Always Write Your Plans in Pencil
- Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Are your plans working out? Are you frustrated and perhaps even a little angry at God because your goals are falling short or disappearing altogether? What is going on?
When we experience unemployment, especially extended unemployment as so many Americans are, we cry out to God for His help. But exactly what kind of help are we asking Him for? When our plans are so drastically altered by a huge change in our lives, what is our attitude supposed to be? What perspective should we bring to a monumental test of faith and future?
All my life I have been a list maker. When I was a Boy Scout and we were going camping, I remember making a list of all the things I wanted to take and then crossing things off to get the items to a manageable number I'd be able to carry in my backpack. I was even told Santa Claus made a list and checked it twice It became confirmed in my thinking that for ordering my life, lists were an excellent idea.
As I started my career in television advertising I quickly discovered that a daily "to do" list made activities go more smoothly and helped me achieve my daily, monthly, and yearly goals. Lists were, and still are, a great way to get my thoughts organized and heading in the right direction.
When I was making a career change from television to newspaper advertising, I clearly remember a prospective employer asked me what I wanted to be doing in five years. I realized I hadn't made a list of my future plans and goals. So I did.
Most experts on finances tell us that making a shopping list will cut down on impulse spending and assist us in controlling our expenditures. Even in writing my first book, I would start with a title, and then add a list of chapter headings and a list of subtexts I wanted to cover. I put the lists together and "poof" - I had a book. In a "Harper's Bazaar" article Martha Stewart recently said, "Life is too complicated not to be orderly." I couldn't agree more. To stay focused on complicated tasks there is nothing like a good list.
God even uses lists. The Ten Commandments is a great example, and the Sermon on the Mount also gives us a wonderful list to consider. Once you start looking for them, the Scriptures are full of places where God gives us lists. In all my years of Bible study and career up's and down's I finally learned one of the most significant lessons of my life. God wants us to make plans.
Prepare plans by consultation, And make war by wise guidance. Proverbs 20:18
The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.
He is an organized God, and He likes it when we organize our lives - especially when our organizing is done in order to obey, serve, and please Him and bring glory to His Son, Jesus Christ.
But just making the list of plans wasn't my significant lesson. The most important thing I learned as I went through various trials in my life was, "Never use a pen to make your list." There is absolutely nothing permanent about my list.
The mind of man plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9
God wants man's mind to make his plans, but the Lord keeps the prerogative of overriding any plan that doesn't conform to His sovereign will. As we list our plans and goals we can't see into the future. We can't even see how God may want to use us to accomplish His purposes in the people around us. So, as we go through our lives God has the right to change our plans.
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