On Goals and a New Direction

Early last fall God allowed several writing doors to close for me. Looking back I can see that He was giving me a much needed break from writing deadlines. Our daughter had been hospitalized and then in serious recovery mode for many months. While she recuperated our son had surgery that involved 5 weeks of wearing a wound-vac and home health-care visits. And, my husband and I both succumbed to various illnesses in the midst of it all.

When life interrupts, it's tempting to think that our goals will never get accomplished. And maybe they won't. Sometimes the things God accomplishes in us trump the goals we thought we had to meet.

And sometimes, God asks us to change direction.
Last November, I began to pray about writing goals for 2010. I once heard that we are guaranteed to miss a target we don't have, and I agree with that. But I always want my goals to be established by God. "Roll your works upon the Lord--commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and so shall your plans be established and succeed." (Proverbs 16:3, Amplified Bible)

As I prayed, I felt nudged toward a scary direction--a place I had no desire to go--and reluctance set in. While I didn't cross my arms and dig in my heels, I couldn't fathom going that way. So I simply didn't think about it. Much.

An interior wrestling match commenced. I ignored the nudges, God gently coaxed.

I said, "It'll be ugly. And painful."

God said, "My grace is sufficient."

"But I don't want to re-live it," I whispered.

"I'll be re-living it with you," He whispered back.

Slowly, God persuaded me.

Aligning my writing goals with God's unexpected plans for me this year felt daring, like stopping abruptly on a major interstate highway, walking across the median, and climbing into a new car headed in the opposite direction. Without a GPS.

And so, my writing goal for 2010 is established: 1,000 words a day, 5 days a week, until the rough draft of my memoir is finished. My goal is ambitious, and can only be accomplished through discipline, God's grace, and with the help of my prayer partners. It's definitely not not what I had planned. But it's absolutely what I'm supposed to do.

How about you? What are your goals for 2010? Can you share a time that God completely changed your direction?


26 comments:

Kelly Combs said...

Julie - it's exciting and SCARY as you said, but if God is for you, who can be against you?

Be blesseed in 2010 and can't wait to see your finished work! Go girl!

Kelly's Ideas said...

Great post - it amazes me how God is always in control and knows what is best for us - he is a Father that loves us and uses us to glorify His kingdom.
Love to you.'
Kelly
http://www.amazingsalvation.com

Terri Tiffany said...

It was so good to hear from you and read about your new goals:)) I am there now--unsure of what direction to take concerning my WIPs or to wait and see if two other rejections come in. 2010 will be interesting for many of us!

Rose said...

My goal is to be more committed to saying "Yes Lord" and less of worrying about what it might mean to say yes without knowing what direction God will take me.
A change of direction took place for me and my family when Katrina hit. We assumed it was like all other storms we had to leave for and that we would come home the next day. Wrong. What an amazing eye opener to not take so much for granted. There is no sure thing. We were taken even deeper in our walk with God when two years later our 13 year old grandson suffered a near fatal brain injury. After surviving against all odds (with much prayer) he left the hospital after a month with only minimal problems with short term memory loss. Praise God for His mercies!

Deb said...

Julie,

Yes, I have been thinking about writing goals for the new year.

Started thinking about writing a devotion, an article, or a Bible study.

You know to submit to somebody for publication.

Kinda would like to see my name in print.

Well, definately would like that.

However, when I asked Him what He thought, He said, "Be still before Me."

So, that's my primary writing goal for now.

Sounds crazy, I know.

But I'm actually getting excited about all that being still in His presence encompasses.

And I know that He will walk with you or carry you every step of re-living your story.

Please let me know if I can ever help by praying for you or searching for scripture to encourage you.

So sorry, didn't mean to write a book on your blog.

Sweet dreams.

~*~KIMBERLY~*~ said...

Julie,

My goal is to focus on my relationship with God and build upon it being more obedient and trusting of God.

You see... where I came from was a scared little girl who would hide behind God's skirt and not cope or deal with life. God says I'm ready now to move forward. I will need to trust His leading.

Happy New Year!

Bonita said...

Julie, that may be scary, but I hope it will be published because you have an incredible testimony. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!

Has God ever changed my direction? Hmmm...let's see...maybe just last month when I lost my publisher. I'm happy to say, however, that this very day He gave some guidance for a new path. He's so faithful.

Madison said...

Has God ever changed my direction? If anybody answers no to that, I'd like to ask how to jump on God's wavelenth and never be wrong.

Lee said...

Hi Julie,
I saw the name of this post and stopped by to say Blessing in 2010...my goal is to paint. I am behind already. I posted a list of things on my heart, but had to stop short or it would have been too much... the rest is in my heart...

I pray devine health for your entire family, a testimony of God's faithfulness and His perfect promises to heal and restore...health and finances.
This blessed me.
Lee

Debra @ Common Ground said...

Hi Julie, I think you and I are living parallel lives! Much the same happened with me this last year, just different! LOL. God has told me to post daily. So I said "Yes, sir!" Amazing how He is working! I'll be praying for you as you undertake this. Praise the Lord, He is Able!
love,
Debra

destrella said...

I truly believe the word right now for God's people is self-discipline and self-control. Our church is starting a 2 week fast tomorrow and that is what God dropped in my heart to focus on and work in me. Beleive that you are hearing from God. :O)

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Hi, Julie, thanks for coming by & leaving a comment. I have met so many wonderful Christian women thru blogging & it's so nice to meet you too. I feel like the Lord has given me a platform on my blog to glorify him with what I talk about. I admire those of you who are great writers. I just write from my heart, it's not fancy, but works.Happy 2010 to you!

B His Girl said...

I do not know the specifics of my goals but I am talking with the Lord about it. I know God will use your written words POWERFULLY! I love the Proverbs verse in the amplified. I must tag that somewhere in my heart. You will accomplish His work. I know your U turn in the road was planned in advance. His eyes are on you Julie. Look up and smile. I'm so proud of your commitment to share your gift with others. I am praying for you! Blessing, b

Karen said...

Julie, I have every confidence that you will succeed in what God has laid on your heart. You write so well, too. I pray all your family is better now. Let me know.

Sue J. said...

There are so many times when things have happened in my life that I didn't understand--didn't understand that God was speaking to me and altering my course. More and more, since I finished a flurry of a Fall season, I have come to just take one day at a time. Because I understand that He is working in EVERY moment, whether I have goals, lists, whims or what-have-you.

Your prayers will not go unanswered as you work through where He has called you to be. As you continue to grow in your faith, following His plans for you, you will be strengthened and encouraged!

Rachel B said...

Can hardly wait to read your memoir, Julie! You are a gifted, Spirit-filled writer and I know the LORD will help you reach your goals this year!

My goal? To set some goals for 2010...haven't gotten around to writing them down yet. :) But, I have praying for direction...to do what HE wants this year!

Jody Hedlund said...

Wow, Julie!! I'm so thrilled you're continuing with your writing, albeit in a slightly different direction. (I wondered when I read your tweet today about your word count what you were working on!) We don't always know why God is leading us in a certain direction. Sometimes we see the path years later. Maybe we won't know why on this side of eternity. But as you said, the important thing is walking in obedience!

Carla Gade said...

"Sometimes the things God accomplishes in us trump the goals we thought we had to meet." Amen!

It is so much better to follow His path. I recently had a painful thing to write and panicked about it. When I surrendered it to him, he equipped me with not only the words, but the peace to get through it. It's His-story! I also shared a bit about a learning experience I had on my blog.

I pray that you will be as blessed in the process as your readers will be. May he be glorified.


Blessings,
Carla
http://writingtodistraction.blogspot.com

Cheryl Barker said...

Julie, what an exciting, scary, and challenging goal God has given you for 2010! All the best as you are obedient to Him and do the work He has called you to do.

One of my goals is that very thing -- to do the work He has called me to do (to keep writing, submitting, seeking publication, and using my work in whatever way He leads).

Blessings to you in 2010!

Tea With Tiffany said...

Go where God sends you. There you will find the greatest of joys. His presence.

SOOO excited to know you are saying yes to God.

And please pray for my writing goal for 2010. I don't know what to do now that I've taken 2009 off from freelance writing. Should I jump in again? Should I not? I'm scared either way. But Lord help me, I don't want to stay there. I need to move in the direction He is saying. So far, I can't hear. Does that mean He isn't speaking? Maybe I am reluctant to hear like you were. It may be hard and scary. :)

Thanks for listening to my ramble. You got me thinking.

God bless you, Julie. I know this is HIS work. And the best part is with God: it is finished.

Let His peace lead the way.

Hugs,

Tiffany

Connie Arnold said...

Thank you for your beautiful post, Julie! I'm glad to discover you through Twitter and following your blog now. You sure went through a rough time with your children and health issues, and sometimes that's when we learn our best lessons from God. Thank you for sharing what you've learned and the inspiration and encouragement.

Eagles Wings said...

Maybe someone needs to read it this year before it's too late :-)
I would like a signed copy of it after it has gone to print :-)

KelliGirl said...

Julie,
I'm so proud of you for being faithful to the nudge of the Spirit and opening the door to the unknown...and certainly not the easy way out. I know God will be glorified through your words...and I know others will be blessed as well.

You should have about 4,000 words finished so far. How's it going?

I'll pray for you as you begin this journey of faith.

As far as my goals, I think I actually need to set some instead of winging it like I did last year. Any suggestions?

Hugs,
Kelli

Wendy Blight said...

Julie,

I read your comment on Eagle's Wings, and I loved it because I too want that "last" word. It is my struggle, and I so appreciated her post.

It brought me to yours. I want to encourage you, sweet friend. The Lord closed the door on my book, Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner, so many times before Moody published it last year. As I look back, His timing was so perfect. I learned that "Rejection is Protection." God knew what was coming in my life, and what I needed to make my book His perfect work and not mine.

You have set a wonderful goal. I pray that He will fill your heart and mind with every word you need. I pray He will carve out precious time for you to sit and hear His voice. I pray even now the publishers will be needing what God has to say through you so that when your proposal comes across their desk, they will already be prepared and ready to receive it.

Sweet blessings to you,

Wendy

lisasmith said...

Julie--I am PRAYING his hand will guide you as you write, remember and process it all. I pray the blessings abound as he takes you back and uses your freedom to minister greatly =)

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

It's hard for me to have a daily writing goal. Life keeps barking its insistence into the mix...

I now just settle on one or two entries per week into my new WIP, along with writing a couple of posts per week. It's all I can at this stage in my life and actually feel good about the "work."

Not sure where those words will end up, but do feel confident in my writing of them.

Blessings to you this year. May God be tender to you in your reflection and gently lead you to pen what he intends.

peace~elaine

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