Intentional Goal Setting (Free Printable)

God has graced each one of us with unmistakable dreams, desires and plans for our lives.  He has interlaced those dreams with talents, blessings and spheres of influence unique to each and every one of us.  While God is totally in control, work and discipline on our part are still necessary to see our dreams come to fruition.

In the past, I felt it was my job to sit and wait for God to fulfill His plans for me – like maybe I wasn’t trusting Him if I tried to work towards those goals.  However, anything worth doing will involve a lot of preparation and character-building on my part – and I can’t think of anything more worthy of my time than following God’s Will.

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Goal-planning basically involves making a road map to where you know God is leading you.  The Lord wants us to actively participate in His plans for us by relying upon Him to fulfill our God-given dreams and aspirations.  Within the work lies the preparation, growth and character-building that will be necessary when His plans are fully realized.

Development is part of the process because God wants us to be ready for all He has planned.  As Tony Evans once said, “The worst thing you can have is to be somewhere God wants you to be and not be ready to be there.”  It’s through working towards our God-given goals that He prepares us for the task at hand.

Plan your work and work your plan.   One of my dreams is to be a writer but I’m not going to just wake up tomorrow morning and be an amazing author whose eloquent words just spill onto a blank page.  Not only does it take work to develop the necessary writing skills but also the character-building to be able to handle it when I get there.

Here are fool-proof steps to implement goals:

  1. As mentioned in my post When New Year’s Resolututions Don’t Work, fix your eyes on God and He will show you the goals for your future. There is no accident that you are in your current stage or situation.  It’s liberating to rest in knowing that God is fully aware of where you are at any moment.  Achieving goals has less to do with control and more to do with surrendering your present and future to Him.
  1. What fears pin themselves between you and your dreams? What is the basis for these fears?  For every fear that comes to mind, write down “I fear _____ because__________.”  This is a great exercise to understand what is holding you back.  Submit these feelings to God and learn from them.   When we alleviate these fears from our path, we clearly see the next stepping stone God has laid before us.  Allow your fears to be swept away by faith in your Creator, knowing this kind of fear is never from Him (2 Tim.1:7).  www-renovatedfaith-com-52
  1. Write down areas in which you would like to set goals. This can be any area you would like to improve or any ongoing commitment.  I’ve made a printable below to help with this process.  Here are examples of areas I’d like to focus on:

Helping my daughter to try new foods

Becoming a better writer

  1. After setting your focus area, it’s time to look ahead to see where you would like to be in 3 months.  I recommend setting quarterly goals and reassessing them after each quarter.  As Shana Shutte has said, “God’s revelation is limited and progressive – your goals may change.”  Like in Genesis 12 when God tells Abraham to “go to the land He will show him”, we don’t know the final destination.  God so often shows us to only the next step, whether it’s to build our faith or because we are simply not ready to know His full plans.  Here are some examples for goals in three months:

Focus Area:  Helping my daughter to eat more foods

Goal – What I Envision in Three Months: Less whining and table and she is trying food on a regular basis.

 

Focus Area: Becoming a better writer

Goal – What I Envision in Three Months: I’d like to have read a book on writing and have submitted something to a local Christian magazine.

Notice my goals are not very lofty and some are vague.  There’s a reason for that.  Be sure to be kind to yourself during this process.  Nothing sabotages your goals faster than the guilt and discouragement of setting unattainable goals.

  1. Write out action steps. Start with monthly and then narrow the focus down to weekly and then daily.  Record these baby steps in your calendar or planner.  For example, to get my daughter to try more foods, we are going to set up a sticker chart.  When she tries a new food she gets a sticker and when she fills up the whole chart, we are going to do something special.
  1. Now that you have a plan, you want to reassess and repeat the same process every three months.

Here is a link to a free download to help you make this process more streamlined.  The key to goal-planning with God’s purpose in mind is surrender.  When we stop to be intentional about following His plans for us, we glorify Him and have greater fulfillment in how we spend our time.

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If you think this post will help someone else, please share it!

Til’ Next Time,

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What Are You Consumed With?

Nothing would put me to sleep faster than reading through Leviticus.  Every New Year, I would start my “Read Through the Bible in a Year” plan and was pretty consistent for the first couple months.  However, it never failed that once I reached Leviticus, I got bogged down with the rules, ceremonies and offerings that seem all too foreign to my lifestyle.

Fortunately, this year was different.  To hopefully pique my interest in Leviticus, I decided to do a little research online and surprisingly, I got far more than I bargained for.

As I tried to envision life as a 30-something Israelite woman, the first couple chapters came to life for me.  Her morning started very differently from mine….

“This morning my husband rose at dawn to choose the morning’s sacrifice – unfortunately this particular lamb was one of my daughter’s favorites.  We own lots of livestock but we strive to select only animals that are perfect, or as close as possible, because that is what the burnt offering requires.

As my husband stands in line at the outer temple, Israelites from far and wide make their way to the end of the line at the tabernacle.   Surrounded by the site, smell and sounds of young animals led to slaughter, he dreads these trips, but he faithfully goes morning and evening.   When reaching the front of the line, each person must lay his hand on the head of the animal in order to identify with it – to help us remember the price of our sinfulness.  There is nothing more heart-wrenching than seeing a lamb innocently sacrificed for your own sinfulness.”

As I read through Leviticus 1 with fresh eyes, I came to realize that this was an everyday occurrence for a Jewish family as Moses led them through the wilderness.  The male in the family would not only go once a day to sacrifice an animal, but twice a day usually, and even three times on the Sabbath and special occasions.  There were various other kinds of sacrifices but the burnt offering was most common.

 “If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you are to offer a male without defect. You must present it at the entrance to the tent of meeting so that it will be acceptable to the Lord.  You are to lay your hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on your behalf to make atonement for you.  You are to slaughter the young bull before the Lord, and then Aaron’s sons the priests shall bring the blood and splash it against the sides of the altar at the entrance to the tent of meeting. … It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.” – Leviticus 1:3-5,9b

As grueling as these repeated trips to the tabernacle must have been, the Israelites knew the burnt offerings were a means to avoid God’s wrath and obtain favor as the offering itself was a fragrant offering to the Lord. Their sacrifice symbolized their faith in God and intention to love Him with all their heart, soul mind, and strength. They also served a reminder of the high cost of their sin and their constant need for forgiveness.

The Israelite of that day should have seen that a better method of atonement for their sin was coming.  They saw how the death of Isaac was prevented by the sacrifice of the ram, and could see their salvation would be carried out is some greater way in the future…but how?

It is written in John 1:29, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”  Now the animal sacrifice is obsolete because Jesus Christ was the ultimate unblemished sacrifice for our sin once for all.  We no longer need to make daily trips to the tabernacle because Jesus is the perfect sacrifice once we come into a saving relationship with Him.

The burnt offering is obsolete, but its application towards our worship is not.  The burnt offerings were unique from many of the other types of offering, because the whole animal was consumed on the altar as opposed to only the part of the sacrifice.

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Romans 12:1 states, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”  Under the New covenant, Christian service in church and community is compared to a sacrifice as we focus to worship Him in how we live our lives.  As the burnt offering was a TOTAL sacrifice, our lives as a whole should be focused on Him.

God wants all of us.  He designed us to be consumed with Him.  When false idols compete with our time, resources and attention, we worship them in a sense.   The problem with false idols is that our hearts, minds and bodies were only designed to worship one thing – God.  When we put stock in the worship of false gods, it will damage us in one form or another.  Timothy Keller said in Every Good Endeavor, “Our bodies are not designed to handle sin.”

The “false god” I struggle with most is food.  Too often I go to food for comfort or to celebrate small personal victories – things I should go to God for.  So many times, instead of me consuming food, I allow it to consume me.   If I continued in this behavior, the repetitive nature of my sin would eventually lead to an unhealthy lifestyle not only physically but spiritually and emotionally.  God wants to be our “all in all” and that’s how He designed us – We are most fulfilled when we are consumed with Him.  To be consumed with God means that He is our source of strength, comfort and joy.

The Israelites struggled regularly with the sin of worshiping other gods.  Before Moses could even get down Mt. Sinai with the 10 commandments, they were already making offerings to their golden calf.  Time and time again they proved to be unfaithful to His law. He knew man would need constant reminders to keep them focused on Him, which is partly why the burnt offerings were required so frequently.

What are you worshiping?  What do you find your thoughts, time and attention consumed with?  Fortunately, we have complete access to the Holy Spirit who resides in us.  We can’t just resolve to be better, like an empty New Year’s Resolution, but we have the power of God Himself to call upon when we are struggling in order to avoid false idols in our lives.

We no longer make daily trips to sacrifice a perfect lamb from our flock, because the ultimate sacrifice is made.  Our debt was paid in Jesus Christ.  May we rest in knowing that He is the only one that is worthy of our praise as we were designed to be devoted to Him.  Nothing else can compare to the joy and fulfillment of living a life consumed with Him.

 

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Made Over, Inside and Out

On the way home one night, I saw a very tall object on the curb of a neighbor’s house.  I drove by and in my rearview, I realized it was a large piece of furniture someone was throwing out.  We were almost home but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted another look.  We circled around and it was a dingy oak china cabinet.  Several of the doors were broken, it was dirty and even had water damage at the bottom.  However, I saw potential in that old piece– It was just begging me to take it home and make it new again.

So, I did what any good southern girl without a truck would do…I called my daddy.  Jeremy and my dad wielded the monstrosity into our garage that night.  I was determined to save it from its impending doom upon trash pickup the next morning.  They thought I was crazy for wanting to save this piece of furniture, but I knew it had potential to be something great.

china cabinet before

The process began…I surveyed the damage, dusted it off and cleaned it up.  I was even lucky enough to find an old mouse trap in the top (fortunately it was empty).  My dad rebuilt the broken doors, I ripped off some of the molding to replace with new and I restored one of the shelves inside.  After extensive sanding, a layer of heavy-duty primer to cover the orange-y stain, several coats of paint and multiple tubes of caulk, it now sits in my dining room as a permanent fixture in our home.  I am very satisfied with the end product and it brings me joy to think about how far it has come.

More importantly, the china cabinet serves as a reminder of how far I have come.  You see God also saw me in the darkness.  He saw that I was dirty, broken, and in a state of disrepair.  But that didn’t stop Him.  He didn’t even need to even take a second look.  Through no effort of my own, He delivered me from my sin and certain destruction through Christ’s death and resurrection.  Upon accepting Christ as my Savior, my eternal status is secure with Him.  Now, He is “renovating” me to be more and more like Him every day.  God has had to clean me up, release me from my baggage, repair my brokenness and He continues sanding my rough edges to make them smooth.

Fortunately, God never leaves a project half-done…He continually works on each one of us, shaping us to be a useful tool for Him to use.  That’s what the Christian life is.  It is a process of transformation that can only be done by His Hands.  We all have areas where we need work – whether it is anxiety, overeating, insecurity, or pride, God wants to renovate our hearts and minds.

Any home improvement project is messy and can take longer than we previously thought.  You might even uncover issues that you weren’t previously aware of and you may need to make several calls for help.   However, at the end of the project, the results are breath-taking and the struggle  is now behind you.  You have replaced this hang-up with new habits and the results are amazing.  You might even ask yourself “Why didn’t I tackle this sooner?”

That’s why I have entitled the blog Renovated Faith…The Lord helps you take off your old self and put on your new self.  You take off the lies and put on the truth.  You take off your cultural perspective and put on a biblical perspective.  You take off what you learned growing up and put on what the Bible says about your situation. Once you come to know Christ as your Savior, that is just the beginning.  You have a whole new life ahead of you.  God still has a lot of refinishing work to do on me and I invite you to join me on this journey as He gives us a makeover from the inside out.

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”  Isaiah 43:19

china cabinet boxwood

front china cabinet

glasses

 

China Cabinet Restoration Process and Source List

  1. Dust off with a damp wrap and remove all hardware.  Replace any molding that is out of date.
  2. Start sanding. If you don’t have a palm sander like this one, it is well worth your money.  I have used it on countless projects and it’s my favorite tool!
  3. I’ve used several of Zinsser’s primers and decided on the Zinsser Bullseye 123 Waterproof Primer. It has great adhesion, cleans up easily, low odor and settles well into cracks, which is great for old oak furniture.  Also, it only takes an hour to dry before your next coat.  You can find it at Home Depot and Walmart.
  4. I used Behr Premium Plus white in Satin. It took me 2 good coats and then some touch ups.  I painted the inside back in Behr Sonata in Satin to give my white plates some contrast.
  5. I spray painted the hinges using Rustoleum’s Universal Metallic in Oil-Rubbed Bronze. It is the best oil-rubbed bronze spray paint on the market and so durable that I just used it to spray paint my metal shower frame.
  6. Caulk any cracks and replace hardware (I like Dap caulk). Amazon is a great source for basic hardware like the knobs.  We got the cabinet lighting here.

If you  have questions about the refinishing process, leave them in the comments section and I’ll answer within 24 hours.