When a Plan Comes Together
by Steph Beth Nickel
Planners. Journals. Notebooks.
Do you love them as much as I do?
Maybe you make a simple To Do List on paper or on your phone.
Maybe you keep it all in your head. (Kudos if you do!)
Still, there’s a challenge no matter what method you use to record your plans, hopes, and dreams … follow-through.
I can make a mean To Do List. I can decorate it with stickers and even use fancy writing if I’m so inclined. But none of that matters unless I take the needed steps to make my plans come together.
Sadly, creating a beautiful, comprehensive list and then lying back on the couch to watch “just one more episode” on Netflix doesn’t get me any closer to my goals.
Plus, nine times out of ten, I fall asleep. And when I wake up, I either 1) restart the episode I missed or 2) head to bed, promising myself I’ll do better the next day.
So, what practical steps can you and I take to move beyond list-making?
- As much as possible, head to bed at the same time every night and rise at the same time every morning.
- Get regular exercise.
- Eat well.
- Pray before putting pen to paper, asking God to guide you as you make your list.
- Be honest with yourself. Just how much can you reasonably accomplish in one day? Your list should reflect reality.
- Your list should also reflect what is truly important, including time with God, family, and friends.
- Assign a time for each task, remembering to factor in “the margins,” times to catch up on projects that take longer than expected, and scheduled downtime.
- Pray again, committing your plans to Him. After all, Proverbs 16:9 is true, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (ESV).
February 17 was Family Day. I had prepared what I felt was a reasonably long list of things I wanted to accomplish, most of them in my home office. Before I got busy there, I did some extras around the house, which turned out to be a very good thing. Not only did I enjoy looking around at the less cluttered areas I had dealt with but also, we had unexpected company. (See Proverbs 16:9 above.)
I was able to sit and chat with a young man who has been a friend of the family for many years. And as it turns out, he has been reading the Bible in order to overcome his dark thoughts and draw close to the Lord. He wants to begin coming to church and was asking about baptism. What a wonderful way to spend an hour or so!
Our visit reminded me of the importance of positioning myself to be ready to be a blessing—online and in person. While sleep will still lure me away, tempting me to procrastinate and escape the overwhelm that prowls around the perimeter of my mind, there are steps I can take to make my plans come together—and steps I can take to be attentive when the Lord is bringing His plans together.
How do you handle your To Do List? What potential stumbling blocks do you have to overcome? What suggestions could you add to the list above?
Steph Beth Nickel is a communicator who seeks to Nurture and Inspire in her many eclectic endeavours: editing, writing, podcasting, etc. Steph coauthored Paralympian Deb Willows’s memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances. Steph and Deb are working on a follow-up, tentatively titled Keep Looking Up. Steph is also a regular contributor to HopeStreamRadio. You can connect with her on Facebook or via email.