Plans vs. Goals

My friends, I have been thinking a lot lately about plans; life plans.  What is the difference between life plans and life goals?  Is there a difference or are they one in the same?  I went to the dictionary for clarity. According to Webster a Goal is the terminal point of a race, or the end toward which effort is directed. A Plan  is a method for achieving an end, a detailed formulation of a program of action and a large-scale map of a small area.

As I sat here, looking at these definitions, I began to think about the muddledness of my life.  Some people are very goal oriented in other words they set an end point such as in a race and when they reach it, the direction and effort ends as they have reached their goal. These types of people often set 5 yr, 10yr, 20yr and lifetime goals. Being goal oriented means you have an end target and all your efforts are directed towards reaching that end. I have never been a goal oriented person in this sense.  My goals are much, much more short-term; such as making it through the day and what will I make for dinner tonight.

As I thought about the word, plan, I realized in many ways that goals and plans are the same, but a plan is more detailed than a goal.  A goal is simply the destination; the plan is the details to reach the goal. The challenge or problem with a goal is, once it is reached, you no longer have a destination unless you set a new goal.  As a kid my goal was to be married and have children.   I achieved both of those goals in my early twenties and the rest of my life has been spent without much forethought, just simply taking each day as it came along – enjoying the fruit of my childhood goal; for the most part.

Like my mom, I have worked all my life (until recently). It wasn’t a career as many have today; it was simply a job, getting paid, to help pay the bills. Don’t misunderstand me; I have been fortunate in that I have enjoyed every job I have ever had. I was raising our son during the era when staying at home or being a mom was looked down upon and not seen as valued.  Working made it possible for me, when someone asked “What do you do?” to have an answer other than, I am a stay at home wife and mother. While I got value from work, something was missing; it was never quite enough.  I always felt lacking somehow.

I began serving as a volunteer  in church ministry and my value and worth rose a few notches. There, I felt like I was making a difference and had something to offer to others. At church people thought I had talent and that I was gifted.  I had something they wanted, and I was good at what I did. I had value and worth. I was fortunate to begin working, for pay, at a church in California doing ministry for the Lord, full-time. Since 1994, until recently, I have been employed in ministry. It hasn’t always been a bed of roses and it has had its challenges; however, it has been rewarding beyond measure. To get paid for doing something you love and value is a huge blessing. As the saying goes I ate, lived and breathed ministry. (In many ways I still do) However, there has been a  hitch along the way, which I only now am beginning to totally understand.  Doing ministry for God is not the same as having a relationship with God.  Doing ministry, be it paid or volunteer, is what you do because of your relationship with God.  My head has known this for a long time, but my heart is only beginning to internalize it deep down, on a personal level. Our value, our worth, my value, my worth comes from our relationship with God!

I feel like I am on the verge of something great and that as God unveils each thing the waters of my life will become less muddled and much more clear.

I hope you are enjoying the journey with me.  If my journey has helped you in some small way I would love to hear from you. Please, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email; all comments are welcome.

Until next time,


For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11


Author: Sandra

I became a writer in my later years. I love blogging and sharing life with others. I speak to women's groups about the Christian life.

2 thoughts on “Plans vs. Goals”

  1. I am so glad you shared this, Sandra! I loved reading your “story”, especially since you are one of my spiritual guides. I feel like I witnessed you having an awakening (along with the rest of us) when God came into that Esther meeting, resulting in 3 baptisms! Sure, you could have stuck to the agenda and kept the focus on the business at hand, but I feel you allowed the Holy Spirit to guide you and KA BOOM! Or should I say KA SPLASH :-)? Anyway, I am enjoying the journey and I’m grateful to know more about where you’re coming from — there’s always much to be learned from each other.

    Jill from Bible Study


    1. Thank you for your kind words. You are an inspiration to me in so many ways. The Holy Spirit did arrive in all His splendor that night. I can take no credit for what happened, but was so glad to be the tool by which He accomplished His work. “To God be the Glory, great things He has done.” I look forward to many years together learning what God has for us! Thanks for taking time out to read my journey and to respond. I appreciate you!


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