Have you ever felt like your life was going nowhere or like you just can’t ever seem to get ahead? Maybe it’s just one area of your life, or maybe it’s your whole life. I often feel like I can never cage the paper tiger of bookkeeping or household management. But I do know from experience that when I do sit down and make a plan, things seem to run so much more smoothly and efficiently than when I don’t. Writing things down or keeping a To Do list on my phone helps me keep track of things. Planning can actually save time and money and help us reach goals we otherwise would never pursue without taking the time to make a plan and invest in it. Eleanor Roosevelt, the longest-serving First Lady of the U.S., said, “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” The problem with wishing and not planning is wishing never gets us anywhere. If we fail to plan, we will merely react and become a slave to our circumstances.
“The rich man plans for tomorrow, the poor man for today.” —Chinese proverb
“It is not good enough for things to be planned—they still have to be done; for the intention to become a reality, energy has to be launched into operation.” —Walt Kelly, American cartoonist
“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.” —Peter Marshall
Even when I take the time to plan, I often procrastinate in working my plan and then find myself stressed out, because I either have to rush through it, find myself running late, or unable to obtain the needed supplies I thought I’d just be able to pick up quickly. Has that ever happened to you? When we procrastinate, we don’t leave room for the unexpected. That’s what happened with the past two weeks of Wisdom Wednesday— procrastination and unforeseen circumstances. Procrastination costs more. If we procrastinate in paying a bill, we end up paying more because of late fees or finance charges.
Some people are good at daily planning while others are great at long-term planning. I admire my friends, Mary Ellen and Diane, because they are great at planning daily, weekly and monthly activities while remaining very flexible so they can serve and bless others. I admire my friend, Barb, who is great at long-term planning. She purposely sets money aside so she can take vacations and visit long distance family members. I admire my friend, Tabitha, a single mother, who is great at planning and multitasking in her career and ministry, while maintaining a budget and a close relationship with her daughter. And I admire my friend, Jean, who has great organizational and planning skills and is very productive.
Some Christians fail to make plans, because they misunderstand Matthew 6:34, which says, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” They think they are fully trusting the Lord by not planning, but there’s a difference between worrying or being anxious about tomorrow versus planning for tomorrow. The Bible encourages wise planning and seeking godly advisers when making plans. God promises to take care of us, but we have a responsibility to live wisely. The thing to remember when making plans is to pray and remember that God is sovereign and our plans may not match up with His, so we need to be flexible and willing to adjust.
“There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.” —Proverbs 19:21
“For man plans, but God arranges.” —German proverb
“Any plan is bad that cannot be changed.” —Italian proverb
Another thing about planning is to be diligent and not give up if we don’t see immediate results, like with a weight loss plan or a career plan that begins with education. Or think Karate Kid. Some things take more time and effort.
“Time is always a factor in sowing and reaping. If one plants a seed today, one does not expect to see the end result tomorrow.” —Gary Runn
“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” —Greek proverb
“…the best possible way to prepare for tomorrow is to concentrate with all your intelligence, all your enthusiasm, on doing today’s work superbly today. That is the only possible way you can prepare for the future.” —Dale Carnegie
“The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.” —Proverbs 21:5
“A little impatience, spoils great plans.” —Chinese proverb
Some people encourage others to just go for it! Chase your dreams with wild abandon! But to do so without some sort of plan would be foolish. You don’t have to jump off and jump in. That would be like jumping into deep water when you don’t know how to swim. Just take the first step. Come up with a plan and work it!