By Deborah McCarragher –
Did the start of the New Year bring anxiety or dread? Are you over-committed? Do you feel like you’re running faster and faster to just keep up with everything?
Well – you’re not alone!
This year in particular I’m feeling a sense that God wants me to re-evaluate my day-to-day schedule and general life purpose. In preparation for this – I’m asking Him to validate and confirm His plans for me in the weeks and months ahead through His Word, His people, and His Spirit. There are even some private family matters that are stealing some of my time, energy and emotional stamina. All the more reason for me to press into God, and seek the mind of Christ in this matter.
I am putting these thoughts on paper (as well as in this post) for a reason: Writing things down brings a level of commitment that in turn helps us meet our goals. It’s an accountability method that God used with the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk. The Lord told him to, “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it” (Hab. 2:2). Habakkuk needed to deliberately cast the vision before the people as a catalyst for their obedience. God assured him that though the vision may be delayed far into the future, God would surely bring it to pass. God’s timing is not our timing. His ways are not our ways. If your plans are God-inspired, God ordained, and God led, they will come to fruition.
These are the four areas He is clearly speaking to me:
Prepare Plan Prioritize Pursue
This step involves quietness before the Lord. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God”. Prayer and spending time in God’s Word helps our Spirit prepare for what He has to say to us regarding our individual lives and service to Him. However, beware of choosing your own destiny. Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” God’s inspiration is often the medium used to bind the project spiritually to Him. His Spirit bears witness with your Spirit as you begin to walk in His will concerning your endeavors.
This is a two-step process:
1. Count the cost
2. Give your agenda to God
Counting the cost is helpful in determining your supply line and tools necessary to complete the venture. Jesus said in Luke 14:28-30, “…for which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it – lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.” Of course, He was talking about what it would take to become one of His disciples – but the principle still applies to your level of follow-through and commitment. Jesus will be the ultimate “supply line” and He will gift you for what He calls you to do. You may need to evaluate the time required, family obligations, health concerns, or other variables in order to say “yes” at this time in your life.
Giving your agenda to God involves the trustworthiness of His Sovereignty and knowing that He is the architect and builder of your blueprints. Psalm 33:10 says, “He [The Lord] makes the plans of the people of no effect.” In other words, when God interrupts our well-ordered and designed map for our life, we need to recognize and welcome it as an opportunity – not a hindrance. God’s route to the finish line will most likely not be what you had in mind.
This is ultimately the most effective way to bring about your plans in a smooth and stress-free manner. As Christians, God gives us spiritual purpose and direction. His love “compels us” to live for Him and serve Him in a way that bring Him glory.
How do we effectively prioritize all that we have to do? How do we determine in what order we should pursue our obligations and dreams? Learning how to prioritize is learning to focus on the necessary tasks. There are many things competing for your attention and time. Learning to listen to the Lord’s voice and the prompt of His Spirit is imperative to setting up your priorities. Not every good thing is a God thing.
Remember – when we submit to and honor our spouses, parents, employers and church leaders – we are doing it unto the Lord Himself. We need to use wisdom and spiritual sensitivity as we arrange our schedules and assignments. It’s okay to not say “Yes” to every invitation and ministry opportunity. Will you make the right decision every time? No! Just remember, “…all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
This step involves the volition of the will. We need to “go after” our dream, project or ministry with a genuine determination to lift Christ up and stay in the background. John the Baptist boldly proclaimed, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
The Apostle Paul told the church at Colosse, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23). Bless the Lord by pursuing your duties and projects with an attitude of gratitude – not a sour disposition. Do your personal best and rely on His strength, grace and gifting to provide the desired results. God wants your availability – not your ability.
To sum it all up – this year is my year for action. Not to run out and get ahead of God – but to fall in line behind Him – walking in His footsteps as we journey forward in life together.
I’m getting rather dizzy on that hamster wheel – and not getting anywhere either…
Deborah is the author of a Christian inspirational book for women titled “Mission Possible”. The book addresses living in a spiritually-uneven household. You can visit her website at http://www.spirituallyunevenmarriage.com for more information about her book.