Hubby walked in near the end of a Hallmark movie, just when things began going downhill. And you know how iffy those endings can be (smile).

“Don’t be worrying,” he said. “It’ll all turn out okay.”

And, of course, it did. That’s how Hallmark movies end. In real life, not so much. Don’t you wish you could write that script?

We sort of do that in our young dreams. In our mind we picture the future and set goals, detailing a plan to achieve them. As time passes we come up with new goals and devote our energy to accomplishing them. We have goals for our work and goals for our personal life.

Webster defines goal: “the end toward which effort is directed.” Thesaurus gives these synonyms: objective, aim, ambition, purpose, target, object, aspiration.

Growing up I had big dreams. The general goal was to be successful. Doing what, I wasn’t sure. I’d given my heart to Jesus at age seven, and by my mid-teens, the goal crystallized. I wanted to be a writer.

I’ve shared my story before—landing my dream job at eighteen writing for the local newspaper during college and writing my first book at twenty-four, Billy Graham in Big Orange Country. That commemorative book about the Knoxville crusade, which made national headlines with the visit of President Richard Nixon, sold 40,000 copies, qualifying it as a bestseller.

That opened other opportunities, and by 1986 I had achieved all my dreams with publication of Twice Pardoned. The life story of ex-con Harold Morris was the first book for Focus on the Family Publishing and a #1 national Christian bestseller, printed in several languages and totaling 1.5 million copies.

Where would I go from there? I expected to continue writing bestsellers. That was the goal. Surprisingly, the Lord interrupted the plan, taking me from a wide public life as bestselling author to a shrunken life, caring for my parents and my parents-in-love as they declined in health. I spent the next fifteen years out of the publishing loop.

The Lord gave me an amazing gift: peace that I was exactly where I was supposed to be, doing what he had designed, and a promise that someday he would enlarge my life again.

The Lord gave me an amazing gift: peace that I was exactly where I was supposed to be, doing what he had designed, and a promise that someday he would enlarge my life again. Click To Tweet

That hard place would never have made my list of goals, but it was a special place where I grew to know the Lord and depend on him for every breath. His promise and his presence gave me contentment in those difficult circumstances, and I have no regrets about those years off the public stage.

That time was not wasted. Besides returning to our parents some of the love and care they had given us, I saw God working. Matthew 25:29 captures what he did. “For to everyone who has more will be given, and he will be furnished richly so that he will have an abundance…” (Amplified).  I was being furnished richly for future ministry.

Before his retirement, someone asked my hubby—a task-oriented workaholic—about goals. He had an amazing answer. “Being in the center of God’s will is what matters.”

Do you worry you won’t be successful if you aren’t setting goals and chasing them with all your might? I was never very good at the goal-setting thing, listing where I expected to be in one year…five years…ten years.

Setting goals is a good thing. But it can be frustrating when obstacles block our way. I’ve concluded there’s a better way to approach life: following Jesus moment by moment and relying completely on him.

Setting goals is a good thing. But it can be frustrating when obstacles block our way. I’ve concluded there’s a better way to approach life: following Jesus moment by moment and relying completely on him. Click To Tweet

Here I am, decades past my young dreams. Do I still have goals? Only one. “That I may make the voice of thanksgiving heard and may tell of all Your wondrous works” (Psalm 26:7 Amplified). I’m depending on the Lord to provide opportunities to do that as I pursue him with all my heart.

He’s writing the script…and it has a predictable ending. I’m not worrying. It’ll all turn out okay—for my good and his glory.

“We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose” (Romans 8:28 Amplified).

Please tell me what you’ve learned about goal-setting and adjusting to interruptions. And I’d appreciate your sharing this article with your friends.

© Dianne Barker 2020

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