January 03, 2019

A Pathway for Goals by Lynn J Simpson

For a decade now, my friend, Marne, and I have been meeting at the closing of December to review the past year and make new goals for the upcoming year. She’s called me her “goal queen.” But this time, as I sipped peppermint tea, my goal notebook unopened on her office table, I found my stomach tensing whenever she uttered “goals.” I’d bristle like I’d just leaned against the needles of a cactus.

Maybe my resistance was due to the incompletions of last year’s goals.  Or maybe the tension was due to my resistance of letting go and letting God take the lead.

Feelings of frustration, disappointment, and discouragement immersed when I opened my goal notebook and reviewed what I set out to achieve in 2018. I’d come to the end of two years pushing into what I hoped would produce fruit. Instead I felt bewildered, lost in a wilderness of doubt instead of hope.

As I went to take another sip of tea, I paused and read the lines of script written on my cup.
“Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light.…” St. Francis of Assisi
Faith, hope and light.

Your word is a lamp to my feet
 And a light to my path. Psalm 119:

And I felt a God nudge to let go of all I understood and how I thought things should go--a God nudge to turn and prepare my heart for Him in the wilderness where He provides comfort, hope, and renewal.  

The prophet Isaiah spoke comfort to the people of Judah returning to their homeland and into the wilderness that was also their pathway back to God. “A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Isaiah 40:3

Much later, John the Baptist preached hope and how to prepare the way for Jesus while he was in the wilderness of Judea. “This is he who was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ Matthew 3:3

And we are told of Jesus overcoming temptation by the devil in the wilderness. After 40 days of fasting, he resisted temptation by speaking out the promises of His Father. And then renewed. “Then the devil left him, and the angels came and attended him.” Matthew 4:11.

Whatever your writing (and other) goals this year, may you hold onto God’s promise that when you open your heart to Him and His ways, He will comfort you, give you hope, and renew you. And always straighten your pathways to bring you closer to Him.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6


  1. Thank you so much for this post. I think it is easy to get so caught up in the 'goals' that we sometimes don't let God do the work... Many blessings for the coming year.

  2. Your blog makes sense and speaks to me, Lynn, because sometimes I feel like my goals are on hold too. I could identify with your story of the temptation to despair. And then, it seems that God had orchestrated that you should have the teacup with the wise words of St. Francis of Assisi. Your despair was lifted and you saw hope. You felt darkness surround you and you were given light. May this be a good year for you.

    May I share this favourite quote with you, Lynn. "Peacefully do at each moment what ought to be done. If we do what each moment requires, we will eventually complete God's plan, whatever it is. We can trust God to take care of the master plan when we take care of the details.
    St. Katharine Drexel.

  3. Wonderful to read this morning, Lynn!


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