CityLine Women — Volume 22
If you’re like most people, January is the month when you’re doing maybe more than a little introspection and setting some goals to make changes. I won’t call them resolutions, because resolutions always end up being things so fragile that any deviation deems the resolution “broken,” labeling you a failure.
But you’re not. Let’s quickly adjust our crowns here, Ladies, because we are daughters of the King. He’s claimed victory for us over all the things we wish we weren’t, what weighs us down and makes us imperfect (2 Corinthians 2:14). So, important reminder: We must remember who we are so we can move forward with all thanks and praise to the One who fearfully and wonderfully made us exactly as He intended.
That being said, the start of a new year does beckon change, and, sometimes, change is necessary. By this time, many of us (myself included) may have already gotten derailed from our goals. Either way, I’d like to invite you to take a step back to re-examine those goals and their necessity before we dive in to make a plan.
First, goal-setting is a good thing. To live without motivation or planning is not God’s desire for us (Proverbs 6:6-11). Ambitions and aspirations, as daunting and far-fetched as they may seem, could potentially have divine origin (Philippians 2:13).
However, although “The heart of man plans his way…the Lord establishes his steps” (Prov 16:9). We may want to write our own stories, but what’s true is that we are all part of God’s story, one that’s already been written. No matter our desire, God will ultimately see His plan to fruition, and we must prioritize and love the will of our Father above our own.
All the above considered, I can’t phrase the necessary conclusion any better than it’s written in His Word:
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Our plans must, first and foremost, focus on Christ. Bringing Him glory is our ultimate goal (Isaiah 43:7). If our eyes are on Christ, He will see to it that the best results–the eternal ones–are ours.
So, before we devise any plan for transformation or self-improvement, we must search our hearts. We must pray. We must seek God in His Word and in godly counsel from trusted sisters in Christ. We must consider our why.
As a personal trainer, I can’t tell you how many times my clients, when asked why they want to achieve a certain weight or size, don’t really have much of an answer. Many shrug or say they just feel like they should.
Naturally, I’m not here to judge, but if there’s no real motivation, real results can be hard to come by. As believers, that motivation–our why–must have God at its center. Maybe that looks like a more active lifestyle that will help you physically be able to better serve your family and/or church community. Maybe it’s a commitment to a particular spiritual discipline, like prayer or Scripture memorization. Maybe it’s renewed attention to a work responsibility that you prefer to overlook or pass on. Only God knows what that should look like in your life, so ask Him to show you what that is.
Once you’ve done your due diligence, it’s time to make a plan. Here’s what I tell my clients, using a sample goal of weight loss:
- Define your outcome goal. Write out a specific and measurable goal with a timeline for accomplishing it that is realistic: “I want to lose six pounds in eight weeks.” Since “losing weight” in itself is not an action, but a result based on the success of other actions, you’ll have to develop some corresponding behavior goals.
- Define your behavior goals that will help you reach your outcome goal. Write these down. For example: “I commit to only eating junk food during one scheduled ‘free meal’ each week.”
- Be patient and persistent. Don’t go “all or nothing.” Choose one behavior goal. When you’ve been able to consistently adhere to it for one or two weeks (it has become a lifestyle change!), then get to work on the next one.
A little more guidance on how to establish behavior goals:
- List three or four of the most significant obstacles to achieving your outcome goal.
- I keep skipping workouts.
- I eat fast food every day for lunch.
- I struggle drinking enough water each day.
- Consider corresponding strategies for overcoming these obstacles.
- Recruit a workout partner for accountability. Create a fun playlist or find an audiobook that motivates you to carve out gym time to enjoy it.
- Schedule time on the weekend to prepare a healthy, home-cooked meal that you can pack for lunches. Or, pick up a rotisserie chicken and a bagged salad instead of a Crave Case.
- Get a water container that you can refill throughout the day, with a goal of how many times you will refill and consume.
- Develop behavior goals that specifically address overcoming your identified obstacles.
- I commit to working out with my partner (or playlist) 3x/week.
- I commit to bringing my lunch from home four days/week.
- I commit to filling and drinking my 24-ounce bottle 4x/day.
Of course, it always helps to keep a journal or use some sort of tracker to monitor progress. If it’s going well, congratulations, keep it up! If it isn’t, then maybe it’s time to reevaluate and consider a new plan of attack. All the while, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
Thank you for this day, each and every day, for the opportunity to serve you and live out your will. Help me to remember that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Before I was even born, you knew the good things that you set before me to accomplish. Help me to believe you in all this and live out that truth. If there are changes I need to make in my life, show me my path. Thank you for walking alongside me, for guiding me, for loving me even when I take a wrong turn. May I always find my joy in you, and may my actions bring you honor and glory, Almighty God.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
About the Writer
Jessica enjoys the gifts of family and Jesus. Born in Manila, she lives in Chicago with her husband, Philip, who hails from Ireland, and their two kids. She loves to write and work out with people. Her favorite letter is W.
As CityLine Women, it’s important to us not only to grow personally in our walks with God, but also to be the hands and feet of Jesus outside of our local, church community. Here are three serving opportunities you can take advantage of:
- AWANA is a volunteer-run program for children starting at age 3 all the way up through 5th grade. The club meets at 6:30-8 pm on Wednesdays and is made possible by dedicated and faithful leaders like you! This is a perfect opportunity to serve families within CityLine and the surrounding community.
- We are collecting items for Rose of Sharon at the women’s breakfast on Jan. 28. View the list of requested items online.
- SPA Women’s Ministry Homes.
If you are interested in any of these opportunities, please contact Frances Jimenez.
Join a Women’s Community Group today and be part of Bible study, fellowship, accountability, and fun!