New Thoughts On The Year Ahead by Jennifer Deshler
Has your December, like mine, been bombarded with emails, social media posts, and offers for free webinars full of top-secret formulas for ways to have a great 2015? In one week, I had nine different people email me with offers for calendars, online programs, and books meant to help me plan the perfect year.
Maybe I’ve missed the boat completely, or maybe I am stubborn (okay, both of those are actually true), but I just don’t think there’s a magic formula. In listening to what several of these gurus had to say, there’s a not-surprising similarity in the actions needed to skyrocket to success in the next year: plan, hustle, network, hustle, dream big, plan some more, and hustle.
As someone who followed the above model for many years, and ended up with a sad heart, empty relationships, and a craving to make a difference in a more tangible way, I am trying something different this year. Yes, I firmly believe in planning, setting goals, and for that matter, a good dose of “hustle,” but not in my own strength or wisdom.
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
This year, my approach is going to look more like this:
1. Be faithful in the small things-there are parts of my work life and home life I don’t like. I love to sit with people and create strategies for projects, but I don’t like some of the details of making them a reality. And at home, I would be a happy camper if I never had to pay another bill or balance another checkbook. But in doing the small, mundane, ordinary tasks, we show our faithfulness in handling bigger, more important work. Sometimes I forget that, and am making a plan that includes intentional focus on the little things. Because the little things often become the big things.
2. Rethink the calendar- By nature, I’m a planner and go-getter. I need to-do lists, and geek out over new planners and yearly calendars, because I like/need to be busy. But in the past, I hadn’t made space in my planning to invite God into the conversation. What would it look like if we let God lead our plans? What if we trust Him for direction today, every day? We can still hustle and dream, but if we step out of the drivers’ seat and allow Him to direct our steps, the work begins to line up with our purpose, and our ordinary becomes extraordinary.
3. Give more than I take-I once had a boss who told me that his philosophy was to leave every conversation having made one point which caused others to think. He didn’t need to be the most vocal or the smartest…he just went into every discussion with a humble mindset that allowed his best to come out because he wasn’t trying to prove anything. Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to employ that method in everything I do. When I think about what I want to be known for some day, I hope what’s said is that I gave far more than I took. My friendships were real and life giving, my work and ideas allowed businesses and ministries to expand, and my life pointed people to an audacious and loving Father who had fulfilled His promise of a plan and purpose for each of us. Making that legacy a reality begins with what we do tomorrow and the next day. As Bob Goff says, Love Does.
Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself(Matthew 6:33-34)
Scripture makes it clear that God wants us to have goals and make plans.
But this year, I’m going to try less striving and more seeking.
Less fear and more faith.
What about you? How have you planned for the year ahead in the past? Anything you want to do differently in 2015?
Please comment below.