I have my life planned out in great detail until 1988, when I will be 90 years old. I have personal goals, ministry goals, relational goals, learning new skills goals, bicycle trip goals, hunting goals, fishing goals, car restoration goals, and many B-HAGs (big hairy audacious goals). One of the principles of goal setting is that we tend to make our short-range ( one year) goals too big and too many, and we tend to make our long-range goals too easy and too few, so I have tried to make quite a few more goals than I think I can accomplish.
The probability of accomplishing all of my goals is zero; I know that well. The likelihood of achieving some things that I have not written out as a goal is 100%. The reason is that there are many events, circumstances, roadblocks, and opportunities that will happen that I have no clue will occur and that are totally outside my control to prevent or change.
James 4:13-15 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”
Detours, roadblocks, obstacles, road construction, and car problems on a five-day driving trip are frustrating because the trip we planned out in detail will have to change and will now take six days or maybe even more. Six of us are starting a 4,000 mile, two-month bicycle trip from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. I have every day planned, all mapped out, every campsite chosen and reserved. What is the probability that the trip will go the way I planned it? Zero!
This problem (not sure that is the right word) of not being able to control or predict most of our future days is what keeps many people from setting goals. The frustration, disappointment, and pain of unrealized goals makes people think that having no goals is a better way to live life. It isn’t!
The solution is to grow strong in the character trait of flexibility. Flexibility acknowledges that God is in charge of my life, He has planned it all out, but He is not telling me ahead of time what those plans are. It is also acknowledging that God has made me a steward of my time, my gifts and abilities, my life and that He expects me to bear much fruit with my life. So, I do the best I can with what I know, and make mid-flight corrections as the wind blows me off course on my airplane trip to Fairbanks, Alaska.
Those with goals and a strong character trait of flexibility will accomplish much more with their life than those who just go with the flow. They will also have more fun as they conquer roadblocks and challenges.