Did you set big goals for 2018? 

If you did, how flexible are they?

Most life coaches and other experts on the subject would probably argue that effective goals are not meant to be flexible. However, that is not necessarily true. Consider what Proverbs 16:9 has to say about the subject:

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

The truth is that we can make plans and set goals, but we are planning with very limited information. God, however, has the advantage of knowing the big picture and how He has designed everything to work together. In fact, Psalm 139:16 states:

… all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Likewise, Romans 8:28 reminds us:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

So, what are we to do when our goals collide with God’s plan?

Let’s look at a few examples from God’s Word:


Genesis 6–10 tells the story of Noah. In summary, God sees the wickedness of man and regrets the fact that He ever created him in the first place. As a result, God decides He will destroy all the flesh of the earth. However, Noah finds favor in God’s eyes. Because of this, God gives Noah instructions for building an ark and gathering the living things that will be spared. Genesis 6:22 tells us how Noah reacted to God’s unconventional request. It states:

Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.

Not only was God asking Noah to take a huge detour from his plans, but He was also asking him to embrace a radical change to everything he knew and even understood. Yet, we don’t read about Noah arguing or bargaining with God. Instead, it says that he did ALL that God had commanded him. What would the results have been if Noah had decided to go his own way and stick to his goals instead of following God?


Luke 1 tells the story of Mary receiving news that she would conceive and bear the Son of God. This news is delivered by the angel Gabriel, and as you can imagine, Mary is quite confused, especially since she is a virgin. To make things even more complicated, she is betrothed to Joseph and has no idea how he will react. However, Luke 1:38 records the following response by Mary:

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

Once again, God was asking Mary to embrace a radical deviation from her plans. In fact, Mary was placing her reputation and her entire future in God’s hands. What would have happened if she wouldn’t have been willing to align her goals with God’s?

An Impossible Task

In both of these cases, it would have been impossible to predict or plan for what God would ask of these faithful followers because His plan was far beyond what they could ever imagine. However, their willingness to make a radical U-turn made a huge difference not only in their lives but also in the lives of generations to come.

Sometimes God asks us to deviate from our goals and plans without any explanation. Many times, these changes are unsettling and don’t make sense to us. It’s at those very times that we need to draw close to God, pray, and hold fast to verses like these:

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5–6)

Time for Reflection

Let’s take some time this week to examine our goals with eternal lenses and see if there might be an area or two where God might be calling us to make some adjustments. Most of all, let’s be willing to follow the path God has established for us… wherever that might lead.


Visit Dawn at DawnBensonJones.com.

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