Have you made your New Year's Resolutions yet?
Did you know that planning is biblical? Solomon believed in the wisdom of planning. The Apostle Paul was a planner (2 Corinthians 1:15-17). But how do you make plans and set goals that honor the Lord?
Begin by honestly assessing where you are
Recently Deb and I were meeting friends in Rome, Ga. We arranged to meet at a restaurant in downtown Rome. I keyed the destination address into the GPS, but before it would calculate my route it required two vital pieces of information: my destination AND my present location.
Herein lies a principle: To get to where you desire to be, you must first begin by honestly evaluating where you are.
Ask yourself some basic questions:
Where are you relationally?
How are things in your relationships? God created us as relational beings. We need healthy relationships to live healthy lives. How are things with your spouse? Your children? Your parents? Your work associates? Do you have some close friends that you can share anything with and know they will not judge you, they won't blab, and they'll tell you the truth? You may need to make as your goal this year making at least one trusted friend.
Where are you financially?
Up to your ears in debt? Behind on planning for retirement? Need to start a savings account? Take an honest assessment of where you are financially.
Where are you physically?
Need to lose some weight? Need to get your cholesterol under control? Want to build your stamina? Start by taking a step... on the scales! Go the doctor for a check up.
Where are you professionally?
This is not about making more money. You may feel that you're in the wrong line of work or out of God's will entirely.
Where are you spiritually?
Leonard Ravenhill used to say, "You're as spiritual as you want to be."
If you are going to make the right plan you need to begin by taking an honest look at where you are.
Let me offer some tips:
1. Be Honest
Don't assume everything is great with your marriage. I cannot tell you the number of times a husband or wife came to me right after being handed divorce papers saying, "I never saw this coming; I thought things were great!" You know what they say about "assuming." Stop living in denial.
2. Take Responsibility
Don't waste time blaming your circumstances. Jesus said, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." Bad stuff happens. We can't control that. But we do have control over how we respond to the bad stuff that happens--and sometimes we influence our adverse circumstances by how we respond. I am not downplaying the impact of what happens. You may have lost someone dear to you and now you're grieving the lost. That is normal. But there is good grief and bad grief. The loss may have put you into an emotional spin, but you are going to have to grab the stick and fly out of it. No one is going to do that for you.
"What about God?" He is going to help. Lean on Him and trust Him. He will show you what He can do, but He desires to use you in the process.
3. Don't compare yourself to others
You ain't them! They ain't you! God made you different and God has a different plan for you.
4. Don't look back
Looking back can fill you with regret. Plus, we naturally gravitate toward what we look at. "Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old" (Isaiah 43:18).
Where do you want to be? The first step to getting there is to honestly take stock of where you are now.