Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Galatians 3:3 (NIV)
Several years ago, my boss taught me to make goals at the beginning of each year for myself professionally as well as for the departments under me. It is not something I would naturally do, as I tend to be more reactionary than proactive. I listen to the squeaky wheel and go from one problem to another taking care of complaints or helping in a crisis. Often, my to do list becomes the problem list. Instead, she encourages me to think ahead to what I want to accomplish in the coming year, to identify what it will take to make my goals reality such as time, classes or materials. Last year, I set goals as simple as to clean out my file drawers (in working the same job for twenty three years, I accumulated a lot of unnecessary stuff) and as complicated as learning to delegate. In turn, I sit down with my staff and ask them what their goals are for their office and for themselves. It is a very time consuming process, as it requires me to meet with each of my nineteen employees, review last year and prepare for the next. As a part of it, they often have time to vent about frustrations. I also can encourage them and thank them for their work in the past. By the time we are finished, we have a very clear picture of what needs to be done in the future. Because we know where we want to end up in twelve months, it is easier to manage our calendar, our finances and our resources. When presented with a new opportunity, we ask ourselves, will this help us accomplish our goals? If the answer is yes, then, we proceed. If no, we think about whether it is important enough to add to our goal list, if not, we decline. My boss also holds us accountable to reach our goals. Quarterly, we review our list and the progress we have made in reaching them. I am a list maker and find it very satisfying to check those goals off one at a time during the course of the year. We are in the process of setting our annual goals right now; so much of my day is spent at our various offices looking ahead to the future. We have chosen some ambitious projects, and it will require cooperation and determination to bring them to fruition. One thing, I have also learned, though by experience, not by someone’s teaching, is that there can be no separation between my professional life and my spiritual life. Just as God cares about my relationship with Him and the condition of my heart, He cares about my career and my job and wants me to be successful. The goals I set for my job, just like the goals I set for my family, and myself cannot be completed without His intervention and guidance, so my number one goal is to let Him be in charge.