As we enter and engage in the practice of medicine, we inevitably formulate professional goals. Many years ago I learned an important lesson about goals at a conference hosted by Dr. Larry Crabb, an author and well-known psychologist. Dr. Crabb pointed out that while goals are common, they often are not spiritually healthy.
The reason they are not spiritually healthy is that goals often transform into something on which our worth and significance depend. This is especially true for professional goals.
Professional goals become idols.
A goal is when we tell ourselves that something must happen in order for us to achieve success or happiness. When we establish a goal, we are in effect saying that success depends on achieving that goal. We have made our worth, significance and security dependent upon that goal.
Dr. Crabb suggested that rather than establishing goals, we should instead delineate desires.
The difference between a desire and a goal is simple, yet can save us a great deal of emotional pain.
A desire is something we would like to see occur in our life, but we don’t allow our worth, significance or security to depend on it. We all have desires to achieve certain things professionally, but by keeping them as desires and not allowing them to become goals, we don’t allow our success to depend on achieving that desire.
The difference between a goal and desire is dependence.
For example, we must avoid the trap of expecting God to advance our professional career in medicine in the same way as our non-believing colleagues.
God may choose to allow that to happen, but we must never depend on it.
God’s plan for us may be very different than the normal medical career… and how we envision our own career path.
God’s plan will be better…
We avoid the pain of surprises and disappointments in our career path when we are successful in keeping our dreams as desires that are firmly placed under the control and leading of the Lord.
Developing professional goals without seeking the Lord’s direction often leads to disappointment and even disobedience.
Make it your goal to please Him.
Prayer: Lord, show me how to please You!