Posts Tagged ‘goals’

Well Christmas 2016 is behind us and I hope you had a great day. Now it’s December 26, there’s one more week before we ring in a new year. It’s time to start looking forward. Where do you want to be by this time next year? What do you want to have created? What are you looking forward to? Who do you want to be by this time next year?

How you spend this week could help you toward those goals. Hopefully by now you have goals in mind. If not, that’s the first step. Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Seek the Lord and ask Him what He wants from you for this year. You can usually find answers at the intersection between your gifts and your opportunities. You can also find opportunities by looking for problems that need solving. After all, most of creativity is solving problems. What triggers your passions? What needs to change?
There are needs all around us. Find one you care about and meet it head on. One other things to consider about goals is to try to make them as measurable as possible. Try to set specific goals. This will help you to see the progress you’re making. Track your progress and celebrate it.

Once you know what needs to be done, move from thought to action. Take the first steps. People say to begin with the end in mind and that is very important, but please remember we almost never move from the start directly to the finish. Sometimes we can get discouraged, feeling that the goals are too far away and the journey is too hard. Believe it or not, both of those things are good things. Goals that are too easy to achieve are usually too small and require very little faith. Goals are journeys to be taken a step at a time. Start to look at those steps and take them. Call the people you need to call. Do the work. Measure your progress and celebrate the victories. This week is a great time to begin making those steps.

So what are my goals:
Let’s start with this blog. I have written nearly one post for every day this year and while I have loved doing it, I really desire more interaction with all of you. I haven’t quite figured out how to make that work yet, but I intend to keep trying to find things to make that happen. I value the time you spend reading these things and hope to give you more things you can put into action.

I’m creating a new book based on a concept called The Daily Creative. The idea is simple to get people creating every day and thus building their creativity. There is a Facebook page where these will be delivered as well as a page on my website. My goal is to finish the book before June, so that I can offer it as a complete collection to people participating in The Daily Creative Online.

Of course I also have goals for my church, my artwork, my speaking ministry, even my family. I don’t have time to list them here. What I will tell you is they are stretching and aggressive, but doable, as I grow closer to what I want to do.

In every year, there are a couple of special days that can make us assess where we are and where we’re headed. The first one for most of us is New Years Day. We make all those resolutions and most of the time we fail to keep them, which is a real shame but in some ways, I think we set ourselves up for failure. After all, one day is really the same as the rest and if we set goals without plans, well as the old saying goes, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Goal setting is huge, but a huge part of it is breaking huge goals into manageable steps. This allows us to make incremental progress each day. Incremental and consistent progress allows us to feel like it’s working which makes us far more likely to continue on toward the goal.

For me, all other days pale in comparison to my birthday. As I sit here on this first day of my 54th year on planet earth, I have begun to look at my goals for the coming year. Year 53 was among the best in my life, and one of the big things I want to do is to try to keep the momentum going and exceed my expectations. I want to work toward growth in my church. I want to see a numerical growth of at least ten new members in my church this year. You might think, It’s not about numbers, in which case I would have to remind you that numbers are people and Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples. I do not intend to see these people treated like numbers, but goals work best when they can be quantified.

In this year, I set a goal to create a new piece of art every day and I am very close to meeting that goal. This includes six adult coloring books published since last December 29. This year my intent is to publish at least six new books. This will include a few more coloring titles but I would also like to publish at least two regular books that are currently in the works. I will also be publishing a new speaker calendar. In the coming year I intend to continue the piece of art every day challenge but with something of a twist. This twist is confidential but stay tuned. I also want to do at least 12 painting parties this year and do at least 40 live art/speaking presentations.

Lastly and most importantly, I want to be a better husband, father, grandfather and pastor to those who have been given to me to care for. This is hard to quantify, but it will force me to be more present in the moment wherever I am. You might think these are insane goals but quite honestly, it’s doable if I focus and keep distractions to a minimum. I also need to prioritize. If I am going to fail at any of these goals, it will not be anything in this paragraph.

What are your goals for the coming year? The best time to set them is now.

Every so often I feel the need to ask the list what you’re working on. I’m on a few projects right now. I’m about a quarter of the way into my last Adult Coloring Book of the year, I’m working on publishing a calendar for speakers. It was complete but I formatted the pages incorrectly, so I have to rework them slightly. My hope is to have this done in a week or two so I can release it to other speakers so they can beta test it. In the speaking realm I just finished a series called Imagination, Inspiration, Perspiration, New Creation, Re-Creation. I presented it for the first time last week and it showed some real promise. I also just signed on to speak at a pretty major Christian Writer’s Conference next summer. At church I am working on a series preaching through the book of Hebrews that may become another book and I just started working on a project called Identify about knowing who you are in Christ. (I am rushing this one to the forefront because it is weighing so heavily on my Spirit at the moment.) I’m also about half way through a book called You’re Not Creative, and other lies you probably believe about creativity as well as an art journaling project for taking sermon notes. Lots of good stuff is coming. What are you working on?

Please take a moment and tell us about your projects in the comments.

I know I will never be the greatest artist in the world. That title would go to Rembrandt or Van Gogh or someone named after a Ninja Turtle. I also probably won’t be the greatest preacher in the world. That title would probably go to someone named Sunday or Edwards or Graham or Evans. So if the greatest in the world in both my passions is probably put of reach, what should I do? I used to say I would strive to be the greatest David Weiss out there, but I’m sort of pulling for my grandson in that category now. What’s left?

Well the fact of the matter is everything I do is subjective. You know this to be true, in the field of art, people either love your work or hate it (or worse yet ignore it) and it all depends on who is receiving it. Preaching is similar, but ultimately that is up to God to judge and He would remind us that to be great in His Kingdom is to be a servant. Maybe the greatest and, for that matter greatness, is the wrong pursuit altogether. Still there is something to be said for pursuit. Pursuit keeps us from resting on our laurels and keeps us working to improve, and that is definitely a worthy pursuit. So then what should I pursue?

Well the first pursuit is obvious to the believer. I should be pursuing God. Remember what Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. After that, the next pursuit is faithfulness. Doing the most I can with what God has given and the opportunities He presents. I really believe that this must be the soul of human endeavor. How does this manifest?

Well for me, I think that a lot of prayer is involved, followed by a lot of hard work. I also know myself well enough to understand that it’s easy to get my priorities out of whack. This is the power of seeking God first. I know I have to lead by example. If I want the people I lead to follow Jesus, I need to follow Jesus. If I want the people I lead to use their gifts to serve the Lord, I have to serve the Lord and if I want the people I lead to be creative, I need to set the tone by being creative.

This year I challenged myself to do a piece of art a day for the year. In truth, this was easy for me. I often do multiple small pieces a day and have probably long since passed 365 pieces for the year. Truth be known I didn’t do this for me. I often hear people say they’re not inspired or they don’t have time and I am trying to prove that wrong. Now not everyone can do a piece of art every day. My art is often cartooning and goes pretty fast by nature. Other media take a very long time by virtue of the skill level required, media limitations, etc. You don’t have to do something every day and faithfulness to God demands that you take time to rest, but faithfulness also requires doing the work and this is the example I am trying to set forth.

In the coming year, I am thinking about a new challenge that will stretch me even further but I am still praying about it. I think it will allow me to expand the reach of my ministry, draw attention to the things I feel called to do, but I also know it could be taxing, so rather than just jump in, I am going to pray some more. The thing we need to remember is we need to be faithful to God, and we need to be faithful in doing the work, but we also need to be faithful to our families and our other responsibilities. In my case, I pastor a wonderful church that I love. Part of faithfulness is serving them well. The object of the “game” here is not to be busy. The object is to be doing what God has called us to do in ever area of life. It can be a tough balancing act, but it’s importance cannot be overlooked.

We all have goals and if you don’t, you should. We map out a path, a nice straight line, how to get from A to B in the shortest amount of steps possible. It almost never works that way. A few obstacles, a few missteps and we start to doubt to that we’re on the right track. Add the faith component and a lot of bad teaching and it gets really convoluted. People have been taught for far too long that ease is a sign that God is in something while difficulty is a sign that He is not. This is patently untrue.

Instead, I think reaching our goals is a lot like a game of soccer, or football if you’re outside the U.S. We start off with a clear view of the goal at the other end of the field and we start to make a bee-line for it. Unfortunately there is a team of opponents and a goalie to keep you from reaching your goal. The straight line is now out the window. You have o fake left, cut right, adjust, adjust, adjust. All the while you move closer to where you want to be. It’s not a straight line, it’s a weaving, tangled mess, but the goal remains in sight. Finally you get your shot, only one obstacle remains. He shoots, she scores! GOAL!

Between you and your goal are obstacles to be moved around. Do what it takes and never take your eye off the goal. No soccer player has ever quit at midfield and said, “There are just too many obstacles, I quit.” Victory requires him to continue moving the ball forward, even if he has to do a lot of left and right and back and forth to get there. Oh and one other thing, it helps to be surrounded by a team with the same goal in mind. You don’t need them for every goal, but they sure are nice to have around.

It’s been a crazy busy week and I have been going pretty non-stop. As a result, I have not been posting as often as I would have liked to. No excuses, once in a while we all get behind, but here’s the thing, I have committed to posting daily and I missed three days. Time to catch up. Why is this so important? We don’t have New York Times numbers here. We usually have about 20-50 readers a day. Most people wouldn’t lose sleep over that. Most people are wrong. Here’s why:

First of all my readers are important to me. I love that you come and check out what I have to say. I believe that the work I am doing here is helping people to do something I am passionate about, i.e. using their gifts, especially their creative gifts to serve the Lord. I also don’t want to just give you fluff, I want to give you something that will actually help you to move forward in your calling. I take this very seriously and I pray that it blesses you.

As I write this, I believe there is something to be learned from everything, and this apology post is no exception. You see it’s not just an apology, it’s a realization. There will be times when you cannot reach your goal. In my case, there is much work to be done and I have just a few days between road trips with several new programs to finish in the next two days as well as a good bit of activity in my pastoral ministry. Blogging got pushed out by a few things that are actually more pressing. I hate to see that happen, but the reality is there are only 24 hours in anyone’s day. Sometimes the important will get pushed aside by the very important. At that point we have a choice. We can either just let it go and move on or we can look for those open moments and catch up. This is what I choose.

The reason for this choice is pretty simple. Someone out there needs encouragement. Someone out there needs inspiration, someone out there needs to know that getting behind is a fact of life, but missing your goals does not have to be.

Where are you trying to get? What are you trying to accomplish? You’re not going to get there by giving up. Press on.

It’s far better the catch up, than it is to give up.

You have a dream, you have a vision and it’s beautiful. It’s clearly God-inspired or at least God-honoring and you know it represents an amazing reality, just as soon as you can bring it to fruition, but there’s the problem. All of the sudden, you go to begin and you realize you have no idea where to start. It just got real, and you realize if you don’t get real, it will never be real. All of the sudden that dream starts to look like it’s just too out of reach and the dream starts feeling a little more like a nightmare. You can almost hear the obnoxious person from the commercials saying, “You can’t get there from here…” What do you do?

Well first of all, don’t panic and don’t give up, God doesn’t give us dreams and visions to frustrate us. He loves us. He might be teaching us patience, He might be teaching us to wait, but He’s not trying to frustrate us. God is always good and so are the dreams and visions He gives us. If you think you want it to be reality, imagine how it is for Him. He could do it in a tenth of a heartbeat all by Himself, but instead He chooses to work through us, to allow us to serve Him. He gives us the privilege of bringing something to life. He endows us with creativity and equips us to create a better reality.

The dream is not a nightmare and if it looks like it’s too far off, congratulations, this means you may have picked a God sized dream. The things that are small enough for you to be able to handle all by yourself miss the point. In this life we are supposed to depend on God. We are not independent, we are dependent on God. We are not self-sufficient. Rather we depend on God’s sufficiency. If a dream is so big it can only reach fruition with the help of God, you are probably on the right track. I love that analogy, because in the God-scheme of things, we don’t lay our own track. We step onto God’s track and we roll and we let God much, pull and prod us on to the great things He intends for us.

The key then is following the track. The first step is finding the right track. This involves prayer and self-examination. Ask God where He wants you to go and what He wants you to do and then check yourself. Where are you gifted? What are you passionate about? What makes you feel like you’re in the zone, or on the right track? These things are great indications of God’s design for your life, they show us possible tracks to take.

Next, allow God to drive. Let Him set the pace and the tone. If you get on the wrong track, know that God is more than capable of moving you in the right direction.

Be faithful. I know I sound like a broken record on this, but it remains the truth. Show up, do the work and do the best you can with what you have been given for today. It might take you a lifetime to reach your vision, or you might only move the ball a little further down the field, but progress will have been made. It all comes down to making the next right step and by the way if you take a wrong one, it’s okay as long as you’re letting God drive. I’ve heard a speaker once say that it’s easier to steer a moving car and it’s easier for God to steer a moving life.

Here’s the thing, all these dreams and visions God gives us are part of a huge master plan… God’s plan. Working toward these goals is all about building His Kingdom.
What Do You Do When You Don’t Know What To Do?

Seek God, take the next right step and DO SOMETHING!