Sometimes I avoid writing just like I avoid prayer and time with the Lord. I know why I do it. I avoid these things because I’m feeling ashamed or unworthy. I avoid because I’m afraid I might not like what the Lord has to say about my wishes or my needs or my complaints.
I avoid because it’s easier than trying to change.
Do you ever do it, friend? Do you ever run like Jonah in the opposite direction? Do you hide away from the Lord like Adam and Eve and hope He won’t notice your absence?
Honestly, the last thing I felt like doing was praying this morning because I knew I had some confessing to do. The second-to-last thing I felt like doing was writing to you all because I know I’ve messed up, blown it, wasted valuable time, and squandered opportunities.
It’s the worst feeling in the world – feeling stuck – wanting to change, yet feeling like you can’t.
Last year, I set some big goals for myself, but to be honest, I only did so half-heartedly, and I failed to fully reach a few of them. I’ve always been resistant to goal-setting, a sort of inner rebellion against holding myself accountable. Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time pondering why.
Why am I, a planner by nature, so opposed to making plans for reaching specific goals?
Why do I avoid the very process that could help me when I’m feeling stuck?
As I was praying this morning, I realized there are several fears that are holding me back from my God-given success story (because He is in the business of changing lives, after all), and I wonder if they just might be holding you back, too, friend.
These three fears will keep us feeling stuck if we let them!
1. Fear of failure
If I set real, specific goals, then I’m taking the chance that I might fail, and failure is a perfectionist’s worst nightmare. We literally dream about it sometimes. The easy and safe path is to avoid setting goals at all, or to set vague goals so that we can partially achieve. What it really comes down to is an all-or-nothing mindset that fails to recognize the imperfect progress that I write about so often here.
2. Fear of self
Listen, friends, I know my own heart. I know there is this part of me that wants to achieve success so that I will look good to others. I know there is a part of me that wants success for selfish, unspiritual reasons. How do I keep fleshly pride at bay?
What if I set real, specific goals and then realize they were really my plans and not the Lord’s? I’ll have wasted all of that time, and I’ll be out of God’s will. Now, some of you may be chuckling at me at this point, but this is and has been a real fear of mine from a young age! It’s part of a perfectionist’s nature to do anything to avoid being wrong, and that plays into my spiritual life and some of yours, as well, I’m sure.
3. Fear of the hard work
If I spend time asking the Lord what He wants from me this next year, He might ask me to do things that seem way too hard! What if He asks me to uproot my entire family, or uproot our ministry, or do something really hard for a food-addicted person like me – give up sugar?!!
The truth is you and I might fail.
We might get it wrong to begin with, or we might convince ourselves the work is too difficult and give up part way through. There is no guarantee of success, no promise of perfect achievement, at least not in this lifetime.
So why take the risk?
Because the alternative is remaining stuck.
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of feeling stuck.
I’m fed up.
I’m ready for real and lasting change.
I’m determined not to let the enemy’s lies hold me down any longer because I fall short of perfection. For several years now, I’ve been writing about looking for progress, yet somewhere along the line, I fell for the lie that it’s all or nothing all over again.
And as sad as I am about that, it’s okay, it really is. It’s okay because…
Grace is what allows us to grab on to the rescue rope. Grace reminds us that when we can’t pull ourselves up, He promises not to let go. Grace teaches us to let our Father do the heavy lifting so that our burden will be light!
Those fears we have when we’re feeling stuck? They’ll still be there.
They’ll sneak back up on us late at night when we lay down to sleep. They’ll plague us when we slip back into old habits. They’ll whisper, “You can’t do it.”
The enemy of our souls seeks to devour us, but we can be protected if we’ll just put on our spiritual armor and choose to do battle in faith.
You and I? We must choose to believe the promise of God’s Word that greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. That we are more than conquerors in Christ. That even when we can’t, He can! And most importantly, that He loves us still.
He loves us still.
I don’t have all of the answers when it comes to setting goals, friend, but I know the One who does, and I trust that even if we set the wrong goals, even if we fail miserably, even if pride gets in the way, He will set us straight.
If we choose to walk hand-in-hand with Him, rather than running like Jonah or hiding like Adam and Eve, we can be confident in our direction.
Let’s get unstuck together.
P.S. If you’re ready for change that really lasts, my friend Arabah Joy has created a workshop called Grace Goals for goal setting that is biblically based (affiliate). It’s one of the things I appreciate about her most – her material is always doctrinally sound and rooted in scripture. The second-best thing I like about Arabah Joy is that she keeps her products affordable, too.
If you’re tired of feeling stuck, the first step to getting unstuck is to make a real plan for change!
Here’s what the printable Grace Goals workbook will assist you with:
- Identifying the key area God wants you to take possession of
- Setting practical, godly goals to take your promised land
- Developing a doable, personal plan for change
- Learning why grace is the enablement you need
- Recognizing and appropriating grace in your daily life
Let today be the day of your fresh start!
Sharing with: Grace and Truth