Guess the Joke’s On Me

A funny thing happened on my way to achieving last year’s New Year’s goals.

This morning, in the back of a drawer, I found ten index cards on which I’d written my goals for 2011. I almost tossed them out without looking at them. It’s been that kind of year.

But then, just for kicks, I looked them over. They were going to be my argument for a post on how useless it is to set goals in light of the fact that God can come in and interrupt your life plan at will.

Joke’s on me. To my surprise, I’ve actually achieved six out of the ten cards!

I remember yanking them off the bulletin board in my beautiful little writing corner last January. Angry that I before the new car smell was off the year, my life was already turning upside down, and I found myself packing to leave a home I loved.

Rather than throw them away, I recall I decided to toss them in a box so I could throw them up to God later on when I wanted Him to see how much He’d interfered with my good intentions and my plans.

He’s laughing now.

These weren’t selfish goals. I spent time praying about these plans and considering them carefully before God. Several of them had to do with my relationship with Him. I even remember dedicating them to Him before I tacked them up on my board (you know, feeling all holy and self-confident).

Leave it to God to take me seriously.

Funny how as today began, I had one reigning thought on my mind: there is so much I don’t understand about how God works. This past week, I began studying the life of Jacob, later called Israel, father of the twelve tribes. Drawing lessons from his story his like trying to strain a pure drink from muddy water.

God works in the lives of individuals, people groups, and nations in unique and personal ways. As great and as vast as He is, He seems to revel in getting His hands dirty with each of us one-on-one. And while there are absolutes, principles, and laws that apply across the board, how He works that out in each of our puny lives is as unique as our thumbprints.

It’s really not true to say that I achieved six out of my ten 2011 New Year’s goals. There came a point this year when I stopped thinking about personal goals and just focused my eyes on Jesus simply to keep from falling beneath the waves of trouble that kept coming and coming.

What’s truer to say is that He achieved six out of the ten goals for my year. I just held on for dear life as He took me through the circumstances that facilitated the process.

So, my plans for today have changed already. I was determined not to set goals this year. In my petulance, I was going to tell God how useless that is and how much more spiritual it would be just to “let Him have His way anyway since He seemed to ignore my goals in order to achieve His.”

I’m such a jerk.

Instead, I’ll pray again and ask Him, once more, to show me goals for 2012. I don’t feel quite so holy nor so confident in myself as I pursue the process this year but now I am more confident of Him and His willingness and ability to achieve His plans for me, despite me.

And now I know the verses on which I will meditate today. They come from Psalm 138:6-8

“For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.”

David, who penned that Psalm, loved the Lord and yet, His life was fraught with twists and turns he didn’t see coming. God was with him, though, through it all.

How about you? What are your goals for 2012?

Whatever they are, be sure to move forward with Jesus. Though there’s no guarantee it will be easy, once you’ve tried it, trust me, you’ll never look back. He will fulfill His purpose for you, too, loved one. He’s like that year, after year, after year.

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    The Conversation

  1. Michael Weil says:

    Amen! Thanks for getting this new year off to a great start, Lori, and for allowing us readers to, as well. 🙂

  2. Super! Love this post!

  3. Mid Stutsman says:

    I tearfully went through the year with you in this post, Lori…2011 was quite a year for many of my friends and for us…but I believe it was a testing phase for what’s to come. As always, you have a gift and it shines through in this one!!

  4. Congratulations on reaching so many of your goals last year. It’s obvious that they were His goals for you, too!