I’m a big goal setter. I dream and make plans and, without a doubt, always have expectations. This can be a positive feature, while also being one I wish I could tie to a kite and set free on a windy day. It isn’t a habit to keep or break. It’s how I’m wired. It’s how I function.
My issue with goals is that, a lot of the time, I decide what is best for me (and others) before the day even begins. I am so sure of what needs to happen to bring satisfaction. If plans begin to go awry, my initial thought isn’t, “Would another way be better?” It’s “Get back to the plan. Don’t mess up the plan.” I’m so focused on the end result, I miss everything I can learn along the way. My sole motive becomes to accomplish A, B and C. It becomes about proving what I can complete. It has little to do with being in close connection with God.
For the past few months, I’ve been consumed with finding my purpose. What am I meant to do with my life? I know what I love — what makes my heart pound — but what exactly does it all look like? In prayer, I’ve been asking a lot of questions about finding my purpose.
Then the last five days happened. I had the chance to attend the BELONG tour in Dallas and hear some incredible, wise women speak. Maybe the message was taken differently for the thousands of women in that arena, but I kept hearing the same thing whispered: Follow Jesus. Seek him. The rest will show up.
I realized I have been trying to do so many things — things that are good and that God has given me the gift to do — with the idea of connecting with God along the way. But I haven’t been keeping him at the front of the line. I would say he is my purpose, but it was really looking like other things were my purpose while I’ve wanted him as my main cheerleader. My heart needed to be reminded of its desire to make God the goal, to make him the priority.
John, a disciple and friend of Jesus, wrote these words:
In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
— John 1:4
God gives us dreams and desires for a reason, and he is honored when we work towards those things. But it isn’t those things alone that bring long-term satisfaction. It’s God. It’s knowing him. And we know him by seeking him and by spending time with him. It’s a reminder that our day is far more satisfied by focusing on him more than our goals, no matter how lovely.
Our dreams and goals and plans are our legs — good, useful, and helpful tools to make us feel strong. These grand plans of ours, though — they’ll leave us unsatisfied every time when our hearts are left wanting. When our hearts are so thirsty, like the woman at the well, or we don’t even see our hearts being the issue, like the paralytic man, we are left amazed to see that our heart’s satisfaction is what we’ve been after all along.