The Happiest Lives Podcast

E16: Aspirations and Goals

August 18, 2023 Jill M. Lillard Season 2023 Episode 16
The Happiest Lives Podcast
E16: Aspirations and Goals
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Your aspirations reflect your core values and dreams, while goals are the building blocks to realizing your aspirations. Join Jill Lillard, MA LPC as she explores these concepts in a spiritual context, discussing the role of faith in shaping our lives with intentional and disciplined goal setting. This episode is part of the series on  Being & Doing, and unveils the importance of daily practices that honor God, helping us to love others and perceive ourselves in relation to the greater whole.

Uncover how to effectively set goals that align with your aspirations and create impactful results. We'll use the scientific method to draw hypotheses and guide our goal-setting process, providing insights into the importance of prayerful commitment. As we walk through this process, you'll learn that working towards your goals doesn’t have to be a burden. We also delve into the energy required to realize our aspirations.  Prepare yourself to journey through life and faith, grow in character, and experience the greatness of God.

Take this work and apply it in my cost-effective coaching group Clarity+Courage, where you will get live coaching, application tools, workshops, lessons, Scripture studies, and other tools that help you apply the concepts so you can create change. When you join, you get access to a whole vault of classes, tools, and coaching calls.

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Questions? Email Jill directly at

Speaker 1:

You are listening to the Happiest Lives podcast with Jill Lillard, episode number 16. Welcome to the Happiest Lives podcast, where you'll learn to think better, feel better and become the woman God says you already are. Here's your host, jill Lillard. Hey friends, thanks for joining me today. I'm really excited to be here this month as we consider the concept of being and doing. Let's talk about aspirations and goals. You might not think so, but these concepts are very relational in nature, as they are about our relationship with ourselves, our creator and the world around us. When you are being the woman God called you to be abiding in his truth, you will not be looking for your marriage or other people to fill you up and make you happier. You will recognize there is so much more to your life. We enjoy relationships when we aren't expecting people to meet our deepest longings or give us worth. In the same way, we enjoy our achievements when we aren't idolizing them, expecting them to give us something that only God can. If your thoughts create your feelings, which fuel your actions, which get you results, then you can see that there is a relationship between your aspirations, the results you are getting and the things you do. Though they are related, there is a distinction between our aspirations and goals. Aspirations reflect our desires, dreams, values, that long-term vision. They encompass our spiritual beliefs, interests and the desire for purpose and fulfillment. All the things that you want and pray for are your aspirations. Goals, on the other hand, are more concrete and action-oriented, typically focused on tangible outcomes within a defined timeframe. They serve as the means to realize our aspirations, acting as the building blocks that lead us closer to our broader vision. Let's say you aspire to become a successful writer. Your goals might include completing several writing projects, attending workshops or submitting your work to publishers. These goals align with your aspiration of becoming a writer, helping you move closer to fulfilling your vision. If you aspire to be a happy wife, your goals might include using the talk table to have calm conversations, looking at a daily heart scan to manage your mind and emotions better, and identifying five ways you're trying to change your husband and replacing those with actions that help you take 100% ownership for yourself. When I think of the overarching aspiration of my life to live my life for the glory of God this aspiration becomes a belief and a result I want to create with my life, to make it concrete and tangible. I then ask myself what are the actions, the things I'm doing that help me make that vision a reality? These are my goals To create and live out this result. There are four goals For daily actions I take that fall under this aspiration. One is I'm very intentional to read or listen to my Bible daily, asking the Lord to show me who He is and what He desires. I also find time to pause daily and ask the Lord to search for my heart and renew my mind. What this looks like for me is I sit down with a pen and a journal each morning and a cup of coffee, using the heart scan process to engage with the Lord and be prayerful about whatever comes up, including attitudes of my heart, decisions I need to make and results I'm creating. Throughout the day, i intentionally center my energy on the Lord. I do this by playing worship music in my car and speaking out loud my own words or scriptures that exalt the name of God, which sounds something like this Jesus, I worship you and I exalt your name With all of creation, with the sun, moon and stars. I praise you. You are great and worthy of praise. Holy is your name. Lastly, i view myself in relationship to the greater whole where we're all part of one body. I ask the Lord to show me, in specific situations, how to love others more. As I make decisions, i look not just to my own interests but also to the interests of others, not to gain approval from other people, but as a way to honor the Lord and express His love. Mark 12, 30 and 31 reads You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, all your mind, all your strength. The second is this You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. Loving God and loving others is the heart's desire of a spirit-filled person, and as we bring our desires to the Lord in prayer, he will align them with the desires of His heart Within each of us. God has given us giftings, personalities and interests. He made us uniquely, and so, though we have a shared aspiration of knowing and loving God, he also gives us specific heart longings and callings. I don't know about you, but I love to have goals. I know some people argue that goals get in the way of just being present in our lives and relying on the Lord to lead us and provide, but I think the opposite, because I am intentional with my time in what I do, i am able to be more present in my life. As I push myself and live a disciplined life, i rely on the Lord to lead and provide for me as I cast off all that hinders. I like to do my goals in such a way that I'm not striving to earn or be something. I do them from a place of being and having. I love the imagery in Hebrews 12 where we imagine that we're running the race of our life, persevering, pressing on toward the prize ahead of us, with a cloud of witnesses who have gone before us. We run in partnership with the Holy Spirit that dwells inside of us, and so it's very exciting and life-giving, even when you come to the end of yourself, because you can find the eyes of Jesus and know it doesn't all depend on you. His sweet grace is always there with us. Goals are a great way to give your brain direction and focus. When we have a vision, we find motivation and inspiration. Our lives become more interesting as we ignite our passion, drive and determination. There's a deep sense of satisfaction and purpose as we live an intentional life, honoring our highest values. As I aspire and do my goals, I grow in knowledge, skills and experiences. I step into what God has equipped me to do and discover capabilities I didn't know I had. And you can do that too. As we persevere, we will develop character and our faith will grow legs. If you can't tell, i really value self-discipline. However, i strongly believe it's important to have a certain amount of flexibility, adaptability and an openness, so that you don't become so rigid and unrelational. Make space for the Lord to lead you and in this way, you will keep and step with a spirit during the journey which is more important than the achieved goal. Knowing Him in the process is the goal. Now, even though I love goals, my life is not defined by achieving my goals. I know achievement will not make me a better or happier person. The reason you want to have goals is to meaningfully direct your life, opening yourself up for growth, not to hit some magical place where you have arrived, because, my friends, we will never arrive until heaven. We are always becoming who we already are. As you pursue your goals, i encourage you to enjoy the present moment and experience the Lord in the process. Let your goals be a means to greater connection, not disconnection. Anytime you set a goal, there will be an obstacle, there will be a reason not to do it, justifications for taking the easy road and excuses to do the status quo. Obstacles are actually a great reason to set goals, as they become an opportunity to discipline your flesh and lean into the spirit. As you plan your course, remember it is the Lord who establishes your steps. We read that in Proverbs 16.9. So, even as we face obstacles, we can trust in God's sovereign plan and submit to His guidance. The Bible often shows us that through the process of wanting, pressing on and facing obstacles, we can experience the greatness of God. In 2 Corinthians 12.9, paul recounts the words of the Lord to him My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. This teaches us that in our moments of weakness and limitation, we can witness the power of God working in and through us. Goals provide our brain with structure, supervision and direction. To create the new results, we have to think differently, which will fuel new emotions leading to the required actions. You are going to be creating a result in your life either way, so don't you want to do it with intention? So what are your aspirations? What do you dream about? What do you find yourself wanting When you imagine your future. What is happening? It's possible. God gave you these desires as a means of glorifying His name, the attributes and tendencies He has given you, your personality, the way He wired you. It may be a natural way for you to love Him and love others. As you contribute to the greater whole. With the gifts He has given you, you get to build up the body. The Bible teaches that God has given each person unique talents and abilities. In 1 Peter 4-10, believers are encouraged each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms. Oftentimes we find ourselves stuck in the mindset of struggle, where we're always putting out fires or surviving the circumstances. We may view our lives as being at the effect of what is happening around us, and so we don't show up purposefully or with intention. I love the verse in 1 Corinthians 10-31, whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God, and Colossians 3-23 reminds us in whatever you do, do it with your whole heart. So whether I'm working, eating, drinking or cleaning my house, i can do that for the glory of God. I can find purpose and meaning in my mundane and ordinary things. I don't have to just be reacting to my life. Many of us want things and that desire causes us pain because it reminds us of what we don't have. We are wanting from a place of emptiness and not having already. And yet Scripture reminds me again and again that I have all that I need. Always, i can want from a place of wanting what I have already and making petitions with praise and thanksgiving. Think about things in your life that you want already and thank the Lord for those things. So often we are so focused on what we don't want or things we want that we don't have, that we get in a mindset of lack rather than abundant, which is so crazy when our loving Father is Lord of everything and takes such good care of us. I love to thank God for all He has given me. Even as I ask for things I desire. I ask from that place of having not lack. In Philippians 4, 11, and 12, the Apostle Paul writes I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. This passage teaches us that true fulfillment and joy come from a contented heart that rests in God's provision and trust in His plan. Rather than being solely focused on achieving specific goals or desires or attaining certain things, it does not mean we stop wanting or striving and persevering in our lives. I am including verses about pursuing goals, diligence, working hard inside the scripture study this month for those in clarity and courage, so I hope you check it out. The bottom line is we can and we should be intentional to fulfill our purposes in accordance to God's will, and we should do so with a heart that relies on the Lord. So now that I have shared my perspective on the Lord's purpose and the purpose of His purpose, my perspective on aspirations and goals, i want to share some practical ways that I approach goal setting. The reason to set goals is to create a specific result. So first you have to decide what result it is that you want. This is your aspiration. Look at where you are now and where you want to be. What do you want to create that doesn't exist right now? Some examples of new results are starting a business, learning a new language, getting strong and lean, creating a happy marriage, getting a certification or making a positive impact in your community. For those familiar with doing heart scans and models, put this on your result line. Whatever your aspiration is, whatever that result is you want, put that on the result line of your model. Now ask, if that result existed, what are all the actions I took to get it? Now you may not really know what those actions will be. This is a process of discovery. I like to use the scientific method and make a hypothesis. What do I think might work to create that result? This becomes my goal. If you want the results of having a calm conversation, you might set a goal of doing the following things. The first goal might be to maintain a steady tone during the conversation. A second goal would be to actively listen to the other person by not interrupting and asking questions that invite sharing. The third goal would be to manage your emotional response by noticing sensations in your body during the conversation and just allowing them to be there without reacting. Another type of result you may want to create is hosting a dinner party for eight people. I like to go to the party in my mind, where everyone is seated at the table, and then I work backwards of how I got there? What's on the table? What's on the menu? When do I cook the food? What does my house look like? My goals for hosting this dinner party would look like this First thing, i would create a menu and a shopping list. What are all the things that I need to have this party? I would then plan and prep what food I can make in advance. I would also need to clean my house, and I love to do the chore lottery. It is a fun way to clean your house. So if I set aside time that I'm going to clean my house to get ready for the party, i would write down all the things I need to do The floors, the counters, the bathrooms, whatever all of these. Those things are the paper piles. I write them all down and then I put them in a drawing and I pick one at a time. Whichever one I get, i do it until I complete the whole list. That makes cleaning the house a little bit more interesting and fun, because you don't know what's going to help happen next and you don't get overwhelmed about okay, where should I start? And another action that I would put on this list for hosting the dinner party is make a schedule of when each thing will be done the planning, the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning. So those are some examples of the actions, of the goals that you would set to create the result of a dinner party for eight people. You may also have goals that require bigger commitments of resources, time, money and energy. I like to be prayerful as I make these commitments so I'm clear on my decision of pursuing the goal. That way, when it gets hard, as goals can, i'm able to persevere, I'm able to have my back and to continue forward. When I decided to start this podcast, i felt like the idea was there so very, very quietly, maybe for even a few years. It was not something I felt passionate about or I was even really desirous of doing, but there was this gentle nudging that became stronger and clearer. I believed that was the Holy Spirit prompting me. I felt like he put a quiet hint out there and then one day he was like hey, girl, it's time. It was gentle, but it was clear and I quickly followed, without getting caught in thinking about it, because if I did, i think I would have talked myself out of it, thinking I was not capable. I would have gotten confused about the whole idea. I could have thought it was going to be too much work and how am I going to find time for this? But I just quickly responded with okay, it's time I'm going to do this. So I went into this pursuit by following the spirit's gentle promptings. I brought into it a gentle, trusting energy. There were moments I was like, how am I going to get this done every week? What have I gotten into? But I would just feel the Lord whisper to me I got you, don't you worry. I then told myself well, in a year, if this doesn't seem fruitful, i can say I did it and then I can be done. And so I don't know where I will be in a year. But I have seen so much fruit already and I've sensed the spirit's presence helping me and leading me. There is a striving and persevering and taking on something like this. It's a lot of work. You don't just sit back and wait for a podcast to just appear with your name on it. I have created a process for myself which includes a creation and recording schedule, along with a map of future episodes. I'm on top of this work so that it won't become burdensome. I have to be very diligent to produce one podcast a week on top of everything else that I was already doing. So there is an aspiration, a new result. I'm moving toward it and I have goals, actions that I take to make it happen. If I didn't take those actions then it wouldn't happen. But equally important to the things that I'm doing is the energy I bring into the process. The energy that is what is fueling the actions, and the energy that I am intentionally bringing into this is peace. The thought creating that feeling of peace is the Lord is leading and providing for me. That makes me feel really peaceful. When I feel peaceful, i am able to press on and move forward in a way that is clear and confident. I really believe that. I believe the Lord is leading and that He will provide. I can feel the peace and I give each podcast production over to the Lord. I relax, i let go and I diligently follow a schedule, creating time to create record and plan. So whether a million people listen to my podcast or not, it doesn't matter Who I become and what I discover in the process of making it. That is worth its weight in gold. So what are your aspirations? How are you making them a reality? What is the energy fueling those actions. What do you have to believe to create that energy? The journey of life and faith involves exploring your heart's desires, recognizing your own biniteness, relying on God's strength, persevering through challenges and surrendering to His will. In this process, we can experience the greatness of God, growing faith and character and ultimately, we find our strength and hope in Him. I've loved talking to you today about aspirations and goals. I'm going to be cheering you on, knowing that God can show you His love as you turn toward Him. Trust Him with all your desires. It's been my pleasure to spend this time with you and I will talk to you again soon.

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