How to be Successful in Achieving Your Desires

2016 New Years Photo option 2New Year’s resolutions are our way of saying: I desire change that will bring me success through an achieved goal.

Desires bombard our minds. Desires cause us to wish for something that may feel elusive or unattainable.  Time constraints or lack of planning are two of the biggest goal-stealers. When desires are transformed into achieved goals, we are content and fulfilled. We feel successful.

In this New Year, I want to make an intentional path to turn my desires into achieved goals. In December 2016, I want to look back and see a list of accomplishments, rather than a list of fleeting, unfulfilled desires.

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Would you too like to learn about a plan to achieve success in your life?

I’d like to show you an easy, and successful, method to turn your desires into achievable goals. It’s a tool that I call a Desire and Action Plan (DAP). Sometimes a DAP is very simple (see the example below). Other times, it might be a version that requires a lot of thought, consultation with others, and planning. It might be a written and edited version.

Do you find that a DAP conjures thoughts of fear, discouragement, or frustration? Actually, we all use DAP’s, whether consciously or subconsciously. Here’s a silly, but true, DAP example:

Desire:  

I want to brush my teeth every morning.

DAP:

Why do I want to brush my teeth?

  • So my husband will love to kiss me
  • To rid my mouth of stink and grime
  • To prevent decay
  • To add sparkle and whiteness to the ole pearly-whites

What tools do I need?

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Water
  • Muscles from my hand and arm

What are my success milestones toward the final goal?

  • I see my teeth getting whiter as I’m brushing
  • My mouth is starting to feel cleaner

How do I measure success?

  • Got that sweet kiss from my husband!
  • No chattering dental drills and fillings

Think of tasks that you do and run a quick mental DAP. I think you’ll find that what I’m sharing is true.

Now It’s Your Turn

Now, let’s create a more robust DAP. What do you hope to accomplish this year? Use the following questions to guide your thoughts.

  • Define your desire.
  • Why do I want to _______________?
  • Who’s my audience?
  • What ways can I reach my audience?
  • Who can I consult with to help with ________________?
  • What are my milestones to reach success?
  • What tools do I need?
  • How do I measure success?
  1. Using the answers to these questions, outline each step and milestone for your journey.
  2. Assign a due date to each task. The due date will keep you focused. If you miss a due date, don’t stress; just set a new one. Caution: do not constantly change the due date or you will never finish.
  3. After all tasks are completed, congratulate yourself. You just completed your DAP and transformed your desire into success.

Please don’t discount this effective process. Be sure to formally write down your DAP, rather than just build a mental picture. You may find many gems unfolding in your mind that you didn’t know were there. I promise, not only are you creating a masterpiece, but you also will reach your desired goal successfully.

Bring on your New Year’s resolutions! Transform yesterday’s desires into an organized DAP for a successful forever.

Are You Fighting the Fog?

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV)

Arkansas River at Two Rivers       I love water! Swimming, boating, hoses, oceans, rivers… if water is involved, count me in!

I enjoy visiting the park next to the Arkansas River. This provides the perfect vantage point to watch the water rush over the dam as it travels east toward the Mississippi River. The water glistens from the reflected sunlight. On the opposite side of the river from me, the deer cautiously sip water at the edge of the river. In the coves of water off the main stream, the cranes wade in looking for their next meal. This serenity that soothes my soul is a God-thing.

In the fall, the river’s warm waters collide with the cooler land air. The result is a thick, cotton-like curtain of fog. Traffic on the bridges is almost at a standstill as each driver’s vision is significantly limited.

Despite the fog-enveloped river, I recently parked my car at the park to visit with God. While I couldn’t see the river, I knew from experience that it was only a few feet in front of me. Not actually seeing the river didn’t change reality. I brought my Bible and a heart full of questions about some decisions that needed to be made. The fear and worry regarding these impending challenges overshadowed my joy. Inside, my warm joy collided with the cold angst of fear and worry. Thick fog rolled into my soul, and my spiritual vision was diminished.

I read the Word which provided a quietness and focus on Him. Then, looking first into the river’s fog, I closed my eyes and prayed for help, wisdom, and direction. You see, my previously fogged vision was formed by a need to understand without trusting and leaning on Him. My fog did not blind God. He maintained perfect clarity all along.

God gave me a peace that assured me He would provide crystal clear answers in His timing. With renewed joy, trust, and clarity, I was ready to face my day. Finishing my prayer, I opened my eyes to an amazing sight: the river’s fog had vanished.  Before me was a clear vision of the beautiful Arkansas River.

Trust in and lean on the Lord Who brings forever clarity to yesterday’s fog.

Blindness: A Gift?

Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.    John 9:3

Yesterday

Gift of Blindness
Photography by Ed Hansberry

Don’t know his age, but he was a man blind from birth. Perhaps it was just a condition that he’d learned to live with because it was all he knew. I wonder if he felt inferior? Insignificant? Angry? Cursed? I doubt he considered his blindness a gift.

One day, Jesus came to this blind man’s town. The disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

These words almost jumped off the page at me. What a revelation! I’d read this story before from the perspective of a miracle. But I never saw that God created a baby without sight so that as a man his restoration of sight would be the deliberate avenue to glorify God Himself. That’s a gift!

Jesus then made a mud patty from His spit and some dirt, applied it to the blind man’s eyes, and told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam. Imagine the excitement he must have felt after washing the mud away from his eyes and, for the first time in his life, seeing his new world. Can’t you see him sprinting back to town to share the miracle with the townspeople?

Back in town, he was immediately escorted to the Pharisees whose focus was not on this beautiful miracle given to a blind man. Instead, they plotted to discredit Jesus and convict Him of a crime.

The once-blind man repeatedly answered the Pharisees’ tedious questions. “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” Can’t you hear the hearty belly laughter from the healed man as he mocks the Pharisees?

He further testified, “Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this were not from God, he could do nothing.” The Pharisees cast him out of the synagogue. Was the now-sighted man feeling reassurance in his gift, or was the ugly head of rejection rising?

I love that at the apex of societal rejection his gift of blindness opened the door to significance. Upon hearing the man was cast out, Jesus found him and bolstered his faith. Jesus taught about spiritual blindness giving the man a purpose. He gave value and a future mission to the man’s life.

Search

In my early years, questions about my value filled my mind. Retreating into hopelessness, insignificance, and fear, I wondered what God was thinking when He created me. Surely I have something of value to offer someone, I hoped.

For many years, hope was deferred. I listened to, and embraced, the enemy’s lies. I reasoned: I’m not important because… I’ve not won awards. I’ve not delivered life-changing speeches to millions of people. I’ve not discovered the cure to a great illness. I’ve done nothing of significance. I blindly looked at what the world values instead of looking for my gift that would bring glory to God.

Forever

Then, Jesus found me. He washed my blind eyes. He refocused my eyes and showed me the accomplishments that had brought Him glory.  The painful experiences, that I’d perceived as harmful, were actually my pre-ordained gifts from God. Discovering these gifts transformed me forever.

Like the blind man told of in John 9, I had to be trained by difficult discipline in order to bring glory to God. Today, with new vision, I recall His words to me, “When you were cast out, I found you. I healed you so that you will be My tool to help others. You are significant to me. My works will be displayed in you.”

What other God-given gifts feel like a disability or trial? How will God use them to bring Him glory somehow? Yesterday’s blindness is now a gift of sight, forever.