Habakkuk 2:2 And the Lord answered me, “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” Some people don’t think of themselves as goal oriented but every person I’ve ever met and chatted to about their life has some sort of goal or desire for their lives lurking somewhere in their minds and hearts. One of the things I do daily is to look at and pray into my goals for my life. I’ve researched books and asked successful people what the best approach to goal setting is and basically, it all boils down to, KEEP IT SIMPLE. Too many goals become overwhelming to your mind and your schedule. Narrow your goals to no more than 10 and try to write and articulate those goals into the most concise and precise way possible. There should be no extra fluff in your wording. Make your goals concrete, defined and measurable. Then everyday I encourage you to read over your goals, declare them out loud and pray into them. If they are important to you, you should be thinking about them and asking God for help to fulfill them. As you repeat this process daily, your mind will be filled with strategies to help you accomplish your goals and you will find unusual favor come your way to help you fulfill those goals that are truly ordered by the Lord. Don’t be afraid to adjust your goals, as you feel led to. You’re not a slave to your goals, they are meant to serve you and help you get to where God has called you to go. So, what are your goals?
1 Corinthians 6:9 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? Most people I talk to about their health & fitness wouldn’t place their physical well being in the sacred category. However, from Gods perspective, there is no divide between the sacred and secular. Everything is spiritual. Our bodies are the vehicle Gods given to us to live our lives and carry out our life purpose. Whilst Godliness is of every value, bodily training is of some value and it generally only becomes an issue when ill health surfaces in our lives. Many of us punish our bodies with a lack of sleep, poor nutrition and sedentary lifestyles that ultimately catch up with us as we age. When your unwell and unable to operate in your daily life as you once did, it doesn’t matter how grand your vision, or how passionate you are about reaching your friends with the gospel, the truth is you are dramatically limited in your capacity to carry out your ministry and spiritual goals. I’m advocating that we all increase the value we place upon our physical well being, not for cosmetic reasons but for stewardship and sustainability reasons that brings glory to God and energy for life and ministry. Sleep 7-8hrs, eat clean and move your body 30-60mins daily and the benefits will be dramatic, both physically and spiritually.
In the centre of the compass is God. My relationship with him is the epi-centre of my life. God impacts my identity, character, ministry, finances, relationships, activities and everything in between. God is on the throne of my heart because out of my heart flow the springs of life.
True North on my compass is my Family. My family is always in my focus. Everything I am and do impacts on my family and I want to protect the integrity of my relationships with my closest loved ones. If it doesn’t work first at home, it simply doesn’t work.
East is my Health and Fitness. Apart from time, my health and well being is the most precious commodity I have. If my health goes, everything goes with it. Nutrition, Sleep and Training make up the core ingredients of this pillar.
South is my Ministry. From preaching to writing to studying a masters degree and mentoring others, my working life is super busy but I love the opportunity to be used by God to change someone’s life through my gifts.
East is Finance. This has come into greater focus for me the older I get. What you do with your money can make or break you in more ways than one. I think God cares more about this than many of us care to acknowledge. From savings to giving to investments to expenses, this is a must in my compass.
Does the compass metaphor work for you and if it does what would you include as your north, south, east and west?
According to Sir Wiki, “Body image refers to a person’s perception of the aesthetics and sexual attractiveness of his or her own body.” The phrase was first created by Austrian psychoanalyst Paul Schilder in his seminal work in 1935. Our personal experiences, personality and cultural forces all contribute to shaping the way we think about ourselves.
Body image has become a god to many westerners, due to the sexualization of our culture. We go to extreme lengths to look a certain way and act a certain way for our sense of significance and for the notice of others or both.
As I read the bible, I don’t see God having a problem with people looking after their bodies or wearing fashionable clothing but I do see a problem when we have made our own image more important to us than being made in the image of God himself and thus worshipping him.
Romans 1:22-25 perfectly describes the current state of our culture.
“Claiming to be wise, they become fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God, for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator.”
How much of your time is taken up with thinking, dreaming and working towards the ideal image of yourself? Have you exchanged worship of God’s glory for your own glory? How is this working for you? Are you joy-filled or discontent?
A person’s identity must be found in Christ and Christ alone. Genesis 1-2 outlines that every male and female on the planet has been made in the image of God. We have been created to worship God and steward what God gives to us, which includes our bodies, clothing, possessions and money.
Jesus made himself of no reputation but abandoned himself to the Father’s pleasure and will. What image are you trying to portray to others? Leave the pretenses behind and just pursue God. God is more than capable of helping you find your identity in him and not in the cultural forces around you.
Fulfilling your calling is going to take enormous energy. Anything worth pursuing requires an investment of energy on your part. Energy is a precious gift. The lack of it can limit your impact and contribution to life. I think great energy is a byproduct of Gods grace in our lives, directed towards a call.
People struggle for energy without a clear and defined purpose. A clear call and vision from God activates you to get up in the morning and get into the day. Proverbs 29:18 reminds us, “Without vision, people perish.” I have an internal drive because I have a clear vision for the call of God in my local church and personal life. What energizes you? What motivates you? Why do you do what you do?
Energy is also a byproduct of how we look after our physical bodies. If you pay attention to your ESD, you will go a long way to maximizing your physical energy. What is ESD?
E is firstly, EXERCISE. I encourage you to move your body for at least 20-3omins a day, 5-6 times per week. This could be walking, running, cycling, swimming, aerobics, gym or competitive sport that you enjoy on a regular basis. S stands for SLEEP. Whatever you do, get up at the same time each day. Even if you have a late night, get up at the same time and sleep in before midnight, not after midnight. The hours pre-midnight are far more conducive to a healthier lifestyle than post-midnight. A basic 7-8 hours sleep a night is important for all of us to heed. Lastly, D stands for DIET. You are what you eat. Your physical energy rises and falls based on the fuel you feed it. Have a solid breakfast of grains, fruit and yoghurt. Eat fruit and healthy snacks throughout the day. Enjoy pasta’s, vegetables, lean meat, fish, etc for your main meals and try not to eat after 9pm each night. Minimize sugars, fats, etc because a healthy ESD will go a long way to increasing your energy.
Energy is also a byproduct of time spent with God. Don’t forsake your intimacy with God because they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. Set a daily appointment with God and always keep it. Life can get busy and often the first thing to go is our time with God. Until you are convinced that anything good in your life is a result of your relationship with God, you won’t take it seriously enough to invest more time and energy into it. The busier life gets, the more you need to make time for prayer.