Setting Goals as a Christian - The Struggle, Lies, and Solutions to Christian Goal Setting

The Christian’s Struggle with Goal Setting; Forcing Your Own Will or Meeting Your Potential?

Making Plans

When my husband decided to go back to school and change careers we had three kids, a house, great neighbors, relatives near by, and a wonderful church family with several young families that we lived life with. I did NOT want to leave! It was for the betterment of my husband’s future though, so we loaded up. We used our savings to make repairs on an old family farmhouse that we could live in for the next few years without a mortgage payment.

We’d be back when he was done though! We rented our home while we lived in our temporary country house. I couldn’t wait to move back home. Being away was a very hard season of struggle for me. Then, God completely changed our plans. Ever happen to you? My husband was offered a job where he was schooling before he even graduated and we’ve stayed in this town ever since, about 10 years now.

Destined to Less Than?

As Christians, we tend to struggle with our ambitions and goal setting. Scripture says that man can make his plans but God directs his steps.

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” -Proverbs 16:9

So we settle. Do you ever feel destined to mediocrity? I have. I’ve thought that destiny was due to starting a family so young. The enemy was so sly that I didn’t even consider it might be a lie. Whispers turned into thoughts. Thoughts into beliefs and beliefs accepted as truth. Mediocrity for me meant always being tied to a corporation, barely making budget, and no first world luxuries. It meant my four kids could not catapult into a better, more meaningful lifestyle. And this I accepted as truth; natural consequences of going against God’s will 15 years old.


Who revealed these lies as lies? Horst Shulze and Ruth Soukup. Who?

Horst Shulze, founder of Ritz Carlton Hotel. I had the opportunity to attend a luncheon at which this godly, wildly successful man spoke of growing up in Germany and starting as a busboy in a local hotel until he was given a chance to come to America. He spoke of working toward excellence as an example to others. The quality of our work speaks to others. If we are representing the Almighty God as a Christian we should strive towards excellent others should say something different in our quality of work. Representing God with mediocrity is selling him short.

Ruth Soukup, founder of Living Well Spending Less and New York times bestseller author talks in several of her materials about goalsetting, limiting beliefs and dreaming big. I’ve always considered myself as trying to take charge of my own life if I’m setting goals and striving to accomplish that. In that habit I was settling for mediocrity!

Are you tired of running the hamster wheel? Wondering what life holds for you? Have you settled into mediocrity and quit dreaming, just surviving the day to day?

As followers of Jesus we submit to His authority and strive to follow Him daily. That doesn’t mean that setting goals and working towards them is sinful. Goals can be much like money (or anything else for that matter) in that it can be turned to serve man rather than man using it as a tool to serve the Creator.

Roadblocks for Christian Goals

Below are some common roadblocks that Christians can struggle with when trying to set goals. Sometimes these can completely disable us from setting and pursuing goals.

  • Fear that we are making our own plans and going against God‘s will
  • Prioritizing money over people in our goal setting
  • Belief that you’re not worthy to achieve those goals
  • Fear of ending up prideful and sinful when accomplishing goals

These are all legitimate concerns but the enemy can use them to paralyze us. Thankfully God has given us tools to fight fear! In an effort to stay on track, let’s just look at tools for fight the fears associated with goal setting, as mentioned above.

Practices to Diffuse the Fear

What’s the worst thing that can happen? How would you handle it? The best thing?

Think about a goal you’d like to accomplish. Then answer the question, “What’s the worst thing that could happen if I don’t achieve the goal?” For example, your goal is to move. You need to fix up your home, sell it, and purchase an affordable new home. What’s the worst thing that could happen in working towards this goal? Maybe your home doesn’t sell. So you stay in that home. No biggie! Maybe your home sells before you’re able to find a new one. So you decline the offer and wait for another buyer or stay with family or friends or in a rent home between selling your home and closing on a new one. Practically answering the question of what’s the worst that could happen calms the emotions and diffuses the panic of setting big goals.

Now answer the opposite extreme. What could happen if you do accomplish your goal?? In the example of moving, imagine God’s blessings in the move. Could He put you in your forever home? Maybe it’s a move into better school districts. Would the best thing be wonderful new neighbors as mentors, room to grow a family in a larger house, or a fixer upper in order to turn a profit?

Have a Regular “Prayer Song”

Mine is Nicole Nordeman’s “You are Holy”. Have a song that is your preferred prayer to fight fear. This is applicable to more than just fears in goal setting. Whenever I feel that pressing anxiety or fear weighing on my heart, I don’t have to think what to prayer or sing. I have a default go-to and I lose the fear in praising and worshipping the God of the universe when singing my prayer song.

Acknowledge and Accept Change

I really struggled with this when God changed our plans and kept us in our current city rather than letting us move back home. Now when setting goals, I have to mentally acknowledge that God could completely change the plans, the process, and outcome.

Next is the harder part. 😉 I have to truly accept mentally and emotionally that God might change everything. I have to daily give Him control and, even in pursuit of my goals, recognize open and shut doors. He is my Lord and He is sovereign and in control of my life. Once I can process that spiritually, failure is no longer a worry. It’s just a change of plans!

Setting God Glorifying Goals

We can even prevent some of the roadblock fears that keep us from setting goals before they hit. How? By making sure that we’re setting goals that will glorify Him. Let’s look at how to do that.

  • Prioritize people in your goals. Look at the goal. Is it just about obtaining a material item or does it prioritize a person’s well being?
  • Always be able to give glory to Him when succeeding. When you succeed and meet the goal, can you point others to Christ?
  • Set goals that make a difference to others as well as yourself. Will obtaining and crossing off the goal make a difference in someone else’s life?
  • Ask yourself if the goal matters to God? Not what man, your own ambition, or vanity would want. You need to spend some time in His word & prayer to be able to answer this.

You are made in His image. He wove you together and knows your heart. You don’t have to feel destined to mediocrity in order to be a good Christian. Christians can set goals and strive to achieve them. Spend some time in prayer as your heart processes the idea of goal setting for this year. Visualize some goals that align with scripture and point the outside world to God Almighty. Then break those larger goals into smaller chunks with action items. Continue to pray as you work toward achieving your potential! I can’t wait to hear what you accomplish for the kingdom!!

Have you struggled with goal setting before too? Have you achieved a goal before to realize Christians can set goals without forcing their own will? I’d love to hear your story! Drop a comment below.

Cheers friend!

Lauren Monsey founder of Truly Devoted to Him

To get to know me better, read about me & my saved love

The idea of setting goals can seem like we are forcing our own will. Conquer the lies and fears associated with Christian goal setting and how to follow Jesus in the process of reaching your potential.
The idea of setting goals can seem like we are forcing our own will. Conquer the lies and fears associated with Christian goal setting and how to follow Jesus in the process of reaching your potential.

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