Planning for a new year

image Over the years I realize more and more the great importance of planning and looking ahead. It’s wise to remember that our days are numbered and the time we’ve been given to live life is a precious gift. There remains the temptation to excuse our lack of planning or organization and attribute our lack in this area to the fact that we are “laid back” or “last minute folk” or not “planners by nature”.”  It’s all too easy sometimes to excuse ourselves as women and to write off our messy closets and un-tidy homes because we are in a difficult season with little ones or whatever the case may be.

God’s Word tells us differently. It reminds us that order is not just for the type A personality. It’s a mark of wisdom. And while we are all a work in progress, we should be walking towards Godliness. Instead of letting the years pass us by, we are reminded of our need to plead with God to remind us how fleeting our time really is.

“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.”

Psalm 39:4-5

It’s about that time. As 2010 approaches, I’ve cracked open my journal and begun jotting down some goals and praying through my priorities for this new year. Sometimes it’s discouraging to think how long I have to go. But other times there are great glimpses of hope. Hope that a new year brings. Hope of change that can take place within my own heart as I keep handing my days, my hours and my minutes over to the Lord – planning with an open-hand – a flexible hand keenly aware that God orders our ways. And it’s always best that way…

With that in mind, my incredibly wonderful pastor-husband has helped me to think simply as I tend to get overwhelmed at planning yearly goals.

1. Shepherd yourself

2. Shepherd your family

3. Shepherd others

With this simple outline in mind, I’ve begun jotting down some goals for the year under each category. Right now some of these things include: reading through the Bible, reading 6 edifying  books, memorizing a scripture passage each month, fasting once a week and spending time in prayer each morning before my children wake up. I’m still working through many more yearly goals and will post the entire plan hopefully in a few days.  May you find grace in your own lives to pray and plan and, in doing so, find peace that comes from a God of order and not chaos. And may you do it all with the awareness that our efforts are merely efforts. They don’t save us and they don’t condemn us when we can’t always follow through. Rather, they remind us of the Gospel’s power – to redeem a people helpless to redeem themselves.