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Goal-setting with God

My mom always reminded me of a time in my life when I liked writing down goals. I think I was in kindergarten, and was about 4 years old when I told the world (well, just my teachers, actually) that I wanted to become a doctor. It was a time in my life when I really, honestly, wanted to be of help to humanity. I just felt in my heart that it was what I wanted to do. Fast forward to 9 years later, I was 13 when my aunt and uncle in LA got married. Because I was left at home most of the time, and listened to the radio everyday, I came across a call for auditions for a production company in Santa Monica. And because I do love acting, I went to the auditions, and did a cold reading in front of agents and the like. An agent was very much interested in me, mostly because I was asian and she was trying to explain to my mom how asians are going to be the next big thing in Hollywood. I didn’t really know how true that was. But yes, that agent became my agent and she had me enrolled in acting school. Well it was actually an acting and modeling school. At that time I was torn between finishing High School (I was supposed to be a junior then), and finishing acting school. I had to think, rethink, and pray about it. I had to make a choice, weigh consequences, focus on priorities. And so I wrote down a list. The list consisted of details in my academic and career goals, including the wheres and the whens. I then mailed the list to my parents in the Philippines and for some reason, my mom kept the list all these years. I don’t have the list with me now but it was something like this:

My goals for the next 15 years:

1. Finish high school on time
2. Go to college, be sure to graduate
3. Try and audition for acting roles
4. After college, proceed to Medical School
5. Become a doctor

And….I did finish high school, on time. I did finish college and got a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. While in college, I had a few acting stints and attended a workshop in ABS-CBN, but I quit after a bad experience. I applied for medical school, got accepted, finished medicine, and passed the board exam. It seems easy now that I could fit all of those years in just a 14-word sentence, but the months before the board exam actually proved a grueling struggle. Fresh out of the operating room, I was struggling with healing, and trying to cram all the knowledge I could into my exhausted brain. I was scared of failing, but at the same time confident that whatever happens, pass or not, God is sovereign. I told God, “I would understand if You don’t allow me to pass this exam, Lord, but if it really is Your will for me to become a doctor, I think this is the best way to prove it.” And I passed.  By now you would think that I achieved my goals to the very last detail. It didn’t end there, actually. When I was in college, a friend of mine and I were talking about our dreams and aspirations. One of those aspirations was getting married. We challenged each other to write down a certain age, a goal for getting married. I wrote down 27 and added that to my list of goals. I wasn’t really serious about it, but I thought it was the most ideal age for me considering I was yet to go through medschool. Fast forward to my 27th birthday. I was with my last ex-boyfriend and we were planning on our wedding. I actually got married at 27!

wedding

Funny how God answers prayers that haven’t even been spoken. It’s funny how he knows our goals, and then honors them. When I look back, I see how faithful He has been to me. I may have made a few side trips, but He did keep me on track. You know, it helps when you write down your goals. You don’t just think about them. Writing them down would remind you (giving your mom or a friend a copy will help other people remind you too!). Letting God know about them will also remind you that you are not alone, and that there is Someone ahead of you, and that Someone is holding your future and looking forward to prosper you. Remember, goals are there to keep us focused on what we should be doing. It helps us commit to achieve something. But, we should be reminded that God is still sovereign. He already has written the details of our lives from the moment we were born. We must understand that He is in control of our past, our present and our future. And it will only be by His grace that He points us to the direction of His will. It will only be through Him and in accordance to His will that the goals we have written and set for ourselves will be actualized. Don’t be discouraged when you have goals that haven’t been achieved yet. God may have something better in store for you. You may be like me, whose childhood goals have been achieved. Or you may be someone praying for discernment, somewhat lost and waiting. Don’t despair. Just because the goals that I listed when I was kid had already been realized, it doesn’t mean I didn’t go through that stage of discouragement, and yes, despair. It doesn’t mean that I knew God’s will for me all along. I didn’t. I also got lost. I also doubted. And as I’ve mentioned earlier, I had a few side trips. I fell down, got up, brushed the dirt off my jeans and resumed living for God. God’s grace was and is still sufficient for me. His grace is sufficient for you too. Remember one of my goals was to become an actress, then at some point, I decided to quit early on? Well , I understood then that it wasn’t for me (at that time). Believe me, God is kind enough to help you understand why certain things aren’t for you at a certain point in time. Remember Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Have you written down your goals yet? I earnestly pray that you will be able to work hand in hand with God in achieving them.

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