Planning - More truths for Organized Living

Monday, June 21, 2010

I love weddings, don't you?

Maybe it's the romantic in me, but I think they are one of the best celebrations in a person's life. I also love the fact that they are usually well-orchestrated events. Yes there are some exceptions, but if you think about it most weddings happen without any problems. Why? Because someone spent months planning a 20-minute ceremony!

Regardless of how much time you put into a wedding, preparation is necessary. Without the proper plans, the groom wouldn't know when to enter, the attendants wouldn't know their order of procession, and the ring-bearer and flower-girl wouldn't know where to stand when they were finished walking down the aisle. Not to mention that the flowers would be at the wrong church, the cake would be in the hallway instead of the reception area, and people would be throwing rice instead of bird seed when the bride and groom left (gasp!). If everything is to go right on that very special day, planning is essential!

Why then, do we not take the time to plan the rest of the days of our lives? Granted, every day may not be as special as a wedding day, but the mere fact that we are given a new day seems pretty special to me. So why not take the time to plan out those special days, commonly known as life?

Benefits of planning

For most people, the idea of planning seems rigid and structured, taking away the fun and spontaneity of life. But if more people understood the benefits of planning their days, weeks, and months, then they would see that there is actually more freedom and time for the good things in life.

Although there are numerous benefits to planning and preparation, I want to focus on three:

1. We reflect God's character when we take the time to plan.

If you've been following my Truth for Organized Living blog series, then perhaps you will remember one of my earlier posts when I wrote: "if God is ________, then we are to be as well." I left the blank because you could put anything about God's character in there and the statement would hold true. In this case, we might say, "if God is a planner, then we are to be as well."

What? God a planner? Yes! He is the Master Planner. Scripture tells us that:

  • His plans stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart last through all generations (Psalm 33:11),
  • He knows the plans He has for us (Jer 29:11),
  • what He plans, He will do (Isa 46:11),
  • He has called us according to His purposes (Rom 8:28),
  • His purposes prevail (Prov 19:21),
  • He has prepared good works in advance for us to do (Eph 2:10)
There can be no doubt that God is a planner. He made plans before the creation of the world and He has a plan that will take care of the end of it as well. And God is not just any planner; He is a detailed planner! Read through Genesis 6:11-22 and Exodus 25-31 and you will see that God gave very specific and detailed plans for His children to follow.

God is our example, our inspiration, and our help. When we follow His lead and take the time to plan out our days, then we are reflecting the character of God to the world.

2. Taking the time to plan and prepare enables us to better handle the unexpected.

No matter how hard we try to control events and situations in our lives, unexpected urgencies find a way to surface. Rather than be overwhelmed by these urgencies we can act upon them, rather than react to them because we have confidence in ourselves, our plans, and in our ability to control the expected. By planning our days, we know that we are ready for whatever comes our way, can make changes when emergencies occur, and can laugh at the days to come (Prov. 31:25).

A great biblical example of this can be found in Matthew 25:1-13. In this parable 10 virgins were waiting for the bridegroom to come. Five of them were wise and five of them were foolish. The foolish ones brought their lamps, but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones also brought their lamps, as well as jars of oil to refill them. Since the bridegroom was a long time coming, they fell asleep waiting. When a cry rang out that the bridegroom had finally arrived, the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones had no oil to replenish their lamps and asked the wise ones for some of theirs. The wise ones didn't have enough to share, so the foolish virgins had to leave and go buy some more oil. While they were out, the bridegroom came and took those who were waiting on him to the wedding banquet and shut the door to those who were not present. The foolish virgins returned begging to get in to the festivities, but they were turned away.

No one likes to be caught off guard or blindsided by an emergency, but it can happen to any of us at any time. However, if we are wise, our preparation can help us handle those emergencies with a proactive attitude and a positive outlook rather than leave us scrambling to manage our affairs.

In addition, mismanagement of our time and efforts can cause us to miss out on some of life's greatest opportunities. As someone once said, "It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared." *

3. Profit or poverty?

From beginning to end, the Bible exemplifies the truth, "you reap what you sow". If you take the time to plan you will profit. If you are careless with your time you will suffer. Proverbs 21:5 verifies this:

"The plans of the diligent lead to profit, as surely as haste leads to poverty."

When we have the wisdom to plan ahead, we are more prosperous with our time, money, and other valuable resources that we might have otherwise wasted away because of carelessness or neglect. If we don't take the time or forethought to plan out our days, we give up more than we would like and miss out on opportunities for things we truly enjoy.

Which would you and I rather have - profit or poverty? The choice is ours alone.

Planning. For some it's a dirty word, for others it leads to life. Without it, though, you can't have an organized life.

I pray that you will allow these 3 benefits to motivate you to a lifelong habit of planning, so that you can have all that life has to offer. As Paul told the Ephesians, "Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity..." (Eph 5:15). With wise planning we can make the most of every day, so that no matter what happens, each one of them is special.

* quote by Whitney M. Young, Jr., American social reformer

Are you busy? More truths for an Organized Life

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Are you busy? So am I. But then again, who isn't these days?

Since we've uncovered the obvious - that we're all busy- a better question would be: why?

I thought about that the other day as I was recounting ALL the things I had to do, ALL the places I had to go, and ALL the demands that were required of me, and this is the conclusion I came to:


I laughed when the acronym popped into my head (via the Holy Spirit, no doubt), but after the humor wore off, I realized the truth in it. My life was busy because I chose to say "yes" to too many things. Maybe you can relate.

If you're like me, saying yes oftentimes comes quickly without thought or prayer. It's not bad that we say yes, but we have to realize that it's not always the answer we're supposed to give. The problem lies in the fact that we don't always give thought to what it is exactly we are supposed to do. We don't recognize that when we say "yes" to something, it means that we're saying "no" to something else. Why is that?

I think that the answer to that question is simple: we don't live by our priorities because we don't know what they are. When you and I don't have a clear understanding of how we are supposed to live, then we give whim to every opportunity that presents itself, and therefore become BUSY. It doesn't have to be that way though.

Because we are all different people with different situations, in different seasons of life it's impossible for me to say what your priorities should be or assume that they will be the same as mine. Only you can know what your priorities are, just as I can only know what mine should be. However, regardless of where we are in life the Bible tells us clearly what our first and utmost priority should be:

"But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." - Matthew 6:33

Once we put first things first, then everything else we have to do, to be, or to fulfill will be added to our lives accordingly. When we live by God's Word, then we can rest content, untouched by trouble (Proverbs 19:23). That means, we won't be so BUSY!

I want you to be encouraged that we can fit everything that needs to be in our lives when we keep it in proper perspective. I think Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People said it best, "Just think how different our lives can be when we really know what is deeply important to us, and, keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day around what really matters most."

Are you ready to do that?