When I was a very young adult, a few of my close girlfriends and I established an annual practice that we doggedly maintained year after year. During the first few weeks of every year, our habit was to carefully contemplate and then memorialize our personal goals for the remainder of that year. By willingly and openly sharing our plans, we were holding ourselves accountable – one to another. This habit of ours was one that worked well for me over the years. I recall being eager and excited to ask my girlfriends throughout the year for progress reports on their stated goals. Knowing that I’d be asked the same, I was equally eager to make steady progress on my own goals.

As a busy wife, working mother and First Lady, a time-starved schedule has prevented me from gathering with girlfriends at the start of each year for our annual exchange. More importantly, while I am still as energetic and ambitious as ever, my entire goal-setting process has experienced a radical makeover during the past few years. I still revisit my personal, family and ministry goals frequently – typically during the first few months of every year. Today, however, the most significant shift in my goal-setting is that my goals are NOT my own.

Today, before I commit to any objective, I must feel confident that it is one provided to me by God as a direct result of my time in prayer with Him. Today, I understand that when my goals have come out of time in prayer with God, I can go to Him boldly and with the utmost confidence. It is when I’ve opened my heart to God and made myself available to him that I can ask for his favor and grace to help me achieve these goals. Today, I understand that God empowers His children to achieve those goals that are aligned with His will. Today, I move swiftly and with purpose knowing that my steps are ordered by the Lord, that He moves in and through me and that all of my strength comes from Him.

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. (1 John 5:14, 15 – NKJV)