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Fall is my favorite season. I love the cooler weather, the colorful leaves, and the smell of cinnamon, apples, and pumpkin pie.
But fall is also really special for me because this is the season I slowly unwind and make space for some focused reflection.
2020 has not been friendly in a lot of ways, and as much as I want a fresh start, I’m making the effort to look at where I’ve been this year and where I’m going.
A few years back I happened upon something called Powersheets while I was scrolling through Instagram. The post described Powersheets as an intentional goal planner and being the goal-setting go-getter that I am, I tapped the link and ordered my first set.
Every year since then, when Cultivate What Matters launches their new set of Powersheets planners and fun accessories, I sit down with my goal planner, my journal, and an open heart to set some goals for the coming year.
Goal Setting and the Devoted Life
Now, you maybe you’re wondering what goal-setting has to do with loving God, loving His story, and living devoted?
Here’s something I’ve noticed: We have a habit of segmenting our lives when it comes to relating with God.
Bible study, prayer, Sunday service, Lent and Advent, of course, we engage with God there.
But what about the day-to-day stuff? Do we make space to engage in relationship with God in our errand running, schedule making, and year-end reflection?
I don’t want this to sound overly religious, and I know there is a fine line.
I don’t want you feeling pressure to try harder to engage with God.
This is about trying hard or checking off boxes.
This is about recognizing that devotion and living the devoted life expands beyond our morning Bible reading time.
Our devotion is meant to be the foundation of our entire lives.
Like Paul writes to the Corinthians, whatever we do we are to do to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
And I want to offer up a different way to engage with God that maybe you haven’t experienced before and that is to make some space at the end of this year to do some reflection and some goal setting with God.
You have been uniquely gifted with talents, passions, ideas, and a story.
All of that can be used for God’s glory, and I personally find it really fun to ask God and dream with Him about where we might go together in the coming year.
Setting Goals the Devoted Way
Over the last few years, as I’ve used the Powersheets Goal Planner, I have discovered a new way to set goals that encourages me to invite God into the planning and reflection.
One thing that sets Powersheets apart from other goal-setting tools I’ve seen is that it isn’t just about setting goals and achieving them.
Powersheets gives you space and tools to uncover what actually matters to you and then make progress toward those things.
Powersheets is a long term tool meant for the slow changing of habits, mindsets, and priorities.
Before any goals are ever set, the Powersheets Goal Planner walks you through several pages of personal coaching to help you figure out what actually matters to you in this season. It gives you space to get honest and get messy and let go of the pressure to pick the “right” goals.
Frankly, I don’t think I could make a better goal planner to be a partner in my devoted life.
Because here’s the thing. Living devoted is all about staying committed, steadfast, and faithful to God.
Devotion is all about letting Him into every aspect of our lives and enjoying relationship with Him.
One of the ways we can do that is by pursuing the things that He has hardwired us to care about.
Goal setting allows us to partner with God in the things we pursue and spend out time on.
So I want to invite you to reclaim the end of the year by taking the time to sit down with God to reflect, dream, and set some goals for the coming year.
I’ve got 5 steps to help you do just that. You can do this with a blank journal, or grab my favorite Powersheets Goal Planner to guide you through the process.
5 Steps to Goal Setting the Devoted Way
The first step to goal setting is to take stock of what’s inside of you.
How are you wired? What are your passions? How do you get filled up and how do you like to pour out?
What inspires you?
Take time to notice, celebrate, and praise God for the way you’ve been created to function in this world.
This is also a good time to name any unhealthy habits or mindsets that may need to be tended to. Be mindful and prayerful about this.
Psalm 139:23-24 is a great passage to pray as you take a look inside:
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my concerns.
See if there is any offensive way in me;
lead me in the everlasting way.
2. Look Back
After you’ve taken a look inside, look backward. Examine the year or season you’re coming out of.
What went well? What didn’t? Where did you struggle? Where did you see growth? What things did you say yes or no to and how did those decisions play out?
Take time to praise God for answered prayers, opportunities, and ways you’ve experienced His abundance, provision, love, and grace.
Even if looking back you have places of regret, overwhelm, or missed opportunities, take those things before the Lord.
Confess any disobedience. Release any regret. Allow even those things to bring you closer to Him.
3. Look Outside
Now that the reflection piece is taken care of, it’s time to start noticing where you are and thinking about where you are, want to go.
The best way to do that is to simply notice who and what is around you?
What opportunities are available? Where do you see God already working that you could partner with Him? What people has God placed in your life? How can you serve or love them well? What relationships need tending to?
What skills or gifts or resources do you have that could help others?
Part of goal setting for the devoted life isn’t only about making progress in our own lives; it’s about living out our kingdom purposes as God’s children and partnering with Him as He brings His kingdom to earth.
Keeping Matthew 28:19-20 might be helpful as you look outside:
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
4. Look Up
This is my favorite part, and perhaps one that those of us who have done goal-setting in the past haven’t ever considered.
To look up in goal setting is to open conversation with God about His plans and dreams for the year.
It is to take notice of His work in your life, celebrate that, and ask Him to keep working and moving.
This is often when I ask God for a word for the year–something to define the coming months.
Making space to look up gives you an opportunity to intentionally listen for God’s voice, and to invite Him to have a voice in the goals you set.
I love what David writes in Psalm 27:8
My heart says this about you:
“Seek his face.”
Lord, I will seek your face.
Take time to seek His face and listen for His voice.
5. Look Forward
The final step in setting goals for your devoted life is to look forward.
Where do you want to be at the end of this year–physically, emotionally, spiritually?
What dreams or passions has God placed on your heart that it might be time to pursue?
What opportunities are available for you to learn, grow, connect with God, disciple others, or make those changes you’ve been wanting to make?
The possibilities here are endless.
Simply asking the question, “What do I want and where do I want to go?” and asking God, “Where do you want to lead me and what do you want to do in my life?” can help you set solid goals for your devoted life that aren’t about reaching some arbitrary accomplishment, but cultivating things that actually matter to you.
I hope that as we close out this year, you take some time to sit down, reflect, dream, and set some goals with God.
He has given us this one life.
Let’s use it all for His glory.
Don’t forget to check out the Powersheets Goal Planner!
Related: A Lesson in Prioritizing My Heart
Live in His love!