On Heart Goals…

I recently read a devotional that asked:
“What is your heart’s goal on a daily basis?”

I sat and pondered my answer.
What I say they are.
Contrasted with what they really are when my actions speak louder than my answers.

I considered how others I know might answer the question.
Not what they would say.
But what their lives express.

And I realized that these would be some of the potential answers for me and for others I know:

Daily Heart Goals:
To be liked
To be loved
To be pretty
To be skinny
To bulk up
To be a good teacher
To be a good friend
To be a good boss
To be a good employee
To get married
To stay single
To belong
To be successful
To be sought after
To be effective
To be busy
To be less busy
To be noticed
To be heard
To see justice done
To be merciful
To protect others
To protect myself

Cries of the heart.
True goals of the heart.
Again – not what is stated.
But what is lived.

But then I had to ask myself the original question:
What is the daily goal of MY heart?

And even more important – no matter what it is today, what do I want it to be?

And the only answer I could come up with that satisfied my soul:
To stay in step with the Spirit of God.

I desperately need Him.

Because in my interactions with people – even those I know well and love best – I can’t read hearts, minds, or motives.
My view is skewed, always, by my own filters and my own lack of knowledge.
What part of the story am I missing?
What is the truth?
Did that person have a terrible experience that is skewing their view?
Are they wrestling through something awful?
What is their perception of me?
What is their perception of themselves?
What baggage and filters do they bring to the table?
I really have no idea.

Honestly, I don’t even really know my own heart at times!

And because my view is skewed, any goal other than staying in step with the Spirit is flawed.
I do not see the big picture.
I do not know the end from the beginning.
I do not know what is best for me.
Or for them.

But I know the One Who does know all of that.
The One Who desires to be my Good Shepherd. Their Good Shepherd, too.
Who has said, “Humble yourself. Put Me first. Recognize how little you know and how little you are compared to Me. And then, after you have faced that reality, cast all of your cares on Me. I see it all. I know it all. And I love you passionately. So I will take care of it all. Stop worrying what others think – or do – or know – and focus SOLELY on what I think. I’ll take care of the rest!” (I Peter 5:6-7, Kathy-phrased)

So I can most definitely work towards things.
Like beating my body into submission.
Taking every thought captive.
Being a life-long learner so I can be a life-long teacher.
Choosing to die to self with every action.
Putting your needs ahead of my own.
Recognizing sinful thoughts, words, deeds and repenting of them, quickly and consistently turning to walk in a different direction.

Those things take effort.

But that is the beauty of it:
When my goal is keeping in step with the Spirit of the Living God, everything else falls into place.
It is HIS power that does all that work that needs to be done.
It is HIS voice that tells me to do it!
It is HIS prompting that says, “Get going!” Or “Stop!” Or “Where did that thought come from? It wasn’t Me!”

He is the One who gives me the grace to see it from your point of view.
But to also value His opinion above yours.
He is the One who gives me the ability to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
And to love you as He has loved me.

He is the One who pours through me so I can be characterized by love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Goodness. Kindness. Gentleness. And Self-Control.
The One who will cause the hallmarks of my life to be His fingerprints.
And He is the One who will give me the power, grace and strength to let go of what you think. Or what I think you think.

Are there things about me that I would LOVE to change, goals I would LOVE to accomplish?
No doubt.

But neither those goals nor your opinion can be the driving force of my life.

At best, I am a weak and foolish sheep.
A flower quickly fading.

So my ONLY goal HAS TO BE keeping in step with the Spirit of God who dwells in me.
Listening for His voice.
Getting to know Him better through the Word. Through prayer. Through worship.
Practicing instant obedience so that we can move on to the next thing and not get stuck mastering this one area.
Being quick to listen to HIM, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
Bowing the knees of my heart constantly and consistently.
Keeping short accounts with Him. When He nudges me to repent, doing it instantly.
Recognizing that He does not need me to accomplish His work in this earth.
But that He has given me the privilege of being useful to His Kingdom.
Not because I am wonderful – but because HE is.

This is freedom.

All the other goals can quickly become chains.
And what I think you think of me is definitely a chain as well.
But walking hand-in-hand with the Spirit?
Listening to His counsel and practicing instant obedience?
Considering HIS opinion above all others?
That is freedom.
That is joy.
And that is the abundant life Jesus offered.

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