I have a love-hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions.
The Type A part of me loves making lists. I love thinking over the last year and listing accomplishments and hard times and vacations and milestones. I love thinking of the new year and thinking what might be.
But a few passages of Scripture have been ringing in my ears right past the echoing fireworks this morning.
From Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.
and Proverbs 16:9
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
and to drive the point home further, James lays it down in James 4:13-16
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.
I strongly believe one of the greatest tactics of Satan is distraction. We don’t fulfill our purpose because we are distracted by something else–and probably not something evil. Perhaps something good, even.
Maybe that thing you have resolved to do seems good, but if it isn’t aligning with what God wants for you, what good is it?
James doesn’t suggest we don’t make plans. However, many of us, myself included, are making plans on our own. We don’t consult God on what His plans are for us for 2013. Plans are fine but James is suggesting we hold them loosely and know that ultimately God is in control.
Given that, here are 5 ideas to remember when planning for 2013.
#1 Consult God in Your Planning
First and foremost, don’t try to conjure up your resolutions, goals or plans on your own. God certainly cares about those resolutions you’re making and he has plans far greater and more wonderful than you could on your own. Ask him to reveal what he can.
#2 Don’t Ignore the Small and Random
I have this nagging feeling that God isn’t going to lay out a detailed A to Z plan for you.
What I see in Scripture is God telling people to do something today and sometimes, in this moment and a lot of times it’s downright random. Something small, maybe something random but it’s probably a piece to a larger puzzle. Don’t ignore the small and random.
You may not see the puzzle come together in 2013. Small steps you take in 2013 may take longer to see impact but it could have impact not just for the year but for generations to come.
#3 Resolve to Consult Every Day
One resolution we can all add is to consult God every single day. Sure, God might have given you a long-term dream, but ask him each day what he wants you to accomplish that day to bring your goal to fruition.
#4 Be Open to Changes
For us control freaks, changes to our plans and unchecked boxes are our worst nightmare. Don’t be surprised though when God surprises you. Ultimately, as Proverbs says, the Lord’s plans prevail.
Something will happen this year you’re not expecting. It’s ok if all the checkboxes don’t get checked. Sometimes goals don’t get completed in our ways or in our timing.
#5 Give God Glory in the Success (And Failures)
One thing James was clear about is that boasting about our plans is downright evil. When we make goals, come at them with a posture of humility. If we are consulting him, they’re not our plans anyway!
If we plan with God’s help and follow through, make plans now in your heart to give God glory for what He’s done. In fact, go ahead and give God glory for what he’s going to do. Even if your plans don’t seem successful by man’s standards, perhaps God wants you to pursue something just for the journey, not for the end goal. Remember, his ways are not like ours!
Tsh over at SimpleMom has some great resources for you to think about 2013. I wish us all a very blessed year and may God lead us all into the great things He has planned!