Purposes, purposes and more purposes talk can sometimes seem overwhelming. What are you designed to do? What is your God-given purpose on this earth? What are you going to do about that? Does just asking that question cause you to cringe, duck and run and hide?
Like thousands of others I started out 2013 with a list that would stagger a giant. Some people call them resolutions. I don’t like that term. I almost always fail at resolutions.
Goals, however, are different for me. Goals I’ll do, even if they kill me.
Goals, goals and more goals
On January 1, 2013, I set some big goals. They included writing 6,000 words a week on a book I hadn’t even outlined yet, writing two blog posts a week when I was barely doing one, journaling daily when I was doing it maybe once every two weeks, reading a book a week even though I had slowed down to one a month, daily Bible reading when I was also doing major Bible study several times a week.
In addition, I added all the things I was already doing with the goals I was already accomplishing. My head hurt just thinking about everything much less doing it.
All of these goals are awesome but I realized one big thing—doing daily, weekly and monthly goals do not work for me. Yes, I’m good at them but they don’t work.
Seeing lists of lots of goal overwhelms me. I get a lot done but if it is in specific goal form it boxes me in and frustrates me. Then, when things come up and I don’t get the goal done for that day, I’m already behind. If something else happens to deter the next day’s goal, I’m doubly frustrated and so on.
Did you just hear the sound of brakes screeching to a dead stop? Yeah, that’s what happens.
Facts, facts and more facts
The Kolbe score shows I am a detail fact finder. The final page of the score told me something that really threw me for a loop. It said I should plan my day by what I am NOT going to do. I read that several weeks ago and didn’t understand it until now.
My personality always wants to know specifics. Specifics, though, can really bog me down if they are details I don’t need to know.
For instance, when I hear someone ask a question, I have to find the answer. I will search the internet for hours to find one tidbit of information. I will try to “help” someone else discover information that might be helpful to them. What it does, though, is clog up my brain.
This quality that I can use to my great advantage when I am writing can also be used to misdirect me. I can’t even blame it on the devil because I do it to myself. Recognizing the problem is the first step towards any solution.
Here’s a list that won’t overwhelm me. What I’m not going to do:
• Spend hours chasing trivial information just to satisfy my curiosity.
• Spend hours trying to read everything the over 1,600 people I’ve friended on Facebook have to say.
• Spend hours learning how to do everything I think I need to do.
• Try to think for everyone else instead of letting them do it themselves.
• Stop enabling others to not think for themselves.
• Stop telling others what to do.
• Stop neglecting the things I don’t like to do such as bookkeeping duties for my business.
• Stop second guessing God about how He is going to work out everyone’s, especially my children’s, lives.
• Stop trying to figure out how circumstances will work out.
• Stop doing everyone else’s job.
• Stop thinking I have to be in charge of every group or meeting I am a part of.
• Stop thinking I have to be involved in every awesome cause.
• Stop trying to know everything about every subject I write about.
• Stop believing I have to be perfect.
Just writing this list was extremely freeing to me. If you are a controller, nitpicker, fact finder, specifics gatherer, I’m sure your brain is as overwhelmed as mine tends to be. It is at times so full, it can’t have one other thought or idea added or it will explode. It needs some things taken away; some things it doesn’t have to do.
God, God and more God
Learning for me always comes in threes. The third point for me, should have been the first point. What does God want me to do?
I know the overarching purposes He has designed for my life. The main purpose, though, is to glorify Him. My main purpose is to in all my ways acknowledge Him and He will direct my paths.
The first and foremost goal always is communion with Him. When I put Him first, He allows everything else to fall in place. The key, though, is putting Him first and allowing Him to direct my day.
I’m not saying I don’t have things planned for each day. However, knowing my purpose and my destiny should also direct my day. I do have goals now but I’ve learned to hold them loosely. The most important thing is not a goal but my supreme purpose. That is to put God first above all else.
Can I give you a piece of advice? If this piece of advice overwhelms you, then by all means don’t do it. My advice, though, is write a list of what you are not going to do. These should be things you currently do but know they are stealing time away from your main focus.
Then, write a list of your purposes. That might be a shorter list. For each of your purposes, write one or two goals or things you know you want to do. Make those pretty specific. It helps to have a direction towards which you are headed. It also helps to know when a side trip is in order.
The final thing I have to say is not a suggestion. It is the vital piece to all of this. Offer all of your lists to God and leave them there.
Then, go do what you were designed to do.
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (The Message)