Could you use some help with planning ahead more consistently?
I’ve been trying to plan ahead more this year and after several months of putting it to practice, I can say it makes a huge difference!
When my big kids were little, I started getting a meal plan together each week. It’s saved frustrations more times than I can count. But I used to forget to plan ahead for church events, birthdays, and holidays. Then I was left scrambling at the last minute.
As a result, I was filled with anxiety instead of peace. Not only was I less productive, but my lack of planning negatively affected others. No bueno.
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Should Christians Practice Planning Ahead?
You might be wondering, “Should Christians even bother to plan ahead? If Jesus is going to return any day now, what does it matter?”
Does the Bible address the subject of planning ahead?
I think it does. Now I’m not saying you need to seek God for His will on what theme to have for your child’s birthday party, but the principle of planning ahead is biblical. That means you can apply it to not only your overall life and calling, but in your day-to-day living as well.
This passage in James might make you think otherwise at first glance, but look at it carefully:
Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.”
How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.
What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”
Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.
Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it. James 4:13-17 NLT
The key is knowing God’s will for your plans and then following through with them.
Here’s another passage that solidifies this thought:
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:15-17 NASB
In Jeremiah, we see that God made plans for His people:
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. Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
Since He is one who practices planning ahead, then it’s good for you and me, too.
Biblical Wisdom on Planning Ahead
But have you ever made plans that didn’t turn out the way you thought they would?
God has some truth about plans:
The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit.
Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.
Proverbs 16:1-3 ESV
Verse one tells us plans begin in your heart, but God is the one who reveals His will and the timing of it.
Verse two touches an important issue because it helps you reflect on your motive. Is it feeding you? Your plans can’t be what are driving you. You can’t thrive off of the coming results of your plans.
Verse three gives you the wisdom to bring the plans to completion. The word “commit” in that verse is galal, a Hebrew word that means to transfer what is rolled away from oneself to another.
In other words, give it to God. Because plans come and go, sometimes change, and might be destroyed. But God’s Word is everlasting.
Continually give your plans to God and be fed by His life-giving words. Then your plans will be established. That means He’s going to take care of them.
If God has plans for His children, then we see that He is one who practices planning ahead. Then it is good for you and me, too.
There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the LORD’s counsel—that will stand. Proverbs 19:21 NKJV
5 More Bible Verses on Planning Ahead
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12 ESV
The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1 NASB
Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22 ESV
The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9 NASB
For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Luke 14:28 NASB
Tools for Planning Ahead
Here’s a quick overview of how to plan ahead:
- Plan a quarter of the year ahead at a time. Look ahead from today’s date and find what would be the closest date to plan the whole quarter. Let’s say it’s December 26, so you could start at the end of March and work backwards.
- Look at dates that are already established, such as birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. Anticipate your regular events.
- Begin making lists for what you need to do, buy, or make. Give yourself reasonable deadlines to get everything done without stressing out.
- Give yourself a month’s time frame for a buffer. For example, if you started on December 26 and have an event on January 2nd, that doesn’t give you a whole lot of time to plan. Don’t ask me how I know this.
I used to think it was way more complicated than this, but it’s really not.
Some great planning tools:
Currently, I use the Tools4Wisdom planner and find it to be worth the cost.
If you were to look in my planner, you’d find lots of mini-post-it notes. They are so convenient. I love to categorize by color.
Or if you’re on a budget, check out these printable, customizable, blank planners for free from plaaan.com.
I love these inspiring quotes from previous presidents:
In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable. ― Dwight D. Eisenhower
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. ― Benjamin Franklin
The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining. [State of the Union Address January 11 1962] ― John F. Kennedy
You could even make your own planner and create inspirational pages with these quotes and the verses above to help keep you motivated.
Thrive with planning your Daily Time with God too:
It’s a good idea to plan ahead with your Daily Time with God, too. I mean, have you ever finished a Bible study or devotional and didn’t know what to study next?
If you know what you’re doing next ahead of time, you will be less likely to break your habit while trying to find a new study, reading plan, or devotional.
If you would like a new devotional, check out 15 Days of Walking with God. Get your free download here.Could you use some help with planning ahead more consistently? Here are some tools, how to, and inspiration to get you started.
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