Write Your Own Lifetime Goals [Part 1]

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Episode Synopsis

What are your dreams? What thrills you, motivates you, satisfies you? Why do you think God made you? Why now? Why here? Jani explains how writing lifetime goals can help us live with more purposeful devotion to Christ and His kingdom work.

Audio Transcript

Happy New Year!

Jani: Hello, and Happy New Year to everyone. All of our staff here at He Restores My Soul hopes you had a holiday season filled with the joy and with the peace that only Christ can bring.

Jani: Ray and I, as I mentioned before, were able to spend this Christmas in Ojai, California, with our son Gavin and his godly wife, Esther, and there four brilliant and beautiful children—of course, I’m not a bit biased as a grandmother, am I? But it was a wonderful visit. And I got to meet a group of ladies that is going through this very discipleship series. So I want to give a shout out to Esther and Amanda, to Carly, Hannah, Megan and Cami. God bless you as you meet. And as you seek to go deeper into the things of the Lord together.

Jani: And I want to thank those of you who’ve let me know how much this series is helping you. I really appreciate that encouragement. And we’re praying for you that God will help you go deeper into him through this series.

Jani: I wonder if this nasty COVID virus messed with your holidays as it did ours? Ray and I came down with COVID and so did our kids in California after we left. We came down with it over New Years. Our webmaster has had it too. But we are all recovering nicely. And we did want to thank the many of you who had heard and have been praying and some of you even sent gifts of food and vitamins and other goodies. We felt very loved. Oh, thank you. And special thanks for those of you who’ve prayed for our healing. We really are doing well now. Thank you.

Accountability (15-20 min)

Take some time to catch up

Jani: So now let’s get on with our discipleship lesson. Leaders, it’s probably been two, maybe three weeks since you last met. I advise you to take 15 to 20 minutes to share about how everyone in your group is doing. Ask them some questions like: Were they able to spend time in the Word over Christmas break? What about their meditation verses? Did they use them at all? Are there any extended quiet times to report on? What about reviewing the books of the Old Testament? I think many of you have memorized them. Now leaders go ahead and pause the podcast so you can take some time and catch up with each other before you listen to me. But please keep an eye on the clock. Try not to take more than 20 minutes for this accountability catch up.

Teaching Time: Setting Lifetime Goals

Jani: Now let’s begin the teaching part of our time together. I want to teach today on setting life goals. I want you to think about this with me—setting goals for your life. If you have listened to previous podcasts, you know that I’ve talked about this before, because I really strongly believe that it is very helpful for a woman to set lifetime goals. But in our discipleship series, I feel it’s so important to come back and teach on this once again very clearly. So whether this is a possible review for you or something you’ve never thought about before, let’s dig into this topic together.

Jani: As we go through life, and as we begin to think about our life goals, it’s helpful to consider some questions. Questions like these: What dreams carry you from day to day? What drives you as a woman? What thrills you and excites you? What motivates you?

I love how Pastor Sam Alberry puts it:

“What gets you up? What gets you down? What gets you through?”

Sam Alberry

Jani: I want you to think about your life five years ago. What was different from the way your life is now? What’s the same? Now think about your life five years from now. What do you want to remain the same? What should change? Ask yourself how you think God wants you to spend your unique life. At the end of your life, what do you want to look back on? What would satisfy you? What do you want to offer to God as you stand before him as a good return on all his investment in you? If you could listen in at your funeral, what would you want people to say about you?

Jesus had a goal

Jani: Jesus had a goal in life. Luke 19:10 says,

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Luke 19:10

Jani: That was Jesus’s goal in life: to seek and to save the lost.

Paul had a goal

Jani: Paul had a goal. I want you to pause on the podcast right now and read aloud together in your group 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. We don’t want to be women who just drift along, spinning our wheels, so to speak, “beating the air” as Paul puts it. We are daughters of the King of the universe! Isaiah 32:8 says,

“But he who is noble plans noble things, and on noble things he stands.”

Isaiah 32:8

Jani: What noble things do you, as a daughter of the king, want to stand on this year, and on throughout your whole life? Nobility means embracing dignity, purpose, selflessness, integrity, generosity. God kindly promises us in 2 Peter 1:3 that his divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him, who called us to His own glory and excellence.

Jani: King Solomon gives us advice on making plans. Read together, Proverbs 4:26-27. Go ahead, turn to it in your Bibles right now, Proverbs 4:26-27. Do you see how Solomon tells us to ponder the path of our feet, then all our ways will be sure?

Jani: Paul gives us advice on making plans too. Colossians 1:9-10 speak of “being filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” Don’t you love that? In all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And what’s the purpose of this? So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.

Jani: Now, pause the podcast and read together Ephesians 5:10, 15-17, Ephesians 5:10, 15-17. Go ahead and do that now. Try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Look carefully. Be wise, don’t be foolish.

What Is God’s Will For Me?

Jani: So Paul tells us to ask ourself, “What is God’s will for me?” We’re to ponder this. Why did God think me up and put me on earth at this specific time in history and in this exact geographical location? Why did he relate me to this family and give me these neighbors and this church to attend? Why did he give me the eternal privilege of knowing him personally?

Jani: Well, then, how can I best serve His kingdom purposes in my generation? What is pleasing to Him? I love that phrase, it makes me ask myself, “What will bring a smile to Jesus’s face? What is a worthy investment for the king of our universe?”

Jani: I began writing lifetime goals by thinking through some answers to these questions. If you don’t have any answers right away, that’s okay. Just sit in his presence. And ponder why you think he made you.

Jani: Now, leader, pause the podcast for a few minutes of silent prayer. Give your group time to let these questions wander about in their hearts and minds.

Two Encouragements

Your Goals Don’t Have To Be Perfect

Jani: Now, before we go any further, I want to encourage you, you don’t have to be good at this. You don’t have to get it perfect the first time you try. Or, truly, you don’t have to get it perfect ever. God doesn’t expect perfection from us. What he is asking is that we ponder, that we consider, that we look carefully to our ways, that we try to discern, don’t you love that verb? Try. Just try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Just make an effort. That’s all he’s asking.

Always Start With “If God Wills…”

Jani: Another way I want to encourage you is this. Our lifetime goals must always, always, always, dear sisters, rest under the heading of, “IF GOD WILLS…” That’s so important. I’m going to say it again. Our lifetime goals must always rest under the heading of, “IF GOD WILLS…” Listen to these verses.

“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.”

Psalm 138:

“The heart of a man plans his way. But the Lord establishes his steps.”

Proverbs 16:9

“For he will complete what he appoints for me.”

Job 23:14

Jani: Oh, that’s such a comfort, he will complete what he appoints for me. Or think of Philippians 1:6,

“He who began a good work and you will bring it to completion.”

Philippians 1:6

Jani: You see that’s his part, fulfilling His purpose, establishing our steps, completing what he appoints for us and be bringing to completion his good work that he began in us. That’s his part.

Jani: What is ours? Well, I believe it’s to pray and begin thinking about it. So let’s make our life goals a matter of prayer, asking God for wisdom and insight, and holy courage, for strength and dignity and nobility and a generous heart toward others.

Jani: I want everyone to turn to 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12.

“To this end, we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and may fulfill every resolve for good, and every work of faith by His power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in him according to the grace of our God, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

Jani: That should be our prayer.

Jani: Now, leader, I want you to pause the podcast and pray over these verses with your group. As you all begin to think through writing lifetime goals.

Jani: Now leader, if you haven’t taken a break yet, and you think you need one, just stop the podcast and take a break. If not, we’ll just get started right now back in with our assignment, and with our prayer requests.

Next Week’s Assignment

Jani: For your assignment, this coming week, I want you to have:

  • 6 Quiet Times—are you reading through the Bible together as my group is? We’re in Genesis and we come together and we talk about it a little bit, see if there are any pressing questions or if anybody is struggling. So, I want you to enjoy six times with the Lord.
  • Review the books of the OT—be able to say them by memory.
  • Continue to meditate on your Scripture verse, three times a day
  • Begin working on your goals (hand out Life Goals Worksheet). Spend time reviewing this worksheet this week. Write out 5-10 life goals that are measurable and sustainable, Lord-willing.

Free Download: “Writing Life Goals” (PDF)

Practical questions to ask yourself as you think through and set goals for your life. When you come to the end of your life, what do you want to look back on? How will you get there?

Sharing & Prayer

Jani: Finally, close your time together with the next 30 or 40 minutes of sharing and prayer together. Share your hearts. Share your prayer requests. Take time to, as the Bible says, “walk in the light” together, confessing your sins to one another and asking for help. If time allows, read Psalm 20:4-5 over each other and spend time praying over each other as you write your lifetime goals this week. And may God visit you with restoring mercies way down deep in your soul as you seek to walk before him in integrity and nobility.

Thank You

Thank you for joining us today. This podcast is generously funded through Renewal Ministries. If you would like to discover more about Jani and Ray’s ministry or make a donation, visit their website at renewalministries.com. If you have a question for Jani or would like to learn more about this podcast, please visit our website at herestoresmysoul.org.

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About The Podcast

He Restores My Soul with Jani Ortlund seeks to encourage women with God’s renewing power for their busy lives. Episodes include relevant biblical teaching, stimulating gospel conversations with other Christians, and “Ask Jani” sessions where we talk about what’s on our listeners’ hearts.

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