Have you ever wondered how to align your goals and desires with God? If we believe that God is the author of our lives, who are we to set goals or dream big? Indeed, the Bible warns us about selfish ambition and trusting our hearts. But are our desires and faith mutually exclusive?
The inner battle for control.
We all struggle with the desire for what God has forbidden, and we also want to be God. So it makes sense that we have good reason to feel untrustworthy when it comes to going after what we want. Look at how that turned out for Adam and Eve! If you have been around this earth any length of time, I imagine you can recount at least one experience where you foolishly followed your heart or fleshly desires, and it got you into trouble. God’s plans are GOOD, and we want to walk according to His will. But what about having big dreams and goals?
God created us to desire.
We love because He loved us first. He wants a relationship with us and for us to desire Him. We are created to desire! Having dreams and goals are not innately selfish or wrong. Part of our human nature is to desire – even from birth. Instinctively, we yearn to be loved, fed, and comforted. God imprinted our purpose on our hearts – we are driven to fulfill it. The problem comes when we are out of alignment with God’s best for us.
Ask a better question.
The question we need to ask ourselves is, “Is what I want right?” And ask with a humble heart, not seeking for God to bless our plans, but rather, “Is this in alignment with what God wants for me? Am I following His will?” Sometimes we need to take a moment and check ourselves, “Why do I want this?” “Do I desire it more than God?” I imagine, for most of us, this takes a lot of humility when our hearts are not fully set on God.
Re-align your goals.
To ensure your goals are in alignment with God’s will, step through this process:
- Awareness. What am I desiring? Do my goals align with who I am in Christ? Does it bring Him glory, or is it only for my recognition and praise?
- Mindset. If you find your goals are mainly serving your ego or misaligned with God’s word, ask Him to renew your perspective.
- Prioritize. When He commands us to seek the kingdom first, He asks us to put first things first. This implies having clarity about what matters most in the big picture of life and then adjusting your priorities to move in that direction.
As believers, our overarching desire is for God. To truly seek His kingdom first and want his will to be done, we must be willing to believe and act on the prompting of the Holy Spirit. We pray to seek alignment with Him, not to ask Him to bless what WE have deemed. (There is a difference!) Hebrews 4:16 assures us that we can boldly approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Because of Jesus, we can ask for what we need without fear.
Seek alignment with the ultimate source- God.
It’s not wrong to desire happiness – only to seek it from sources other than God. It’s on us to be responsible for our own life because we will give an account of it one day. We need to reach that place where we lay down the burdens that don’t belong to us and start walking in fulfillment of our God-given purpose. So, how do we do that?
How to walk in fulfillment of your God-given purpose.
- Visualize: Affirm your identity in Christ. What does God say about you? What is He calling you to do, and what matters MOST to you in alignment with how God is calling you? With a clear acceptance of who you are in Christ, visualize what living in alignment with God would look like for you. This is what I call your “Guiding Light Goal.” It’s the vision statement for your life by which everything else is aligned.
- Assess: Once you have your life vision, look at the major areas of your life: finances, relationships, physical space, physical health, spiritual growth, career, recreation & fun, and romance. Which area needs the most attention right now? If you felt God calling you to a new assignment, what would be your biggest stronghold keeping you back? THAT’S where you begin.
- Pray for God to teach you how to want rightly and live in alignment with His will. Surrender your plans and release your attachments and expectations. Ask God for guidance and step out in the faith, confident that if it’s not in the right direction, He will help us course-correct.
- Take Action: What is the first thing you can do immediately toward that goal? What’s the first baby step to raise that area of life up? Maybe it’s making a phone call, a doctor’s appointment, a reconciliation, or asking for help? Perhaps, it’s blocking out time on the calendar to sit and create your life vision?
It’s not wrong to want or desire.
God created us with desires. He imprinted them on our hearts. Therefore, it’s not wrong to set goals and have ambition. The problem is when we put our hope in anything other than Jesus. So do a little heart check this week. See what’s coming to the surface for you. Listen for the Holy Spirit nudge. Trust that whatever you write down as your goal when offered up with a surrendered heart, He will guide you through it, or He will change your course.
If you’d like to spend more time working on finding clarity and re-prioritizing your life, I have a free resource for you called the Clarity Guide that walks you through the process I outlined briefly here.
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Was this article helpful to you? I’d love to hear more about your dreams and goals in the comments below.