Wisdom Wednesday: Making Plans

IMG_1207 To.Do.List_qt.sm

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!

About Rene Yoshi

Just a transplanted Okinawan-French Southern girl with a wee bit o' Irish, sharing photography and what I'm learning about spiritual things, including putting off legalism and religious traditions, and embracing God's matchless love, tender mercy, and amazing grace! View all posts by Rene Yoshi

22 responses to “Wisdom Wednesday: Making Plans

  • Kris

    I have stepped out of the blog world for awhile and just recently re-emerged. As I was going through my reader I was hoping to find a post from you to see what you have been up to. I found great joy in hearing your ‘voice’ again! I have thought of you several times though I have been silent here.

    As a natural planner I found myself nodding my head to each of the quotes and your thoughts. My spouse on the other hand, is not a planner, never has been. I have seen first hand the results of an aimless life with no real goals but survival. There is nothing to plan for because there are no goals. It is sad to watch and I wonder how one like this can escape old age without regrets. Small goals, big goals, the size doesn’t matter, but it seems to me that the will of God would inspire in us something. Just musing. Glad to run into you again!

    • Rene Yoshi

      Aww, thank you, Kris. So glad you stopped by. I’m not sure if I would consider myself a natural planner, but I have learned to be more intentional, and making lists and writing things down sure does help. I agree that “Small goals, big goals, the size doesn’t matter,” but it does, indeed, seem that the will of God would inspire something within us. Thank you for musing! 🙂

  • Caddo

    I like the “small things done” one especially–I’m pretty good at that! God bless you BIG–love, sis Caddo

    • Rene Yoshi

      Me, too, Sis! Sometimes we have to do those small things to do the big, and isn’t it usually the small, everyday things that tend to matter most in the long run? Some people can handle a lot, while others can handle only one or two things. The Lord didn’t give everyone the same amount of talents or tasks; all He asks is that we are faithful with what He has given, right? Blessings to you! ((hug))

  • heavenlyraindrops

    I appreciate your thoughts here today, Rene. I can’t imagine how people live without to-do lists. The area I struggle with is spontaneity, though, which is common with us pathological planners! Blessings.

  • Randell Bell

    I love the quote – He who fails to plan, plans to fail & Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.” —Peter Marshall
    A pathological planner (Heavenly Raindrops) I like that, which describes me, not only do I plan, but I try to plan for every eventuality just in case. That in itself can cause stress. The group I use to work with had a unique planning strategy for success – KISS -Keep It Simple Stupid – the more complicated plans are the greater the chance for something to go wrong. Plan but be realistic. I think when Jesus was teaching about counting the costs one thing He was also trying to impart was planning before you start. Good one Rene 🙂 Luke14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?

    • Rene Yoshi

      Yes, I like the KISS strategy. I think it’s good to have a contingency plan, because things are unpredictable. Life is unpredictable. The unexpected often comes up, so it’s wise to plan for the unexpected, not only logistically, but mentally as well. Thank you, Randell! 🙂

  • Geraldine Van Biljon

    Oy!!

    This post was sooo for me Rene!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!! I have ”put-off” to many things for to long now! Please pray for me, I have allot to get done before this year is over!

    PLANNING STARTS NOW!!!!!!!!!!!

    xxxxxxxxxxxx

  • Scott

    “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” —Greek proverb

    Not only planning but selflessness too.How often do we rush with our plans for ourselves and forget to set aside time for others! Another timely bit of wisdom from the ‘Sweetster’!

    • Rene Yoshi

      Yes, I agree. Selflessness, too. In fact, planning things can free up some time so that we can be more available to serve others should the need arise. But if we fail to plan and merely react to our circumstances, life is more chaotic and stressful, which can cause us to focus more on ourselves and our own problems. Thank you for that insight, Scott! 🙂

  • gwennonr

    Dear Rene,

    Thank you for this good post. It is so well-written and also well-balanced.

    For years I have struggled to find the balance between too much planning and too much flexibility. It is a fine line that I have not yet started to accomplish. But this post gives me hope and a good template to refer to the next time I get really off track.

    After reading this post, I decided to do something I had been planning often but not following through on: praying through a scripted prayer book. There are 31 chapters, one for each day of the month. For years perfectionism and futility-thinking kept me from acting on that plan. But now, even though I may not (and probably won’t) see the results I want immediately, I’ll remind myself that all I need to do is just follow the guide, pray faithfully for a few minutes daily, and let God take care of the rest.

    Blessings on you!

    Best Regards,

    Gwennon

  • g.

    This wonderful post reminded me of the saying: ‘When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. ‘ Thank you Sweets, for a great reminder of a way we can make our own lives easier, and let our days contain more accomplishments. All we need to do is plan.

    luv,
    g.

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