A City In Shambles
In the the book of Nehemiah God’s people are in pretty bad shape. The walls of their city have been torn down, leaving it open for enemy attacks, and the people are being taken advantage of. Luckily for them, someone tells Nehemiah that his people are having a pretty rough time.
When Nehemiah hears this, he gets really upset and prays to God, admitting the sins of his people and asking God to restore them.
Admit You Need to Change
Was Nehemiah’s first step saying, “Well, yeah, things are going poorly and my people have sinned but that’s only because we had to because how else were we going to survive, blah blah blah”?
Nope. He immediately says, “Yep. We’ve been pretty horrible but we’re going to change. This is what we did wrong and God, we need you to make it better.”
To achieve your goal of being physically healthy, you need to admit that you’ve got to make some changes and that, with God’s help, you can. No excuses. No saying you could do it if everyone else in your family would stop eating so much junk food around you or if organic food weren’t so expensive or if you had time to cook your own meals. You can do it because being physically healthy is important and God will help you.
Admit what needs to change and then ask God to help you change it. It doesn’t matter what it is. Maybe you want to stop eating so much sugar, maybe you want to exercise at least twice a week, maybe you want to stop eating processed foods. Whatever it is, I’m positive you can do it with God’s help. I mean…he’s done harder things before.
Define Your Main Goal
Once Nehemiah decided he wanted to help his people, he didn’t just go to Jerusalem and run around aimlessly trying to help random people. He defined one main goal that he wanted to achieve. He wanted to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem and he focused all his effort on that.
Not only did he define his goal, he let everyone know what it was. Everyone knew what Nehemiah was up to. His friends knew it, his people knew it, and his enemies knew it.
- Define Your Goal
- Write it Down
- Tell People About It
Telling people about your goal is a big help. They’ll ask you about it and you’ll feel pretty silly if you haven’t made any effort toward achieving your goal when they ask you.
Set Small Goals
In Nehemiah 3, a bunch of things the people did to repair the wall are listed. I’m certain these things weren’t listed to just bore everyone reading the story. Nehemiah used each small accomplishment as a marker to prove that he was getting closer and closer to his main goal.
While working towards your goal, set smaller goals along the way. That way, you know you’re making progress. If your goal is to give up processed foods, make a smaller goal to stop eating donuts for breakfast. Once you’ve got that down, move on to lunch. Then dinner, etc.
This really helps me a lot. Mainly because I’m really impatient. So, if I have a goal that’s going to take three months to achieve, I’ll get frustrated and want to give up after two weeks of not being able to achieve it. If I make smaller goals along the way, I at least feel like I’m accomplishing something in the meantime.
Be Prepared for Enemy Attacks
Nehemiah’s enemies did not want him to put up this wall. They kept trying to distract him and were plotting against him. Nehemiah knew what was up and he was ready. In Nehemiah 4 it says that the workers worked with one hand and had a weapon in the other. It also says that half of the people worked while the other half guarded everyone.
Along the way, you’re going to receive opposition. No matter how awesome your goal is, there’s going to be someone saying, “Oh, come on…what are you wasting your time on that for?” or “I made you fifty cakes, eat all of them right now”, etc.
It’s just something you’re going to have to deal with. Be ready for it, prepare ahead of time, and things won’t be so bad when it happens.
Nehemiah didn’t just sit around and watch his people working on the wall. He could have, but he chose to help them. He knew sitting around wouldn’t help anything. Not only that, but he didn’t take advantage of the people as other leaders had. He didn’t take any royal provisions for food during that time. He wanted the people to focus on the wall and nothing else.
Realize that on the way to achieving your goal, you’re going to have to make sacrifices. You’ll probably have to watch everyone else eating cookies while you munch on celery or skip going out to the bar on a weeknight so you can get enough sleep. But that’s just how it is. Sometimes you have to suffer a little bit to achieve your goal.
In the end, Nehemiah and his people rebuilt the wall. It only took them 52 days. 52 days to build a wall around a city. I’m no construction worker, but that seems impressive to me. I’m sure during those 52 days the people weren’t loving it but imagine how they felt once it was done! Achieving your goal is a pretty great feeling and you can do it too. Just follow Nehemiah’s formula.
- Admit you need a change
- Define your goal
- Set smaller goals along the way to your main goal
- Be prepared for opposition
- Make sacrifices
What goals are you trying to achieve and what are you doing to get there? I’m trying to do ten pull-ups by the end of this year. So far I’m at four, haha.