I like to know where I’m going. When our family takes trips, I want to know we have a place to lay our head at night. A clean place, I might add! I find it hard to enjoy sight seeing if we haven’t reserved a place. This is especially true when we’ve had the great opportunity to travel abroad. I exert a lot of time and energy to plan ahead before we pack our bags. After we arrive at the airport and make it through security, I can relax.
Our daughter, Ginny, recently commented that she just enjoys the trip without concern and has always had a great time. I gently reminded her that on most of her trips, someone else planned them so she could relax!
Sometimes plans don’t work well. They can even add stress. Last spring when Larry and I flew standby to northern California using Ginny’s flight benefits, the fact that we had nonrefundable accommodations actually added stress when it looked like there were no seats on any flights out. We went to bed knowing there were zero seats available leaving Raleigh west the next day.
At 2 AM, Ginny still up searching the internet for two seats, asked God for a miracle. She immediately felt prompted to call US Air. Now Ginny works in reservations for American Airlines and has never had to call an airlines to find a seat. She knows all the tricks of finding seats through the internet. But she obeyed the prompt and was rewarded with seats. It wasn’t until our connecting flight in Arizona that we found out why US Air had an unlisted half empty plane. It had been added at midnight for this one flight to carry passengers from an aircraft whose air conditioning had gone out the night before. Impossibilities become opportunities to see God work in amazing ways. So don’t fail to plan because you can’t foresee all the roadblocks or solutions.
Just as it can be helpful to plan a trip, it is helpful to plan a year. New years are good times to review our lives and consider where we are headed. Even though we can’t control all the variables we can set our aim. Some sage has said, “Aim at nothing and you will hit it every time.” Paul said that he did not run aimlessly (1 Cor.9:26). We need a clear aim.
In setting your aim, let me offer some suggestions. First, consider your life aim. This year is just a leg in the greater race of life. Ken Boa has pointed out that most of us spend more time planning a week’s vacation than we spend planning the direction of our lives. Ask God for a verse. I find having a verse to ponder throughout a period of time keeps me centered and focused. Sometimes it is a phrase from a verse. The year I got my ipod I engraved Romans 15:13 on it to remind me: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Seeing joy, peace and hope connected with “as you trust in Him,” was my focus.
Secondly, fast-forward to the end of 2010. What do you want to be different in your life? Ask God His suggestions. He just may have some for you! What is your aim in the areas of your family, spiritual development, career, personal growth, finances and ministry? Work backwards. You may want to create monthly, weekly or quarterly steps to help you arrive at your goal. Reasonably pace yourself and reap the reward!
Next, write it down. Did you know that writing your goals down statistically increases the likelihood you will reach them? Do you want to spend more quality time with your spouse? Write down when and how you plan to incorporate that into your life. Do you want to read certain books? List them. Pray about your desires. Ask God to open doors, instruct and lead you on this journey. Someone has said the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing, expecting different results. Creating new habits takes discipline, but having a goal in mind of why we are making changes helps us stay motivated.
We may not be able to see what is ahead this year, but if our aim is to walk with God and please Him, we will! Through His strength, regardless of the circumstances we encounter, we can experience hope and joy. The One who writes our story will be our guide if we seek Him.
Let me close with Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. plans to give you hope and a future.” This is God’s desire for you.
Happy New Year,
P.S. Our ladies Bible Study will begin on January 13th. We will be studying the book of Daniel and will meet at the office on Wednesdays from 7-9 PM. It is a 12 week study. Please email or call for more information.