Heidi: Welcome, everyone. Heidi Howerton is here with Jani Ortlund and, as you know, today is Part 2 on a series we are currently working through on Living Your Life With Godly Intention and Holy Purpose.
A Quick Review from Part 1
Heidi: We’re talking about setting lifelong goals asking the Lord, “Lord, in my life, what do you want me to accomplish? How can I /ping a smile to your face? What dreams have you put just inside my heart for me to pursue for your glory?” And so, in our last episode, we introduced lifelong goals, and, oh, we hope that you have written some down. Today we wanted to talk about that a little bit more.
Jani: Thank you, Heidi. I want to wish you a Happy New Year, too! We felt it was so important during this very first episode of the new year to talk about this with you. We hope you were able to complete your assignment. If not, don’t worry. We’re very forgiving, aren’t we, Heidi?
Jani: As Heidi mentioned, we began talking in our last episode about living our lives with purpose and holy intentionality because we are daughters of the King of the universe. We’re royalty and we can live our life in noble ways. We looked at several verses, one of the passages we looked at was from Ephesians 5.
Heidi: Here it is, Jani. Ephesians 5:15-17:
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”Ephesians 5:15-17
Jani: So we encouraged us all to be asking, “God, what is your will for me? Help me to understand what the will of the Lord is in my own individual walk with you, Lord. What does that mean? Help me.”
Jani: And then we gave you an assignment. We do hope as Heidi said that you were able to think about this and pray about it a little bit. Maybe in that week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, we wanted you to think about your long-term, lifetime goals. And we asked you to even write down 5 to 10.
Jani: Your assignment was to ask yourself, “What do I dream about? What drives me? What thrills me? What excites me? What makes me salivate?” We wanted you to ask yourself, “Lord, why did you make me? Why did you put me in this time in history in this particular country, surrounded by these specific people? God, how do you want to use me for your kingdom purposes in my lifetime?” and really go deep into prayer asking God those questions. We asked you to think and pray about your own lifetime goals. When you come to the end of your life, what do you want to look back on? And then we asked you to try to write out 5 to 10 lifetime goals. Oh, we hope that you were able to.
Jani: We also want to remind you that all of your goals, each and every one of them should be measurable. You can measure it, you can quantify it. It should be sustainable. It’s reasonable, you can attain to it and it should be stimulating. It’s energizing to you, measurable, sustainable and stimulating.
New for Today: “If God Wills”
Jani: Now, today we also want to remind you that every single life goal that we’ve written needs to be under the um/pella of these words: if God wills. If God wills. Write that in capital letters on the top of your page where you’ve written your lifetime goals.
Jani: Heidi, read some of these verses we’ve addressed about the Lord directing our way.
Heidi: This first one here Jani is one I’ve actually been meditating on the past few weeks. It’s one of my favorite verses, Psalm 138:8. It says, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me…” Oh, I love that, Jani, that God calls us, I think, to write goals and think about how to discern what’s pleasing to him, but I love that he makes this promise: that he will fulfill his purpose to me—that it’s not all up to me, but God is faithful to accomplish his will in my life. Oh, I love that.
Heidi: I also think of Job 23:14, “For he will complete what he appoints for me…” and Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” It makes me think if God wills it, he will be faithful to complete it in my life.
Jani: Yes, if God wills it.
On Writing Lifetime Goals
Jani: Some of you are wondering how Heidi and I ever got on to writing lifetime goals. And so today, what we want to spend the rest of our time together with is sharing an experience I had and then also sharing some of our own goals and talking about how to make them more actionable. Then we want to close in prayer.
Jani: It was way long in the dark ages, way long ago in 1975! Most of you weren’t born yet, but I was sitting on the couch with my dear mother-in-law Ann Ortlund. I had been married for four years, and we were spending Christmas at their home in Pasadena. I had just miscarried our first baby and was struggling with a lot of things, and Mom was going through a spiritual renewal in her own life. She said, “Jani, I want to share something with you, could I?” And I said, “Of course, Mom, I always love to hear what you have to share.” And we sat down on her couch in their living room there in Pasadena, and she said, “The Lord has helped me to see that I need to write out lifetime goals for how I’m going to live for him and I just thought I’de share mine with you.”
Jani: Mom walked me through her goals and told me why she did it and how she did it. And I left that evening thinking, “My goodness, I had always admired Mom, and I wanted my life to be an imitation of hers. I wanted my life to imitate hers as she imitates Christ.” I was very stimulated by that conversation, and so I went up to my room, got out my notebook, took a page out and prayed over and worked through my own lifetime goals. I thought it might be helpful for me to share some of them with you right now, and then I’m gonna ask Heidi to share some of hers. Then we’re going to talk about how to /ping our lifetime goals down into our day-to-day lives.
Jani’s Lifetime Goals
Jani: So here are a few of my lifetime goals that I wrote way back in 1975 and I’m still trying to hold to them today.
Goal: Seek the Lord in Daily Quiet Times
Jani: One is to abandon myself in seeking to know God through daily quiet times with him. Oh, I’m so glad for that goal. Nearly every day of my life I’m able to get up and spend time with the Lord. It has been so rich, so deep, so helpful. That’s a goal that I would encourage everyone to think about having. having.
Goal: Be a Lifelong Student (and eventual Teacher) of the Bible
Jani: Here’s another one. This was in 1975. I was just beginning to teach ladies Bible studies. It was to make a lifelong study of the Bible and eventually be able to teach it to other women. And the Lord has helped fulfill that goal. He still is, even to this day.
Goal: To Love, Respect, and Submit to my Husband
Jani: Now, here’s one that might raise a few hackles—we’ll see—but it’s been my goal, and the Lord has helped me to stick to it these years: to love, respect and to submit to Bud —that was Ray’s name; he was a junior so we called him Bud—to love, respect and submit to Bud in such a way as to /ping glory to God and the body of Christ. And the Lord has helped me to do that, I’m really grateful.
Goal: Children, Family and Home
Jani: I had one here about raising children. I didn’t have any yet, but I really wanted to. I had one about being a wise, efficient and happy homemaker from Proverbs 31.
Goal: Beauty Inside and Out
Jani: Here’s one that has really helped me through the years: to keep myself trim, attractive and appealing to Bud in my clothes, weight, hair, personality and intellect. Notice I put intellect last. I think Ray would have wanted me to put that first, but that’s been helpful to me year to year as I come back to that and I think through it. Well, you see, you get the gist.
Goal: Write 5 Books Before I Die
Jani: My final goal, which I added in 2011 was to write five books before I die. I had already written two—Fearlessly Feminine and His Loving Law, Our Lasting Legacy—and a third one which I finished now, it’s a children’s book on marriage called A Child’s First Book About Marriage: God’s Way Is Always Best. And now I’m working on my 4th one, it’s called Help! I’m Married to My Pastor, on being a pastor’s wife. I don’t think I would have written those if I hadn’t clearly prayed about it. Ask the Lord, “Is this how you want me to spend my time and energies?”
Heidi’s Lifetime Goals
Jani: I wonder, Heidi, I’ve shared some of mine, would you be willing to share some of your lifetime goals?
Heidi: I will, Jani. I think so many of them reflect some of yours because it was in your discipleship group that I first heard about lifelong goals. And so I’ll share some of mine with you all.
Heidi: The first one is to grow in my knowledge of the Lord and delight in his presence more year by year and it goes along with my second one that says to make a lifelong study of the Bible, have its words overflow from my heart and teach it to others. For me that really hits on Scripture meditation. I want to know the Bible so well that when I’m in a conversation, it just comes out of my heart.
Heidi: This is one of my favorite ones. I don’t know how measurable it is, but it’s to cherish my husband and children and give them my best. That’s helpful as I make different decisions day to day and month to month asking, “In this situation, what will allow me to give Mike and my kids my best?” It helps me know what to say yes to and what to say no to, because I want to give them my best.
Heidi: I also have to raise three or more children that love Jesus, repentant and forgive, obey, have self-control, work hard, and delight in the goodness of God. That one can only be accomplished through the Holy Spirit’s help as we raise them.
Jani: I like that one, Heidi, it’s very specific. I like all your goals, but I love that instead of just saying, “To raise three or more godly children,” you wrote down what character traits you’re working on with them. You thought it through.
Heidi: Yes, that was helpful. I like this one, too. It’s to disciple my children, teach them how to spend time with God and grow in their relationship with him. I love to disciple other women and I want to make sure before the kids leave the house that I have set aside time to really pour in and disciple them so they’re equipped with the things that the Lord has given me. When they are on their own, they know how to spend time in God’s Word and how to pray.
Heidi: I’ll share one more with you. It’s to create a home that is safe, welcoming and life-giving, where my family and others can experience the beauty of Christ and the gift that is family. When people walk into my house, I want them to feel the Holy Spirit’s presence and that they’re safe and welcome and loved. So those are just a few of my lifelong goals, Jani.
Jani: That’s great, Heidi. Oh, may the Lord help you to fulfill those. They are wonderful.
Jani: Well, I wonder what some of your goals are, dear Listener? I wonder what you’ve written down. Are they measurable? Are they sustainable? Do they /ping you joy when you think about it?
Making Lifetime Goals Actionable
Jani: Now you want to take those lifetime goals and not just keep them in your notebook or post them on your wall somewhere. You want to make them actionable for this year. Heidi, you’ve just shared with us your lifetime goals. Now, before I do, I’d like to ask you to share with our listeners how you make those lifetime goals actionable in your year to year life, in your week to week life with your family. Could you share with us a little bit? I know you’re very devoted to following Christ and you try to work through all of your goals, but share with our listeners how you might take a lifetime goal and make it actionable. Do that for two or three of your goals for us, would you?
Heidi’s Process (Monthly)
Heidi: Okay, so I do it on a monthly basis, Jani. As I read some of my goals, I’m sure you can hear the categories. I have goals about my relationship with the Lord or I have goals about my marriage and my motherhood. And so, at the beginning of every month, I sit down and I think about that category.
Heidi: For instance, my relationship with the Lord. What is something that I can do this month to draw closer to Jesus? So, for example, Scripture meditation. I want scripture to overflow from my heart, but I need a goal for the month of saying, “Pick a verse to meditate on and write it on three note cards.” At the beginning of every month, I’ll think, “What do I want to focus on this month in my relationship with the Lord?” Maybe it’s Scripture meditation, or “Oh, I’m a few days behind in my Bible reading, and I really want to focus on being able to read all of the Bible this year. So let me catch up on those days.”
Heidi: Or you can take another one of my categories. I didn’t share this goal, but it’s my health, and it’s to take care of the body that the Lord has blessed me with. And so I’ll think about that category: “What’s something in the month of January that I can do to focus on my health?” I’ll write down run three times per week, and I have that on a paper, and I put it by my calendar. And then as we go through the month, I’ll really make an effort with that specific goal that I wrote down for that category.
Jani: Thank you, Heidi. That’s very helpful.
Jani’s Process (Yearly/Quarterly)
Heidi: Tell me what you do, Jani. How do you work out your lifelong goals into the year?
Jani: What I do is at the beginning of each year I look at my lifetime goals and I write out goals for that year. For instance, for 2020, in order to fulfill my lifetime goal of abandoning myself in daily quiet times with the Lord, my year goal is to read through the Bible in 2020.
Jani: In order to make a lifelong study of the word and be able to teach it to others, this is kind of crazy and you all are going to have to hold me accountable for this but I have a goal of memorizing the book of Colossians. A Christian /pother has challenged me to do this, and I’m enjoying it so far. So by the end of 2020 I want to have the book of Colossians memorized.
Jani: As far as my goal to be a wise, efficient and happy homemaker, we’ve added an addition to our house for Ray to have his study at home now, and that means I have to redo my own office. I have to get it painted and have to get some new furniture. So I want that completed by the end of 2020, hopefully before.
Jani: One other goal is to submit to Ray in this way: he wants me to get a new computer. I’m fighting it because I love my old, heavy, over-filled computer. Heidi is laughing because she knows how bad by computer is, and she wants to get me a new one, too. And if I weren’t married, I wouldn’t get a new one. But it’s a way that I can say, “I honor you, Ray. I respect your opinion, and I understand that in the long run it will be better for me. I just don’t like the process.”
Jani: So those are some of my my goals for 2020. So what do I do next? I visit my goals quarterly rather than monthly, as you do, Heidi. It’s just the way I do it. So I write goals for the next three months.
Jani: What are they? Well, my first one is: Memorize Colossians Chapter 1:1-2:15. It’s very measurable. I will know if I make it or not. The second one is to get my study painted and to get a new rug for it by the end of March. The third one is to begin my work on my next book, which is called To The Tenth Generation, it’s on building a Christian family. So those are three goals that I want to see started or finished by the end of March.
Jani: Hopefully, listener, you can see how, after you write your lifetime goals, you want to /peak it down into yearly goals. Then Heidi /peaks hers down to monthly. I /peak mine down into quarterly. Do what works for you, but do something. Don’t just write these goals and tuck them away in your notebook or pin them up on your wall and think they will happen. A goal is made to walk toward it and to walk in the light of that goal—what do you want to see accomplished in and through you?
A Prayer for the New Year
Jani: Now we want to close today by praying for you in this new year over your goal and over your lives, that God would accomplish his purpose in you. Heidi and I are both going to pray. Heidi why don’t you begin and I will close us up.
Heidi: “Heavenly Father, we come before you today with open hands. We ask, God, what can we accomplish for your kingdom with this time that you’ve given us on earth? We pray for your Holy Spirit that you would speak to us and guide us, God. We want to live our lives on purpose. We want to stay on course. We want to please you. And I pray that you would give each of us wisdom of how to do that God. How do we take these lifelong callings that you’ve placed on our heart and take one step forward? How do we walk in them and continue moving closer to you? God, we thank you for our lives and the days that you’ve given us, help us to live them on purpose in a way that will /ping a smile to your face.
Jani: Yes, Father. I agree with that prayer. I pray for Heidi, for me, for each one of our dear listeners, that you would help us to discern what is pleasing to you, to walk in a manner fully pleasing to you bearing fruit in every good work. Lord, that’s what we want. I pray that you would take any goals that have been written this week and that you would help fulfill them according to your plan. You tell us in 1 Thessalonians that “Faithful is he who called you who will also do it.” So Lord we’re asking, as you call us, that you will do it. We want to be women who are walking forward with purpose. We want our lives to count for you, Lord Jesus. Would you give us that honor? And Heidi’s and my prayer, Father, for each of our listeners is from Psalm 20:4: “May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!” Then, Lord Jesus Christ, you will get great glory and we will be so filled with joy, and it will be such a happy, happy year. So, Lord, we ask all of this in the name of your precious son, our savior Jesus Christ. Amen.”