Tag Archives: plan

4 Steps to Planning the Year

sunset over the seaby Lydia Floren

I am a planner.  Not in the “control freak” kind of way, just in the wanting-to-be-intentional-about- life way.  So, the new year is an important time for me.  Toward the end of the year, I start to think about where I have been, where I am going, and how best to get there.  In January, I typically set aside a day or two to review and  make some specific plans for the coming year.  What does that look like for me?  Well, it is different every year. Some years I am more detailed, others I just sketch out a more general framework. But my planning process always seems to involve these four steps:

Four Steps to Planning the Year:

  1. Reflect
  2. Review
  3. Refocus
  4. Revise

 

Reflection:

  • What happened in the last year?  Events? Relationships? Commitments? Life situations?
  • How have I seen God working in these things?
  • How have I grown? What have I learned?

Review:

  • What were my goals/priorities/commitments from last year?
    • Life goal:
    • Other goals:
    • Priorities:
    • Permanent commitments:
  • How has my time spent in the last year, aligned with my life goals, priorities, commitments?

Refocus:

  • Ask God, “What is Your perspective of what has happened in the last year?”
  • Are there any goals/priorities/commitments I need to change  or moving forward?
  • Are there specific plans that need to be revised? Ditched? Formulated?

Revise:

  • What do I see as the best strategy to achieve my goals in the coming year?  In two years? In 5 years?
  • How does that translate into how I use my time on a daily/weekly/monthly basis?
  • What will help me to keep my life aligned with these goals/plans?

During this process, I continue to pray and seek God’s guidance, insight, and wisdom in each of these steps.  And, at the end, I just give my new plans and schedule to God, and ask Him to show me what revisions need to be made.

What is your approach to planning?

What Should I Do Now? Making Plans

2:25:16 What should I do Nowby Lydia Floren

Last week in “What Should I Do Next?”, I wrote about making plans. I’m not going to lie. Planning takes time and perseverance. It is hard to make myself take a chunk of time to pray through and decide what is the best way to spend my time and resources.

But tough choices aren’t just limited to making plans.

When we face dilemmas, we ask ourselves, “What should I do now?
Many times we are faced with dilemmas in life – difficult relationships, career decisions, parenting concerns. Everything seems muddled. We can feel totally at a loss about how to respond, or which way to go. And it stresses us out. We need wisdom beyond our own understanding.

Proverbs 2 has some great insight:
“If you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” Prov. 2:1-5

Here’s another way to say these verses:

Steps Toward Wisdom (paraphrase of Prov. 2:1-5)

  • Accept and store up God’s word:  make a practice of exposing yourself to the truth of God’s word and God’s presence every day. Respect it. Let it sink into your heart and spirit.
  • Listen: Pay attention to how God might be speaking to you in your situation. Do your best to try to understand what He is saying in your heart through His word and His presence.
  •  ASK HIM for His perspective on your situation. Plead with Him to increase your understanding beyond what you can do on your own.
  • Search for God’s wisdom. Actively look for His insight. Let that be the most important thing to you, more important than the facts that you have gathered, your own conclusions, or the opinions others.

When you do these things, you will find the knowledge you seek about what your next steps should be. And you will experience just how amazing God is.

Remembering our highest priority keeps everything in perspective.
When we make our relationship with God our highest priority, He helps us put everything in perspective, and gives us wisdom beyond our own understanding.

Is your relationship with God your highest priority in life? How do your choices of how you spend your time and resources reflect that priority? What plans/steps can you make to better accept, listen, ask and search for God’s wisdom?

“And you will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart. And I will be found by you, declares the Lord.”  Jer. 29:12

What Should I Do Next?

2:19:16 What should I do Nextby Lydia Floren

Did you know that God is a planner? He said, “I know the plans that I have for you, plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope.” In my opinion, part of following God is learning to ask for His wisdom, and make plans.

Plans remind me of what is most important.
Every January, I take some time to pray about the coming year, review priorities, goals and commitments. and make some plans. This time of prayerful planning helps me remind myself of what is most important, and then set goals that align accordingly.

Plans keep me from getting sidetracked.
Making plans also helps me because I am easily distracted. I have lots of interests, and it is easy for me to collect projects like some people collect stray cats. I have learned that when I pray and plan at the first of the year, and then periodically revisit those plans, I am more likely to not get sidetracked. Later in the year when I am juggling a half dozen incomplete projects, and I am driving myself crazy (ok, others, too), I can refer back to this plan and have some guidance about which time commitments to continue and which to set aside.

Plans help in answering what should I do next?
Do things go according to plan? Not always – sometimes not at all. But having the reference point of a prayfully made plan really helps when I get mired down in everyday life, and keeps me focused on what is really important. It helps me answer the questions,  “What should I do next?” and “What should I do now?”

What benefits do you get from making plans? Have you prayed about any plans for this year?

Pray Plan Pray

2:5:16 Pray Plan Prayby Lydia Floren

On my recent trip to India, one of the leaders of IBL had these three words at the top of his whiteboard:  “Pray Plan Pray.”

I love this!  Pray first, then plan, and then pray through your plans.

You know, the New Year is just getting underway. This is an excellent time to look back and forward, and “pray plan pray.”

Here is one way you can do this:

Praying GRACE for the New Year

Give thanks for…

  • Right now.
  • Your life:  The past year.  The coming one.
  • God’s presence and His goodness.
  • All God has been doing, and all He continues to do.

Release…

  • The past.  Disappointments.  Pain.  Resentment.  Regret.  Sin.  Shame.  Guilt.
  • Expectations you have of others.  And that others might have of you.
  • The future.  Fear.  Worry.  Uncertainty.

Accept…

  • Where you are right now.
  • Yourself as you are:  imperfect and in process.
  • God’s love and forgiveness.
  • God’s wisdom/direction for the coming year.
  • Responsibilities God has already given you.
  • Ownership of your life and your decisions.

Continue…

  • Praying about your priorities and goals.
  • Listening for God’s direction.
  • Outlining plans for the year.
  • Deciding which one or two habits to cultivate in the coming year.

Enjoy…

  • Each day, recognizing it for the gift that it is.
  • The process of prayerful planning.
  • God’s constant presence with you, within you – loving you, leading you, touching others through you.

Praying GRACE is a wonderful way to start the year. But however you choose to dive in to 2016, don’t forget to Pray Plan Pray.

What plans have you made for the coming year?