling and five smooth stones, I will give you exactly what you need to overcome. Five smooth, primitive stones propelled by the wind of the Spirit are always more powerful than the best man-made devices or strategies.

I've never been one to look for a battle, or even enjoy watching one, but I know that I am created to be an Overcomer.  Years ago I would have laughed if you had told me that God intends for me to be a great woman of faith. I didn't resemble that at all. But, the giants in my land have been a huge indicator to me that I am destined, and on my way to become a woman of faith. Though their mocking voices taunt with lies from the pit, a much louder voice resonates deep within, "Daughter of destiny arise! You were made for such a time as this. Lock eyes with Me and together we will bring down your enemies."

What giants are you facing? You, too, are destined to be an Overcomer!