Sunday, March 29, 2020

What If...?

At the beginning of 2020, I set my goals, wrote a blog about goal-setting, and thought everything would go as I had planned.  After all, we are in control of our days, our weeks, our own lives.  We can determine what our purpose is and follow our own course of action and set our own goals.  But what if there is a grander purpose, a purpose we need to know and understand and accept for our own good?  (Proverbs 19:21 [NIV]: “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”)

Some challenges earlier this year have caused me to reconsider my goals.  What if the difficulties that I am experiencing are really something that God is using to change the course of my life?  This is a very important question because it means that, instead of complaining about challenging and painful circumstances, I can thank God and pray for wisdom to see things from His perspective, and trust that the difficulties are for my own good.

When I first believed and accepted Jesus as my savior, one of the first things I learned in my new Christian walk is that God uses painful and difficult circumstances for our good.  (Romans 8:28 [NLT]: “And we know that God causes EVERYTHING to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”  Emphasis added.)  I have experienced this principle throughout my life and my career.  God used my years of singleness and loneliness to teach me to depend on Him.  There were times when my desperation and sorrow over broken dreams drove me to my knees to pray to the only One who could help me.  I received incredible answers to prayer and comfort from God, and my faith in Him grew as I learned to trust Him.  I also experienced career challenges, and each time God used the difficulty to lead me onto a different path, a better path!

So, let me apply this principle beyond my own life and experience to the world around me.  What if this current pandemic that the world is experiencing has a greater purpose than we can even imagine?  We know that God is our Creator and the owner of the universe, and we know that He can remove the virus from this earth, but He has allowed it.  It seems that things are out of control, but I think we should seek to know God’s perspective.  What if God is using this pandemic to bring people to Him?

In the early morning hours, I get on my knees and pray for people who are sick with COVID-19, asking God to heal them.  I ask God to stop the spread of the disease and eliminate it from the earth.  I pray that people will come to know God in a very real and personal way.  I am sure that many people around the globe are on their knees praying to God with the same request for healing and an end to the pandemic.  We know that God has greater power than we do to control an invisible virus that has the potential for great harm to any one of us.  We also know that, when life is cheery and rosy, we neglect God and we say, “I’m going to live my life the way I want to live it.  I don’t need God to tell me what to do.”  (See Genesis Chapter 3.)

The pandemic and the resulting quarantines and social distancing have stopped our country in its tracks.  I am stunned by how quickly our normal day-to-day lives have been turned upside down.  Instead of freedom, we now must stay at home, and in public we must stay six feet apart.  We cannot go to restaurants, bookstores, movie theaters, coffee shops, or church.  I cannot visit my Mom in the assisted living facility, or any friends or family because many of us are in a vulnerable category and we do not want to risk getting or transmitting the virus.

What should we do with all of this time on our hands?  What should we focus on (besides the news), and how can God use this situation for our good?

God created us to have a relationship with Him.  What if masses of people, one by one, in the midst of their own circumstances and difficulties during this pandemic, seek God’s help and come to know Him and trust Him, the way I did in the solitude of my singleness and broken dreams?  Will God use a worldwide pandemic to get our attention and lead us on a different or stronger spiritual path?

There have been great spiritual revivals throughout history, and there’s no reason to think it can’t happen again.  When we fall to our knees and repent and pray, we find a loving God who is able to answer our prayers and wants to help us (see 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Matthew 7:7).  No problem is too big for God!  After all, He sent Jesus, His own Son, to be our savior and Lord and provide a way for salvation for humanity.  God didn’t do that to punish us; He did it because He loves us.  Jesus took the punishment for our sin.  His resurrection is the entire basis for our Christian faith and gives us hope and assurance of eternal life with God!

For me, I’m doing my part to pray for the world in this scary and unpredictable time.  What if all of us, who are constrained in this dimension of time and space, pray to God who lives in eternity, and seek His wisdom and trust Him to help us with the challenges we face in our lives.  Then I think each of us could say with assurance, “Thank you, Lord, for saving me and using this difficulty to turn my heart to you.”


“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.  As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my Word that goes out from my mouth.  It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”  Isaiah 55:8-11 (NIV)


Lord, please help me to see things from your perspective.  I pray for wisdom to understand how you are working in the world and in my own life.  I pray that you would use my circumstances and difficulties that I face to lead me in the right direction and accomplish your will.  I cannot see the big picture or the future, but I can TRUST YOU to lead me in the path of your will, even if the path takes me away from my own goals and desires.  I trust you, more than I trust myself, and my heart belongs to you.  In Jesus’ name and for His sake, Amen.

© 2020 Linda Lijewski

Wednesday, January 1, 2020


New beginnings.  New inspiration.  New challenges.  New dreams!!  Today is the first day of 2020.  I just finished entering my goals in my “Goal-Setting for 2020” form to get me on track for the year and keep me from getting distracted with daily routine, which causes me to ignore my goals.  Here are the components of my Goal-Setting form:

1.   List at least 3 good things about 2019.  List the things that made you happy, such as events and accomplishments.  If you have trouble remembering, scroll through your photos on your phone because you probably captured the best and happiest moments!

2.  List at least 3 disappointments about 2019.  List the times of sadness and regret, and include things that you wish you would have done or done differently.

3.  Can any of the disappointments be turned into goals?  List them.  You may be able to avoid repeating sad or regretful things.  You can change your mindset and turn a regret into a goal!

4.  List at least 3 things that you want to accomplish in your lifetime.  What are your dreams?  What do you want to accomplish in 2020?  What do you want to accomplish before 2025?

5.  Review the goals and dreams you listed in #3 and #4.  Choose some (or all) and list them on a page in the left column.  In the right-hand column, for each goal, list at least one step you can begin to take right now to move forward with accomplishing those goals.  As you move forward, you can add more steps, but it takes just one step to get started!

My often-repeated advice is to Be Intentional.  The best way to exercise intentionality is to write down your goals, using either the format above or your own goal-setting method, and make a plan.  Write down the steps you need to take.  Put goal dates on your calendar, if you think that will help.  Like 2019, this new year is going to come and go quickly.  It’s your choice to fill 2020 with strides toward your life goals, or you can wait until next year, or the next year, or the next decade.  It’s your choice!

God has given you a new day, and the time to focus on your goals and dreams is NOW.  Slow and steady action, even a little bit of action each day, will give you success in accomplishing your goals and dreams.

Happy New Year!!


“Remain in me, as I also remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”  John 15:4 (NIV)

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.  Psalm 5:3 (NIV)


Lord, this is a prayer for everyone who wants to set goals and accomplish their dreams.  I pray that you will help us today to begin 2020 with an intentional focus on setting our goals.  Please help us to set our goals, make a plan, and take action each and every day, if necessary, to move forward.  We acknowledge you as our Creator and Lord, who created each of us with a distinct purpose to fulfill in life and to glorify you.  I ask you to draw us nearer to you each and every day, and reveal your purpose for our lives as we pray, seek your guidance, and read your Word.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

© 2020 Linda Lijewski