Running Fast. But Getting Nowhere.
by Ellen Miller
Running on a treadmill frustrates me to no end. I can’t see the sense of jogging for 45 minutes, only to end up in the same place I started! But away from the gym, there are several areas of our lives where we find ourselves doing just that—running in place and getting nowhere.
Often we set goals and anxiously strive to reach the destinations our hearts desire but come up short. Some of us are rendered stationary because we struggle to articulate what it is we really want. We then wrestle with the day-to-day decisions that impact achieving our goals, leaving us emotionally exhausted, physically fatigued and mentally drained. But it doesn’t have to be this way; our goals can be attained!
Our objective might be to lose ten pounds, start a business, get a promotion or become financially independent. There are numerous goals and dreams represented by the readers of this article—and many we likely share. The power to accomplish these goals hangs on three key imperatives:
Clarify. We must be crystal clear with ourselves about our goal and why it’s important. Write down the goal and the hoped-for outcome (the why) of the particular achievement. Say it out loud. Share the mission with someone else. But most importantly, own the objective and own it with God. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11, nlt). When we align our desire with God’s will, achieving our goal is as good as done!
Commit. Proverbs 16:3 promises this: “Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” Committing all of our activities, decisions and thoughts to God is a game changer. When we do so, we naturally fall into an ongoing dialogue with Him—placing our trust and hope in His power rather than our own.
Discern. Once our goal is set and we have committed our actions to the Lord, we must become discerning. Proverbs 3:21 instructs, “My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them.” It is critical to understand that two words—yes and no—will either propel us forward or cause us to stall out. Regardless of the objective, great discernment is required when using the words yes and no.
Allow me to share a personal story with you. In 2002, my business was thriving. It’s what we entrepreneurs call “having a good year.” Because of this financial success, I was able to enjoy shopping and traveling, but not to the extent that I could have. Why? Because I was crystal clear on my long-term goal of one day being financially independent. I had prayed over this goal and committed my actions to God, praying—sometimes even while I was shopping!—that He would empower me to make good decisions. One decision I made was to say no to spending an extra $100 of my monthly clothing allowance. Because of this, I was able to say yes to investing that money in Apple stock. By simply saying no to a one-hundred-dollar monthly expenditure for one year, that $1,200 is worth more than $125,000 today.* With how quickly styles change, do you think that I would still wear anything today that was purchased in 2002? No. There’s not one article of clothing that I feel I missed out on.
But here’s where some of us get caught on the treadmill of self-sabotage: Many see the word no as a sacrifice or as self-deprivation. In reality, if we are crystal clear on our objective and have committed our actions to the Lord, our no is anything but sacrificial! It’s empowering because it allows us to say yes to something that will propel us toward success rather than failure.
What’s your goal?
Is it to lose ten pounds? Commit your meals to the Lord. Say no to those french fries and yes to a beautiful salad with lean protein. You’re not depriving yourself! You’re moving toward reaching your goal.
Do you want to start your own business? Commit your talents to God and celebrate saying no to a new car lease and yes to saving that money as your first-year operating cushion. You’ll love every minute of driving your old car, knowing that you are moving toward reaching your goal.
Do you really want that promotion? Commit your success to the Giver of all good gifts. Say no to petty office politics and gossip and yes to making an impact the old-fashioned way by producing results! Not only will you have personal peace, but your efficiency and creativity will soar as you move toward your long-term objective.
“Nothing is impossible with God” when our goals and actions are aligned with His sovereign will and timing (Luke 1:37). But step one is having clarity on what our goals are because without knowing what we really want, we will say yes to the things that will undermine our achievement and no to those things that will ensure our success. Our dreams can be achieved when our every action is dedicated to the Lord and every yes and every no is acknowledged as a step forward or backward on the journey to our final destination.
Now get off that treadmill, and allow Christ to take you somewhere amazing!
*Eric Cannon, Capital Advisors. Computation from January 1, 2002, to close of market September 20, 2017.
Ellen Miller is the author of The One Year Book of Inspiration for Girlfriends . . . Juggling Not-So-Perfect, Often-Crazy, but Gloriously Real Lives and Lord, Have Mercy: Help and Hope for Moms on Their Last Nerve. Ellen is the founder of Insider Marketing and has served as its CEO since 1994 and is known for launching some of the most important technologies and products of our time for Global 100 technology brands. Living in Dallas, Ellen enjoys life to the fullest with her husband, Steve, as well as their two grown children, son-in-law, and granddaughter.
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