I’ve driven cross country a few times. You can say that from Mississippi to New Jersey is cross country right? I made the journey before GPS was extremely common. I would go online and print the route from my college in Mississippi all the way to my intern in New Jersey (or West Virginia, or Florida, or New York). I believe that goals are just like that map I printed in my college years: they serve as guidelines to my journey.
The journey God has given us to the year of 2016 will be a long one. I know everyone is always amazed at how quick the year goes by but there’s nothing short or quick about 366 days.
If goals are as maps, here are some steps to make them work:
• Decide where you want to go – I was going to New Jersey that summer and not Buffalo, New York as in the summer before. I took different roads and there were a few detours on the way there. The drive was so long that I even decided to break it in two days. We can take the same approach with our goals. Once you make the decision of what your goal will be, you can trace the steps that will take you to get there. If your goal seems big and unattainable, never fear, break your journey in two and eat that big elephant one bite at a time (if you’re a vegan, eat that huge bunch of Kale one healthy bite at a time. Ha!).
• Follow the map – life before GPS was so interesting. I actually had two maps in my car: the map I printed and the map book in the car. The goal was not to get lost. I looked at my map often to be sure I didn’t miss a turn. Maps work best when we look at them and follow their directions. Goals are the same way. The decision to set the goal and write it down is nothing without the willingness to pursue it. Look at your goals often my friend.
• Expect Detours – I learned by practice that when you drive long distance you need to accept that there will be detours. There will be construction sites where you need to slow down and ease your way through one-lane. There will be also the times where you trust that the signs that will take you out off the road will lead you right back to it. Every goal worth pursuing will offer you detours. It took me one extra year to earn my Masters Degree but I got it. It took me three cesarians to give birth to my precious children but they are here safe and sound. When you expect detours you grow in your endurance and patience. Stick with the plan and persevere my friend.
· Once you get there, Celebrate! Then rest – Driving long distance makes you quite tired. I was always greeted warmly at my arrival and then celebrated with a delicious meal. My arrival in New Jersey was a thrill and it was exhausting. I can’t tell you how many hours I slept right after dinner. There’s a sense of overwhelming joy and celebration when you reach a great goal. Do celebrate it and thank God for helping you get there. I will be honest with you and tell you that you also need to rest and recover after such a great victory. Recovering after you reach your goal helps you recharge, get renewed and restored. God made your body so that it would rest every day. You can’t put rest in a pill: you just have to do it.
The beauty of goals is such that we don’t have to be stuck in the middle of the road. If we decide where we want to go, follow the map, expect detours, celebrate and rest, our dreams become reality.