Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a GOOD WORK in you will COMPLETE it until the day of Jesus Christ; Philippians 1:6
In today’s technology-driven world that has most of us in perpetual motion, strength and focus are more important than ever. In fact, the key to accomplishing your dreams and fulfilling your purpose is in duplicating God’s consistency. I’ll explain more in a minute, but first, how often do you find yourself wondering:
Where do I get the strength and endurance to walk in my purpose? It seems so daunting.
What’s the secret to overcoming the obstacles and persevering through life’s pressures? I feel overwhelmed..
How do I achieve my goals and dreams with so many “other” responsibilities pulling for my attention and away from the focus of fulfilling what’s most important? The distractions just keep coming!
If you ask yourself these questions, you are not alone. I, too, have wrestled with these thoughts and concerns many times over the course of my life. I didn’t always respond well. As I grew in my faith, I realized that regardless of where I was in life, God had been working with me the whole time. It often felt like He was behind the scenes, but He was there.
The same is true for you. No matter who you are or where you are in life, God began a good work in you the day you were born and His work in you is continuous.
God is good… and He’s consistent. So today, I want you to know that you can accomplish great things in this life by doing the same: staying focused on the good work in front of you and staying consistent until the day it is complete. In a world pulling you in different directions, the simple practice of consistency can change everything.
What follows are three simple steps I’ve used to make daily progress, especially when things were so big that I couldn’t see all the details of how things would look in the end. These are steps I've taken in my own journey to complete some of the dreams that God has dropped into my heart. Each step has made it possible for me to stay focused and accountable while remaining attentive to hear from His Holy Spirit for next steps, and I believe they’ll do the same for you.
When you discover a God-sized dream—something burning in your heart even beyond your career/employment and daily living—you need to start small. I did this by beginning with the end in mind and breaking down the dream into smaller goals and steps. This included setting time aside for each task, and giving myself a monthly, weekly and even daily breakdown of what to do in order to stay focused. Taking a practical approach gave me a really good to-do list that I could work on every day to move me forward toward seeing the dream accomplished.
Your first step is to do the same. Begin with the end in mind and work things backwards so you can form a practical plan of action. Be okay if all the details aren’t clear yet. You’ll work those out a little more in Step 3. For now, focus on what you do know and make things as clear as possible. With even a simple plan in hand, you can establish good daily habits, making the process of reaching your destination and fulfilling your dreams more accessible. Though setbacks will come, doing a good work daily — consistently — will result in you seeing the work through to completion.
It may seem obvious, but when you have a desire to hit the ground running, this important starting point can get lost in the excitement. So, keep first things first and make sure the call and Word of God in your heart is the starting ground for all you do. When you keep the call of God and His Word in front of you, it becomes the anchor to your focus and strength fueling your determination to complete the work.
Commit what you do to Him in prayer and ask for His wisdom and leading to accomplish it. Remember the words of Proverbs 16:3 (NIV): Commit your works to the Lord and He will establish your plans. This is a promise you can count on. And when you think you cannot do it anymore, come back to what God says. Let His words be a consistent reminder of what He will do through you as you keep your faith and focus on Him. With God’s Word as your anchor, you will be better equipped to stay passionately pursuing all that He has for you to accomplish.
This is where planning becomes a part of your everyday practices. It’s a very simple process and can be duplicated in your life in any area you want to grow in. Your dream may not be like mine—to write a book. Your dream may be to compose music or start a business. Maybe you want to teach or build a ministry. Perhaps you can’t stop thinking about getting healthy and fit. Whatever it is, the next step is to set your goals. Here’s how that worked for me.
Write it down.
Before you can go small, it helps to go big. I’m not talking “big” like a bucket list of experiences! I’m talking about writing down some big things related to your life and the dreams in your heart, like what you want your life to be about and what you want to achieve. Remember, God is working through you and in you, even behind the scenes. Sometimes, that work is in the form of your heart’s desires—things you just can’t stop thinking about.
So, ask yourself: What desires are in my heart? If these were fulfilled, how would they impact my world / the world around me? After you write these down, pray over that list and commit it to the Lord for His leading and direction on what to do next.
When I did this, my dream was pretty straightforward: I wanted to encourage people in their walk with the Lord. But I wanted this encouragement to reach more people than my immediate sphere of influence. As I asked myself these questions, God dropped this idea in my heart: write a one-year daily devotional. This is where my journey began. I committed the work to God and made a daily plan to complete the devotional.
Set a date.
After you have the Lord’s direction, determine a launch date. This is when you want things to be complete in a way that others can see or experience. The key here? Choose a realistic but a faster-than-you-think deadline for yourself. Use this to help you build your monthly, weekly and daily goals. This is how you create momentum. And, make sure you talk over the details with the Lord every day. Allow yourself time with Him so you can stay sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading and for adjustments to your plans. He will help you to refine and tweak as you grow along the way.
As I worked my plan backwards, I felt I could complete a daily devotional in a year by writing one devotional per day. This seemed to be a small, manageable goal for me, but after only 10 short days, I gave up because the task was too daunting and overwhelming. You read that right! I quit! I had no consistent motivation or accountability to take me to completion.
Although I was disappointed at the failure of my first attempt, God kept nudging me. A year later, He gave me a new strategy. It was an idea to send out a daily email—one daily devotional per day. He gave me a rhythm and a way to establish accountability and set a manageable habit that would keep me moving. He gave me a way to be consistent. Which brings me to the next goal-setting practice.
Establish accountability measures.
This is a game-changer! Ask someone you trust to keep you accountable. A close friend or family member outside of your home is best.
Accountability does not need to be a complex process. You can simply check in at the end of the day or week and say: “Yes, I completed my daily/weekly goal” or “No, I didn’t complete it, but this is the progress I have made.” Whatever your report is, set the expectations ahead of time so you know when you need to check in and what is expected. You may want to ask your accountability partner to send you encouragement and inspiration along the way. It helps!
When the email list I started for my daily devotional began to grow, my accountability grew. By the end of the year, I had three times the number of people I started with! This group counted on me to feed them their spiritual breakfast every morning. They were a built-in accountability group, and the result was motivating and rewarding—not to mention the satisfaction I achieved by encouraging others and touching lives. That was really what I wanted to do.
To get moving, you have to move. Once you have goals in place, go ahead and make the adjustments (there will be more than one!) in your daily activities to start moving in the direction of your greatest aspiration. You only need 30 minutes a day of focused energy to see things start to develop. You may have to eliminate some of the time you do other things, such as scrolling social media and watching television. By doing this, your small, consistent daily steps will produce big results. Yes, there will be days that you struggle to meet your daily or even weekly goal, but that’s okay. You can simply pick it up again the next day. When you fall down, God’s constant love will pick you up again to get you back on track. My favorite reminder of this comes from Micah 7:8 (NKJV): Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.
Whether you are just getting started or you are already taking steps in the direction of the dreams in your heart, you can be assured that as you seek the Lord, He will partner with you and lead you along the way. Remember what His Word says: He began a good work in you and consistently works on and with you to complete it (Phil. 1:6). Yes—He will work until completion! This doesn’t mean you will never mess up again. You can actually count on the fact that you will get knocked off course from time to time. However, you can also rely on God to keep picking you up and redirecting you back on the right road to success. God never quits on you. As you consistently spend time with Him and grow closer to Him, you can expect to know His voice and hear His direction better. This makes it easy to follow more closely. As you invest quiet time with your Heavenly Father each day, His heart of continuous work in you will begin to grow in your life to the point that His attribute of consistency will show up in your own work and activities.
Ephesians 5:1 says: Therefore, be imitators of God as dear children. When you imitate your Heavenly Father by being consistent in the thing He has called you to, you will begin to be successful in the goals and vision He has put into your heart to accomplish. One, two, or five failed attempts aren’t too much for God! I speak from experience and want to encourage you to see today as a NEW day—a new chance to begin one new habit that will move you toward fulfilling the dream in your heart. Start with prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to do this one thing each day until it becomes a solid habit. Talk with Him daily. Set simple and manageable daily goals. It can be so easy to achieve great heights simply by starting a daily routine and sticking to it. Celebrate daily success. And when you succeed at your first big thing, you’ll find that it’s easy to get started on the next big dream.
Start imitating your Father today by becoming consistent in the things that will move you forward in the plan and call He has for your life. It’s not impossible to get there, it only takes constancy. Make it your commitment to say, “I’m imitating my Heavenly Father by starting a good work and I will continue to do it until the day of completion.” Then watch as God helps you every step of the way.
Lynette is a recently published author and coordinator of Voices Magazine. She endeavors to use her gifts and influence to encourage and promote aspiring writers. Her Daily Dose blog has been an outlet for her to encourage readers to walk closer to God each day. She is a wife, mother and grandmother who loves spending time and going on special outings with her family.