Did you know God is a Planner? There are dozens of scriptures in the Bible that reveal the character of God. We can acquire a wonderful picture of who He is and how He operates when we spend time in His presence and read His Word (the Bible). Most of us know He is loving, forgiving and that He cares. But how many of us know He likes order, goals and planning?
One well-known scripture, Jeremiah 29:11, reads in the New Living Translation, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Let us be careful not to overlook the fact God actually spends time thinking of and planning a good life for us. What a beautiful thing to reflect on: the God who created the Universe knows us and has been planning our journeys. If there’s anyone that is going to have the best plans for our lives, it’s going to be God. He knows us better than we know ourselves and like a loving Father, He wants what is best for us. He has planned our future to be successful, prosperous, peaceful and healthy. If we want to ever know more about His plans for our lives, we can find it in the Bible by reading His promises.
God doesn’t want to be the only one planning. We know through scripture He wants us to imitate Him, and follow His lead (Eph. 5:1 ). If He is planning, we should too! Furthermore, Proverbs 29:18 tells us the importance of having a plan or a vision, which has a direct correlation to our happiness. Planners are happy people! Admittedly, I am extremely frustrated when I don’t accomplish all that I set out to do. I feel like I wasted precious time. No doubt, it’s easily attributed to the fact I never sat down to plan in the first place. I just rushed to finish the task and I ran into a few walls-the faithful injuries of those that don’t plan. In 1 Corinthians 14:40 in the amplified version, it says, “But all things must be done appropriately and in an orderly manner.” If you have a project, task or a goal, take a few minutes to plan it all out! You’ll avoid a lot pitfalls and the chance of that task never finishing.
Even Jesus encouraged us to plan to avoid incomplete tasks! In Luke 14:28-30 in the Message version, “Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you’re going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: ‘He started something he couldn’t finish.‘” Have you ever told your friends you’re going to do something and never did it? I can’t say how many times I was set on learning Spanish but failed to set up a lesson plan to learn. It’s been years later and I still don’t know enough Spanish to hold a conversation. Like the saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.
Years ago my husband would often tell me he doesn’t have to write out his goals. He’s already committed them to memory. At that time, he didn’t see the benefit to writing them down, until he learned what God said about the matter. He learned God advises us to write those goals down even if we do know them by heart! So, bring out the poster paper, markers and magazines! Vision boards are a God-idea! Habukuk 2:2-3 says, “And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” We’re encouraged in the scriptures to write those goals down, and make it plain. In other words, write it in bold letters on your poster boards so you can easily read it when you’re on the run (my daily life with 3 kids)! God knows He created visual beings. We are moved by what we see! Now put up images, quotes and goals that motivate you in the direction you want to go! Lastly, I love the latter part of the scripture because it tells us not to get discouraged about achieving our goals. Don’t worry about whether or not you’ll achieve those dreams! With God’s help you’ll get there! Now hang up that vision board!
Keep in mind, God never intended us to plan or goal-set without Him. Can we do it without his input? Absolutely! God NEVER forces His will or way on people! He gives us a choice. However it is in our best interest to always involve him. Jeremiah 10:23 tells us, “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” We don’t know what awaits us in the future but God does. He knows which path is best for our lives. It’s not going to be a journey without obstacles but it will be a journey where He is there to help us along the way. All we need to do is simply ask for His help, counsel and direction. God is always willing and waiting to help. You can find more about involving God in your planning process in Proverbs chapter 16.
If you’re ready to plan but don’t know where to start, here are a few tips:
- Get a pen and paper.
- Set aside uninterrupted time. You’ll have to put aside your phone, tablet and laptop.
- Pray and if you can fast (go without eating a meal). Simply ask for God’s leading and guiding. He puts passions, talents and dreams in the hearts of His children.
- Start dreaming. Jot down anything that inspires you.
- Need more direction? Write a goal specifically for your…
- Family (Want to start a new habit as a family? Want to take that European vacation?)
- Finances (Want to be debt free? Want to buy a car?)
- Faith (Want to draw closer to God? Start a devotional? Fulfill your God-given purpose?)
- Fitness (Want to improve your overall physical health?)
Lastly, when you have finished writing your goals, commit them to God! Ask Him for help on how to achieve them. The consistency, discipline, self-control and strength is going to come from Him. That’s what grace is all about!-The God-given ability to accomplish what He created us for. You’ll need to break down those goals into smaller steps so that your dreams are achieved. I never learned how to speak Spanish because I failed to set up a weekly schedule to learn and practice the language. Reflect on what you will need to do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis to actively work toward your dream. I admit this takes some work but in the end you’ll experience the kind of happiness God intended when you plan. Remember with His help all things are possible (Matt 19:26). Now start dreaming!