When You Feel Called Set Some Goals.

by Christine Sine
Icon of Christ

Icon of Christ

In my last post in this series on calling and purpose, I talked about an active listening process which I have used to help develop a sense of kingdom focused purpose for my life.  However I realize that using a process like this is only effective if we take the next step and use our calling statement as a basis for developing goals in every area of life.  Our purpose is not to feel good about who we are but to provide foundations for the transformation of our lives.

However we do need to be realistic as we set goals. So often I find that people set goals in life and ministry as though they are isolated individuals with no boundaries on what they do. Sometimes their goals are very self serving. Remember God’s call is to be other centred not self centred.

Another trap in setting goals is try to bite off more than we can chew. Setting small incremental goals that we revisit frequently to readjust and renew is far better than trying to take mammoth impossible steps. So often we start by feeling we want to save the world and jump into impossible situations that set us up for failure.

So before you set goals for you life consider the boundaries God has placed on you life. Be realistic about responsibilities to your family, church & community and the limitations these place on your possible responses. Families and faith communities matter and should always be taken into consideration when we make decisions about the future.

Be realistic about restrictions placed by health, disability, and emotional problems you may struggle with.  When I developed chronic fatigue syndrome 20 years ago, I needed to set new limits for myself in terms of afternoon siestas, diet and exercise. Ignoring these limitations meant I became ill again. Accepting my limits led me into new and exciting opportunities for my life.

Be realistic about financial consideration like school debts, credit card bills and other financial obligations. God’s call on our lives does mean we can run away from our financial irresponsibility to family, governments or to institutions.

Be realistic about your own talents and resources and the most effective way to use these. Perhaps your first step will be to get additional education which will equip you to more effectively accomplish what God has placed on your heart.

I suggest that you write down the boundaries that will constrain how your sense of calling can be fulfilled at your present stage of life and then find a mentor to share these with. Wise counselors and help us determine realistic limits and boundaries these set on your life in terms of relocation or vocation. Share your sense of calling with them and work together to establish goals that can help you effectively journey into God’s call on your life. Enlist their help in developing daily & weekly time schedule to help discipline your use of time within the boundaries and limitations you face.

Finally, remember that God calls us to abundant life not to burnt out or stressed out living. God is not a hard task master. Those rhythms that provide balance between community and solitude, work and rest, secular and spirituality should be reflected in the goals we set.  So often we concentrate on ministry but need to take just as much time to set goals for relationships, celebration, relaxation & rest.

When I first started taking regular prayer retreats to refocus my life I sat down and worked out a list of areas in which I felt I needed to set goals regularly. You might find this list helpful for you too.


  • Personal prayer, meditation & Bible study
  • times for spiritual refreshment, retreat & renewal
  • Christian fellowship & small group involvement
  • evaluate the daily, weekly and yearly rituals that give your life a spiritual rhythm
  • develop a liturgy for all of life


  • Evaluate involvement in Christian ministry either as a full-time vocation or in your free time
  • Evaluate your church and local mission involvement
  • Evaluate involvement in global mission & world need


  • Evaluate work responsibilities –  “I love my work” No excuse for ignoring other commitments
  • learn to concentrate on God’s essentials
  • Realistically evaluate household responsibilities & chores
  • Take note of children’s school & extracurricular activities


  • Marriage & family
  • Friendships – both Christian & non-Christian
  • Community involvement & neighbours


  • Celebrate events on Christian calendar
  • celebrate significant “rites of passage” and events of the past
  • invent new Christian celebrations
  • entertain friends & strangers


  • Diet & state of health
  • Exercise routine – set goals consistent with your physical health


  • Sabbath observance
  • days off & vacation
  • sleep


  •  involvement in arts & music
  • hobbies & other creative interests


  • consumerism & lifestyle level – how much is enough
  • Care & stewardship of God’s creation
  • Generosity & Christian giving & sharing

Check out the other posts in this series:

How Did Jesus Set Priorities

What’s Driving You

Finding God’s Purpose without Getting Burned Out

Find Your Purpose – An Active Listening Process

You might also like to check out

Taking a Spiritual Retreat – Some Guidelines to Think About

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