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