Your Goals: What You Need to Know!
Having goals and dreams is motivating and offers powerful direction. However, that motivation can quickly dissipate when you encounter snags along the way. As a goal-oriented person, I’ve learned some valuable lessons in my pursuit of my goals. In fact, chasing goals reminds me a lot of the experience I had learning to drive a stick shift.
Like many teens, I eagerly went to the DMV on my 16th birthday to get my driver’s license. And, yes, I did go home with the treasured temporary card in hand! I felt as if I’d conquered a major milestone on the road to adulthood and freedom.
I learned how to drive in my mom’s automatic station wagon, but a few years later I was forced to learn how to drive a manual transmission. It was like learning to drive all over again! There were some wildly jerky moments and more than a few full-on stalls! Those moments were frightening, discouraging, and also a little embarrassing. And the jerks and stalls made me doubt that I had it in me to master driving a stick shift.
In the process of learning to drive a manual transmission, I also discovered that there were some concerns that I’d previously never thought about when driving. Things like…
- How close was the car behind me?
- How many hills would I encounter?
- What would I do if I stalled?
Thank heavens cell phones didn’t exist back then – I can’t even imagine contending with a cell phone while negotiating a manual transmission!
Learning to drive a stick shift was stressful, but eventually I learned to not only drive a stick shift, but to actually enjoy it! For many years, it was all I wanted to drive!
So, what’s the connection between learning to drive a stick shift and chasing your goals? Well, on the way to your goals, you will experience some uncomfortable jerky moments and some stalls, just like I did when learning to navigate a stick shift. You can give up, or you can keep on going!
A few years back, I encountered a stall – literally! Long story short, on the way to a business meeting to explore a new opportunity, I got stuck on the freeway in bumper-to-bumper traffic wasn’t moving for an entire hour causing me to miss the meeting altogether. There was no visible reason for the freeway parking lot – no construction, no accident – just a sea of cars going nowhere!
I’m not going to lie and tell you that I was not disappointed – I was. I had high hopes that the meeting would get rescheduled, but that meeting never happened. It felt like that opportunity slipped right through my fingers. And, that’s not the only opportunity that never became a reality.
Yes, the process of pursing something big is brimming with stops and starts. Recently, another significant opportunity came my way that had the potential to bring me closer to achieving my goals, only to have the door closed a week later.
The good news is that God is still in control and He’s always working! He doesn’t place a dream in your heart just to tease you, but to invite you to depend on Him more and to encourage you to be more persistent, creative, and consistent. How I navigate reaching my goals it a clear indicator of how much I trust Him. Do I behave like I truly believe He knows best?
Here’s what I’ve learned in the process of pursuing my goals:
1. Stops & Starts Are Inevitable
Wouldn’t it be nice if the path to reaching a goal was an easy unobstructed straight line? It’s not! And if you set out thinking that’s how it will be, you’ll quickly be discouraged.
Instead, go into it knowing that there will be big hills and unexpected stops and stalls, just like there are when first attempting to drive stick. It’s all a part of the process of learning something new. And while it seems like the rough ride will never end, it all does get easier as you learn and grow.
Don’t let the potential stops and starts keep you from getting started!
2. The Process is Preparation
It’s rare to start out fully prepared when pursuing a big goal or dream. You will have to gain some new skills, knowledge, experiences, and ways of thinking in order to reach your goals. Those erratic, jerky moments are fantastic learning opportunities that have the power to prepare you for more if you let them.
On the other hand, resisting the potential preparation in the jerky moments is counterproductive. It leads to bad habits, negative mindsets, and a whole lot of frustration. Not to mention reinforcing your fears.
3. Goals Test Your Commitment
Chasing an easy goal or dream – anyone can do that! However, chasing something big – that’s a bit more difficult! The stops and starts test just how committed you are to your goal. Are you willing to persevere, overcome, and wait in the process? Do you trust God to make the dream or goal He’s given you a reality? Are you willing to put in the effort needed to remain committed? If you answered yes, then you are committed!
4. Goals Remind You Who’s in Control
If what you are pursuing is a dream or goal that God has placed in your heart, most likely it is something that is too big for you to make happen on your own.
When I was attempting to learn to drive a stick shift, there were many times where I felt out of control like when I was rolling backwards on a hill or stalled out blocking traffic. It felt unsafe and risky. And there will be similar experiences when you are attempting to reach a big goal or dream. Times where you must trust God.
5. Pursuing Goals Makes Them Bigger!
Each time I set a goal and then reach it, I have more confidence to setting an even bigger goal. When I look back, I’m amazed at what I’ve been able to accomplish! I think it’s God’s mercy that He doesn’t show me the full picture up front – I might never get started! He knows what’s a stretch for me right now. And He knows that as I keep growing and trusting Him more, I will be ready for a slightly bigger goal, and a much bigger goal in time.
6. Goals Allow You to Experience God’s Love
It’s easy to sense God’s love when everything is going well, but what about when the process gets jerky or you stall?
Thankfully, God’s love is not conditional. He loves me when I am brimming with excitement just as much as He does when I am consumed by discouragement. He’s with me! He’s faced hard stuff too!
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing – nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable – absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8:37-39 (MSG)
Initially, driving stick was quite nerve wracking, but over time it became a whole lot of fun! The challenges remained the same, I just became more adept at navigating them. I’ve discovered that I’m navigating my goals with greater ease too!
When it comes to pursuing your goals and dreams, how are you handling those unfortunate jerky moments that are inevitable when you attempt something new? Do you chicken out before you ever get started because it all seems too hard? Or do you get started only to stall out and stay stuck, never to start the engine back up?
Hopefully, you push through the challenges and learn, grow, and ultimately reach your goal! And you never know – as you get better at navigating the process, you might even find you enjoy it like I discovered driving stick was fun!
What big goal or dream are you currently chasing? What have you discovered along the way?