The Best Goals Are Ones We Will Never Achieve

Best goals - ShelliBourque

The New Year provides a natural opportunity to reflect on the road which we have traveled and to peer ahead to where we are going. We evaluate our priorities and align our goals and make resolutions to direct our steps accordingly. And we are told over and over again that if we want to be happy and make 2014 the best year ever we have to write goals that are S.M.A.R.T. and then know and follow a plan to achieve those goals.

Formulas that are big on promises make me squeamish. Yet they easily become the talk of the town so I wonder if I’m missing something that everyone else seems to understand. I churn this whole concept around in my mind, peel back the hype, and wrestle through the implications. In the end, I take hold of this truth.

The best goals are ones we will never achieve.

What? Why make a goal that cannot be achieved? Wouldn’t that bring about continual discouragement? How could that possibly make us happy?

Ah, but who knows the way to happiness? The world? Or the Word?

Happy is a man who finds  wisdom and who acquires understanding, for she is more profitable than silver, and her revenue is better than  gold. [Proverbs 3:1 HCSB]

Who doesn’t want to be happy? We seek happiness in people, possessions, and achievements. We drown our sorrows in food, alcohol and lewd living. We are so desperate to be happy that we eagerly grasp anything that promises to provide just a moment of happiness.

But happiness that is beyond temporal is found only in the Lord. Therefore, knowing Him is our highest, most valuable goal.

But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ.  More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ  and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ —the righteousness from God based on faith. My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,  assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead. Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead,  I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 3:7-14 HCSB, emphasis mine]

Paul knew this truth. He knew he could never fully achieve the prize of Christ during his earthly life. Yet, he pursued the goal of knowing Christ anyway. So precious is knowing Christ that it does not matter if the goal is S.M.A.R.T.

A goal is said to be S.M.A.R.T. if it is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Knowing Christ is specific and infinitely relevant, yet we cannot fully achieve it so we certainly cannot limit it to a fixed period of time. We cannot even measure it, but we can observe it. As we pursue knowing Christ our progress is seen as growth in grace. It is the fruit we bear (Galatians 5:22) and the garments we wear (Colossians 3:12-17).

As we pursue knowing Christ we become more and more like Him. Thus reaching for our goal isn’t so much about what we do, rather it’s about who we become.

As you make your resolutions and goals for 2014, including the worthwhile S.M.A.R.T. goals, don’t forget that the biggest and best goal of all is one you will never attain, yet it is the one most worth pursuing. Make knowing Christ your highest goal and you will grow in ways far beyond what you could even imagine. It’s not a formula, but it is a promise you can trust.


About Shelli Bourque

An ordinary girl living by the grace of life in Christ. Adoring wife and mom. Lover of quiet places and uncluttered spaces. Beauty seeker and image maker.