Everyday Faith

Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for, the evidence of things not seen.
                                                                                                 Hebrews 11:1

What promise(s) has God made to you, deep in your heart, that you have not yet seen come to completion?

If you’re not sure, I encourage you to spend some concentrated time with the Lord over the next few days, asking Him to identify the desires in your heart that He has planted there. We’ll talk more about that process later this week.

Today as I contemplate Hebrews 11:1 I am reminded that God develops our faith as much in the everyday ordinariness of life as in those crisis, on our knees, face to the floor times. At least He desires to, if we allow it.

As we read on through Hebrews chapter 11 we are presented with a list of a few of God’s faithful servants. This is sometimes referred to as the “Hall of Faith”. A pattern emerges as the list unfolds. In the lives of many of these saints God made a promise but the fulfillment of the promise was a long ways off. For some their promise wasn’t even fulfilled in the his or her lifetime, but each continued to be faithful, seeking God’s direction for every step they took towards the fulfillment of the promise.

Consider Joseph. God gave him dreams as a young boy where he ruled over his family, each member bowing down to him. Joseph believed these dreams/visions were from God and yet the road his life took did not appear to be taking him toward the fulfillment of the vision. Sold as a slave by his own brothers and taken to another country, Joseph was tested, lied about and thrown in prison. But he remained faithful to the vision God gave him, trusting the path God laid out for him. Years later Joseph saw his dreams become reality as God blessed him in ways he couldn’t have imagined. (See Genesis Chapter 37 & 39-50)

tulip potential

When God plants a desire in our heart or gives us a vision He often needs time to prepare us for the reality of that promise. Rarely are we instantly ready, and were God to bring the vision to completion before we are prepared it would certainly fail. We may also be tempted to think we have reached the vision in our own abilities instead of relying on God’s strength and direction. When we trust God to lead us where He wills, looking back we will see how we have grown and developed both spiritually and practically, watching each piece falling in place.

Walking through these times is not always easy. We can be tempted to lose faith or turn from God’s path toward what seems to be an immediate reward. At times we may even question the vision God gave us, wondering if the desire is ours alone and not one planted by God. It is during those times of unrest we need to run to the scriptures and fall to our knees. As we pour our hearts, our doubts and questions out to God He will point us to scriptures that will encourage us, build us up and replace our anxiousness with His peace.

Trust Him. He is faithful to bloom in us what He has planted.

tulip potential blooming

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6

Blessings and peace as you watch God’s visions develop in you.

Paula

 

 

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Are Your Goals S.M.A.R.T. ?

So you’ve got dreams, and you want to turn them into goals and see them come to life.

But goals can be intimidating. If they’re big goals they may seem unreachable or even impossible. You may want to quit before you even get started.

This is why your goals need to be S.M.A.R.T.

Now I’m not suggesting that your goals have an IQ or that they are good or bad. S.M.A.R.T. is a formula of sorts that not only helps you reach your goals, but also determine if your goals are realistic — reachable!

Here’s the formula:

SMARTReally, this formula isn’t any different from making a “To-Do” list.

For example, when you list things you want to accomplish in a weekend most likely they meet each of these criteria.

Let’s look at them in a little more detail:

SPECIFICAnswer the six “W” Questions
*Who:      Who is involved? 
*What:     What do I want to accomplish? 
*Where:    Identify a location. 
*When:     Establish a time frame. 
*Which:    Identify requirements and constraints. 
*Why:      Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of   accomplishing the goal.

MEASURABLEEstablish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set.
Ask Yourself:
How will I know when it is accomplished?

ATTAINABLE
When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true.

You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them.

You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.

REALISTICTo be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work.

A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. 

TIME-BOUNDA goal should be grounded within a time frame.

With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency.

A “To-Do” List consists of specific tasks that can realistically be accomplished in a day, weekend, etc.

List

Grander goals usually require a longer time-period and may need a few smaller goals to reach them.

Let me share with you one of my grand goals for this year – to lose 54 pounds by the end of the year. Now we’ll break it down:

Specific – 54 pounds, or approx 1 pound/week
Measurable – Measure by weighing-in every week
Attainable – By changing eating habits and increasing exercise.
Realistic – The number fits within a healthy weight for my body-type so it is realistic.
Time-Bound – The ultimate time-frame is 12 months and the smaller time-frame is 1 pound/week or 5 pounds/month

This is not an easy goal and the big number looks very difficult to attain. Breaking it down to weekly/monthly goals makes it less intimidating and by keeping my eyes on the smaller ‘prize’ will make me more likely to stick with it.

To help me reach this huge goal I am also setting goals related to exercise, spiritual ‘fitness’ and encouragement to compliment it.

I actually believe there is a piece missing in the S.M.A.R.T. formula and think we need to make our goals S.M.A.R.T.eR

The R is for Reward

Sometimes reaching the ultimate goal is not reward enough and we need some encouragement along the way. Rewarding ourselves for sticking to the new disciplines required to reach our goals and encourage us along the way.

I have developed a goal worksheet that I use when setting goals. If you’d like a copy, comment here, or e-mail me at pauladavispeace.com. I’ll be glad to share them.

Goals can be fun to make and when they are attainable (even with some hard work sometimes) we are more likely to find success.

What are your goals for the year? Share them here, or at my author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pauladavispeace

There I will provide tips for sticking with our goals and encouragement that I find along the way.  Together we can accomplish our goals and bring more peace to our puzzle called life.

blessings & peace to you!
Paula