Each day we trek through life. We struggle with discovering the purpose of our lives. What does God want us to do? I have believed for a long time that the desires we have regarding the goals for our lives derive from the purpose that God has placed in us. For example, if a person has a burning desire to be a doctor, then God has placed that purpose in them.
Some have a desire to do great things and start a journey to that goal. However, in some cases, perhaps many, we find that we are not progressing to our goal at the rate that we thought we would. Something seems to be holding us back. It is easy to go on a "witch hunt" so to speak, and try to find everything we have been doing wrong. However, sometimes we may find that it is not we who are the culprit. We may find that we have been pulled by puppet strings by those around us and thus hindering progress to reaching our goals and micro goals. This article is to make you aware of this affect so that you can remain focused in accomplishing your goals.
What You Do
Let’s consider the following passages of scripture.
Psalm 37:4 (ESV) — 4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 1:1–3 (ESV) — 1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
Matthew 6:33 (ESV) — 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
We see in these passages the following points.
- God is the focal point of our lives
- Focusing on God and His ways enables us to truly prosper
- God prospers us in what WE do.
- Even obtaining the necessities of life is dependent on our focus on God
A key component here is that God prospers what you do. It is your desires and your goals that God empowers you to accomplish. What do you have a penchant for? What burns inside of you to accomplish? That may be the very thing that God has purposed you for. However, it is still the desire within you nonetheless.
Obligations From Others
I have been researching the ways of highly successful people. One thing that they all have in common is that they were and are very focused. I recall Arnold Schwarzenegger did not go to his father’s funeral because he was training for Mr. Olympia if I remember correctly. He was determined to win and stopping to go to his father’s funeral would have jeopardized that—his goal. He also said, if I remember correctly, that his father would have wanted him to continue his training. He was focused.
Sometimes when a person is focused, she will forsake her friends. Instead of going out on the town, she will stay home working on her vision. She will study, research, build, plan, or whatever. Her friends may criticize her for being anti-social, but she remains focused anyway. I remember being in the electrical engineering program at Drexel University and how much studying was required. Study was a seven day a week task. I recall wanting to come home after church services in the morning to study instead of going to the afternoon services. There were some who criticized me trying to make me feel guilty about that. I should be in church when there are church services. Those are the type of strings people pull on you to make you do what they believe is right or what they want you to do. Successful people don’t fall for that kind of thing.
I have found that there are always people around us trying to get us to live and do what they want us to do. There are always those around us who attempt to obligate us to do what they think we should do. We many time give in to the standards that they have created for us. This results in us doing what others say we should do instead of us remaining focused and doing what we think we need to do to ultimately accomplish our goals.
You may wake up one day and realize that you have spent a significant amount of your time and energy doing what others say you should do. You become a puppet on strings controlled by everyone else.
I remember my father told me about a situation that he encountered that almost cost him his life. That story was burned into my psyche since that time. Basically, what happened was that his mother asked him to come to her house for something. My father didn’t want to because he was very sleepy from working all night. However, he decided to go anyway. Unfortunately, he fell asleep while driving and crashed his car into a tree. He could have been killed. What if he had said “no” to his mother and went to her house later after he was rested. He probably would not have had that accident. Sometimes you should just say NO.
We should be the stewards of our own lives instead of allowing everyone else to control us. We are quick to violate our own convictions if someone else has a different point of view. We are quick to abandon our plans when others make demands of us. We must remain focused.
Stay True To You
When we decide to be ourselves and do what we have decided to do, we may find that we are swimming upstream so to speak. We become the odd balls or the bad guys so to speak. Why? Because we have decided to stay on our own path instead of venturing off on the streets that others call us to. We remain focused on what we want to accomplish and not be distracted by all the demands that others place on us.
Evaluate your own daily life. How many times do you respond to what others obligate you to compared to what you want to do to move forward in reaching your goals? You may be surprised at how many times you are pulled by the puppet strings to do something other than or contrary to what you want to do.
Consider the life of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Bible. He was always at odds with the religious community of his day. He did not succumb to their standards, but remained focused on what he had to do. He was influenced or obligated to do what others said he should do. Consider the following situation.
Matthew 12:46–50 (ESV) — 46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Jesus’ family probably thought that they had some special influence over Jesus. Therefore, they probably expected him to drop what he was doing to come to them. However, Jesus did not. Jesus was speaking to the people and would not be stopped. Not even for his mother or siblings.
There are always going to be people that attempt to distract you from accomplishing your goals by obligating you to do what they want you to do. This is not to say that those people are malicious on manipulative. They just have a standard that they are attempting to force you into regardless of your own convictions and goals. People will obligate you to do things that may even be socially expected, but at the same time is counterproductive to what you are attempting to accomplish.
Remain focused on your God-give purpose and your desires. Don’t allow the obligations of others deter you from achieving your goals. Yes. There will be sacrifices, but overall remain true to you. Successful people stay focused. That’s why they are successful. You can’t be successful if you are constantly taken off course by others. Remain focused. Pursue God and pursue your dreams!