On Goals & Grace

When you look back on 2010, do you have any regrets?

I doubt a person anywhere reading this post could honestly answer “no”.

As I closed the book on this past year, I let my mind meander back over what I’d hoped would happen over the past 12 months.

Here were some of my goals:

  1. Lose the last of the weight I regained to get back down to my goal weight.
  2. Get my address book  in order, transferring all the sticky notes, return address labels from off of Christmas cards and business cards into a book or onto my computer.
  3. Re-organize my office closet.
  4. Re-organize the basement storage.
  5. Memorize & recite the entire book of James on Christmas morning for an audience of only Jesus.
  6. Write a bit each week in the beautiful, brown leather journal my daughter Kenna gave me for my birthday.
  7. Send every Facebook friend a birthday greeting on their special day.
  8. Not be so controlling with my kids & hubby.
  9. Sell a bunch of homeschool books on Ebay.
  10. Write a blog post every  Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
  11. Slow down and savor the everyday moments with my boys since they too, like their sister, will someday move away.
  12. Pray more.
  13. Worry less.
  14. Learn how to really “speak the truth in love” instead of assuming the loving thing is to not speak at all (what I do with friends) or on the other extreme, bark out the truth in an unloving matter (what I do with my family.)
  15. Read my Bible everyday, not out of legalistic duty, but out of love.

Some of these goals were met (like 3,4, 9 & 10).

Others were partially completed (numbers 1, 5,7, 8, 14 & 15).

And some sat entirely untouched ( Number 6 and…Hello?— #2 has been my goal for the last 5 years!!)

And a the rest of these goals (11, 12 &13) were hard to measure, but I did see baby steps of progress.

When I entered the fitness center last week (where I was working on goal #1, as always!) I spied a new message scrawled up on the white board in the front of the gym.

Goals are funny things. They don’t work unless you do.

Ouch!

For many of my unreached goals, this statement screams the truth. We make goals and then close our eyes and wish real hard that they would be realized. I know this is certainly the case with me at times.

But the truth of this statement was tempered for me with during worship this week. My pastor, unpacking Romans 8, hammered home the difference between the concepts of conviction & condemnation.

Our regrets and sins and shortcomings, whether minuscule or grand, should result in conviction to change.

If we are followers of Christ, however, they should never result in condemnation. We don’t have to be condemned (a guilty sentence). Jesus already paid our penalty.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  Romans 8:1

So my missed goals, besetting sins and reoccurring habits should drive me to Jesus for help.

Yes, I must work at them to the best of my ability.

But I must also rivet my mind on the fact that any positive results should be credited to God, not me.

And, most importantly, that goals must always be tempered with grace.

I cannot beat myself up over the fact that I still have 30 pounds to lose.

I should instead be grateful that I’ve kept off over 70 of the original 100 pounds I lost!

I should not feel like a complete failure that my memorization plan didn’t go off without a hitch.

I should sense Jesus smiling that, on Christmas morning, I made it into chapter 4 of a 5 chapter book.

I can keep plugging away. There’s always Valentines Day to give my gift to God!

What about you?

Do you have 2010 regrets too?

What are they?

Will you enter 2011 determined to work at your goals with even more vigor, even if you goal is over 5 years old & yet still unreached?

And yet, sweet sister, will you also give yourself grace with your regrets?

Here is a 2 1/2 minute video clip, shown in our worship service, that will help you gain a fresh perspective on your regrets. (Once you click the link, you’ll have to click “play a preview” to view it. Don’t forget to come back here! Here is the link.)

As we start 2011 together as cyber friends, let’s pinky promise that we’ll give ourselves, and each other, grace.

Oh, and about that losing weight goal that is ever so popular, stay tuned for a special guest later this week and an opportunity for you to do something about that seemingly evasive goal.

Oh, and there will be a Get Organized in 2011 giveaway too you won’t want to miss.

So, I’ll see you here this  (and every)  Monday, Wednesday & Friday.

Unless of course you are off working on your goals or living your priorities.

Then you may be excused. :-)

Oh, I love our cyber circle of friends!

Goals & Grace Blessings,

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  • I have 40 goals this year :) It’s okay – they aren’t all huge – some are small, some serious, some fun… but all things I’d like to do before I turn 40. I’ve been goal-less for too long – I had to get pretty specific, otherwise I’d just glide through another year.

  • Thanks for what you wrote and the video clip…I don’t normally get teary but it really spoke to me. I regret not being more honest with my own feelings and needs, and am working on that to strengthen my marriage and our family. Thanks for the encouragement. And, I just started reading the book of James yesterday with my daughter–love it!

  • Thanks Karen for reminding me that I need to actually work on my goals. My goal is to loose the last 8 kilos to get to my goal weight. Often I say I am going to work on it and let God guide me but use that as an excuse to be lazy, expecting that God will miraculously make all the weight fall off without any effort on my part!! :-) (Not saying that He can’t but then I wouldn’t learn anything and I think that is the idea.) Have a great year. xo

  • Thanks for the post today. Great job on keeping off the 70 pounds. I want to be a finisher this year. I start off strong on so many things and then set them aside and never get back to them. I want to grow closer to the Lord this year and to walk more faithfully in obedience to Him.

  • I have things I am proud of from 2010, but more regrets. That seems to always be the case. I thought several times over the holidays if I would find myself in the same place at the end of 2011 as I did in 2010, 2009…etc.

    I so desparately want to not be the same, but it seems I start off the beginning of every year wanting things to be different, but unfortunately find that they are not. I’m not trying to be a downer, I’m just being honest. I’ll be praying for perspective.
    Danette

  • Thanks for the encouragement and the link. God is truly amazing. I am going to set some goals instead of resolutions and prayerfully ask God for his grace and mercy so that I can pursue them. Looking forward to your weekly posts.

  • I was so glad to see that you saw keeping your other 70 pounds off as a success. It really is. I know you will lose the 30 you want to, especially since we are all reading Made to Crave..ha,ha. I think I am timid to make a goal for this year, I will take it one day at a time and try to eat healthy and lose the 30 I have needed to lose for 10 years, be nice to my hubby and spend time with God!

  • Our family goal in 2010 was to read through the Bible in a year. Turns out that getting four people with 4 schedules into a room to read aloud was more challenging than we thought.

    The good news is that we finished the Old Testament in a year! 2011 is now our New Testament year. I think that’s an easier goal anyway. :)

  • Thanks for your wonderful post today. For the past 3 years, my goal has been to write cards to other people to tell them I’m praying for them, thinking of them, to encourage them, etc. The word that I am focusing on this year is “grace.” To remember and accept God’s grace and also to show other’s His continuing grace. Thanks for sharing your wisdom, can’t wait to see what you have in store for us, and Happy New Year! Blessings.

  • Karen — Thanks for your encouragement and the video, too. I have many regrets, but it’s so good to know I can consider them forgiven. They do not have to define who I am. I can turn a corner and God’s grace and mercy can send me in a new direction right NOW!! KK

  • I have but two goals to accomplish this year.
    Live healthier (read: lose weight)
    FINALLY declutter and organize my house. I am definitely drowning in clutter and anxious to swim my way out of the mess. I’m not really sure how, so I’m always on the lookout for books to read, blogs to follow, and friends to hit up for advice. I long for that organized, everything-has-a-home, easy to maintain house that I hear so much about and visit often in someone else’s home. Any advice would be so nice. Prayers, even better. :)

  • Thanks for your encouragement today! Its just what I needed! I was just thinking about my regrets/unmet goals. i too struggle with picking fights with my husband or just not really liking him! i want to work on that. i am feeling resentful of not taking more time to focus on me! and on God/ Thanks for all you do! Looking forward to what you have to say about getting organized in 2011!

  • i didn’t write down goals from last year, but the thing in the video that hit a nerve was not spending time with God but somehow not missing my favorite TV show…my big goal for this year is to be consistant in my time with God…and i believe that will have a positive impact on everything else (except maybe organizing my office :-) )thanks for your encouragement Karen!

  • Thanks for the encouragement this morning.

    It feels like I have so many regrets for last year – chief among them the constant fights I seem to pick with my husband and the bitterness I struggle with for his family. Praise God that his mercies are new every morning and every year. May 2011 be the year I learn to submit to God and pray a lot more than I talk!

  • Loved your blog and it really made me stop and think. I also loved your link!! I am really going to ponder my goals from last year and be seriouis and then ponder what I want my goals for this year to be and not be upset if I don’t make them!!!! Thank You

  • I was just wondering the other day about your memorization goal! Wow! My brain has been so scattered lately that I’d be lucky to memorize four verses!

    Regrets? Lack of weightloss, lack of consistency with my boys and their school and home responsibilities.

    Celebrations? I made progress toward healing by returning to counseling. I blogged encouraging posts consistently. My hubs and I are on a positive path with our finances.

    Goals for 2011? Lose the weight by craving God more than food. Spend daily time with Jesus. Submit more articles, book proposals, and devos. Nightly check boys’ school progress. Hug and kiss and pray for my sweetie more.