A Greater View

A Greater View

When my granddaughter, Abbey, was about two years old, she already loved going to the beach. My daughter and her husband would take her, and Abbey would be saying, “beach, beach” as soon as she saw the water. As they all three began to walk toward the ocean, Abbey would sit down with her sand bucket at the first tide pool, where the ocean had filled a small hole in the sand, content that she had arrived. She stopped short, seeing only the small pool when the entire ocean was available.

As I reflect on the amazing God-happenings in 2015, I am so grateful! Now, as I peer into the possibilities of 2016, I want to be sure to keep moving forward – to keep dreaming, believing and planning. You see, I wouldn’t want to stop short of the ocean of blessings God surely has in store.

If You Ask the Wrong Question

In my reflection, I’ve remembered a statement that I have often heard, “If you ask the wrong question, you will get the wrong answer.” I believe that to be true, and I see a connection between that statement and setting goals for 2016. I want God’s best path for 2016, and I realize that if I set goals for the wrong reasons, I will end up with the wrong goals, perhaps missing God’s best.

And so I’ve forced myself to step back and ask the harder questions. What are my intentions and motivations for my goals? Why do I want to accomplish these goals?

I needed to have clarity on my “why,” and I want to be transparent with myself. I was reminded of David’s prayer in Psalm 139:23-24, so, like David, I ask my Heavenly Father to “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

It was so like David – the “man after God’s own heart” – to ask God to investigate his heart. David was desperate to know God’s thoughts, have His perspective and develop a heart like the Father’s.

David asked God to investigate his heart. Could I be that courageous? (Psalm 51) Tweet This.

Could I be that courageous? Am I that desperate to want nothing more than more of God? Have you ever asked God to search your heart?

God’s Answer: New Questions

As I’ve prayed for God to search my heart, He has revealed my “anxious thoughts” and new questions began to circulate in my mind. The questions were:

Do you trust me? Really?

Are you still gripped by fear in the face of the unknown?

Does fear hold you back from stepping forward more often?

Are you still trying to prove yourself?

Do your goals correlate to these anxious thoughts?

Wow! It was such a simple prayer; I wanted answers, not more questions. But these questions did lead me to answers.

A Dangerous Prayer

I continued, “Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

This is a dangerous prayer! It seems before we can make goals for the future, we must hear God’s perspective on what might have become a safe and comfortable zone in our hearts and how that can be offensive to Him.

So I asked, “How am I offending you, God?” Perhaps the pride I feel when I think I know more than someone else? Or that I enjoy being right? Or the desire to please others at the cost of an impossible schedule? Or the seed of unforgiveness that seems to sprout when grace is needed? Or perhaps that I desire safety more than going to unknown places? And more.

I am so thankful for the second part of that verse. Even after David asks God to point out all the things that offend Him, David still asks God to lead him to His path. At Lead Like Jesus, we believe the heart is central to our intentions and motivations. Before we set goals, let’s examine the core of our heart. God’s sees our heart; He knows our intentions and motivations and the “why” we do what we do. And He gives grace.

God’s sees our heart; He knows our intentions and motivations and the “why” we do what we do. And He gives grace.Tweet This.

Now it is your turn. God has given me questions as I’ve searched my heart. What are the questions He would ask of you?

Before completing your goals for the year or even if you don’t set new goals, would you find a place of stillness and pause to pray David’s prayer, too? Would you allow God to search your heart to see what makes you anxious, to point out those things that would be offensive to Him and ask Him for His path for you in 2016?

If so, you are now ready to set goals from His perspective and dive into the vast ocean that awaits!


Prayer: Father, thank you for searching our hearts and revealing those anxious thoughts that impact our relationship with You, our lives, our goals and our leadership. Help us to give those concerns to You. Lead us away from anything that would be offensive to You; clean us out and fill us to overflowing with You. Create in us a pure heart and renew a right spirit within us. (Psalm 51:10)

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Phyllis Hendry Halverson

Phyllis Hendry Halverson serves as the inaugural President and CEO of Lead Like Jesus, a global leadership development ministry. Under her visionary leadership, the organization has grown exponentially since its founding in 1999, equipping and empowering thousands of people throughout the United States and around the world to lead as Jesus led. Phyllis radiates passion, warmth, authenticity and wit in every presentation, and as a result, she is a highly sought after speaker, regularly travelling across the U.S. and around the world. Prior to joining Lead Like Jesus, she served for 11 years as President of the National Science Center, Inc., in Augusta, a partnership with the United States Army. Phyllis enjoys spending time with her four children and nine grandchildren.  

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