How to Plan Your Year According to the Bible
With how 2020 went, it is hard, intimidating, and overwhelming to start planning for the uncertainty of 2021. I’ve been really praying over what God desires for this year, for That’s Real Radio content, the e-newsletter, my husband’s youth ministry, family friends… What’s your list of unchecked plans?
It’s so funny how 2020 was the first year that I set goals, bought a super nice planner, and started journaling progress in my career, graduate school and relationships. Wow, this past year went so differently than I had planned.
This year I want to check my heart as I plan. If there’s a lesson I learned from the hard year we all experienced, it’s that I am not in control. I don’t know what will happen the next second, much less the next year, and that God knows my future. God is good and I am not going to plan out of fear. How are you doing with plans? Has it been hard with kids being home? A lost job? Delayed dreams? I hear you and I see you. Most importantly, God sees and hears you.
I could get on my laptop and type out some easy ways to plan for this uncertain year, but what about going through scripture and learning what God has to say about plans — after all, He created time.
- Take one day at a time. (Matthew 6:34)
- Pray over your plans and dreams. (Psalm 20:4)
- Put some soul into it. Plan for God not for others. (Colossians 3:23)
- Ask for advice and accountability. (Proverbs 15:22)
- Make God’s goal your life goal.
Take One Day at a Time
In 2020 I had the weekly planner from the Passion Planner. There were some days where I didn’t even look at it because it was so overwhelming to look at my week. I did, however, write in a journal. I listed a daily checklist, things I learned, and creative ideas that would come to mind. Somehow this helped. I ran across an article written by a therapist who was struggling with anxiety in 2020. She said she started using a daily planner instead of a weekly one. She said her anxiety decreased quickly. Does this sound familiar to you? Take one day at a time. That’s because we find this truth in Matthew 6:34. Right after Jesus is talking about how much God cares for the birds and the flowers he says in Matthew 6 how much more does he care for us… verse 34 says, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” When planning ahead make plans and break it down for each day. If you plan for the month once a month and not everyday you will limit your anxiety and stress. Take one day at a time.
Pray Over Your Plans and Dreams
Sometimes we think our dreams are too small for our big God or sometimes we think our dreams are too big for our perspective of God. God’s name in Hebrew is YAHWEH, which is such a holy name that in the Hebrew language was never written with vowels. I love what David wrote in Psalm 20:4, “May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans.” He was writing about God’s name YAHWEH in chapter 20. YAHWEH is translated THE LORD. David is talking about the LORD who will provide deliverance and victory physically and spiritually. So yes, God can fulfill all of your plans and grant you your heart’s desire. He is the only one who has the power to do that. He is THE LORD. And guess what!? Since you are a child of God, you can talk to Him about those goals, desires, and plans.
Put Some Soul Into Your Plans
Make plans for God and not for others in your life. One big idol I had to overcome was making plans for my life that would make my parents proud. Making your parents proud isn’t a bad goal, however, they don’t have a direct line to God. Same with whoever you look up to. Could be your auntie, your older sibling, a friend, a professor, or a boss. What others deem successful God may not. Seek Him with your plans. He’s so consistent too and will not change His mind or be disappointed in you. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily or from the soul, as for the Lord and not for men… the verse goes on to echo what Colossians 3’s message is:
Lasting soul motivation comes from knowing that the Lord is sovereign and that we are actually serving Him. Do you want soulish passion for your job, what you’re studying, how you serve your family? Do it for Jesus.
Ask For Advice and Accountability
I was talking to a college student recently who stated they don’t have a mentor or someone who is speaking into their life who isn’t a peer. I remember those days… The first two years of college I only had peers speaking into my life. Not good. I met with professors when I was a junior and senior in college… best thing I ever did in college. Getting advice from experts in your field, teachers, or co-workers who have been doing what you want to do is so key. The thing that keeps us back from letting people with more experience give advice has to be pride. It takes a level of humility to ask for guidance or advice. I can tell you right away, I don’t know a single “successful” person who got to where they were without listening to advice. When you plan for the next steps in your career, do yourself a favor, and let someone further along in their journey speak into your life.
Accountability is slightly different than a mentor. Having accountability can be anyone in your life. You just need to trust that person. One of the best parts of marriage, in my opinion, is having a built in accountability partner. Someone who loves me so much, knows me, and knows my life. John can speak into my life more than most, because of the level he knows me. A roommate can give you accountability, a friend, a trusted family member. Accountability is important for growth. If you want to see change in your life you might need more accountability. Desired life change can be everything from wanting to workout more to desiring victory over an addiction.
The scripture talks about having people speak into your life everywhere. It is so Biblical to have advisors, mentors, counselors speak into your life for real growth. Here’s one verse of many, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).
Make Your Goal God’s Goal
We’ve covered who is in charge of time, who is THE LORD, who helps you put soul into your plans, and who doesn’t need advisors: God. Did you know God has a goal. We see throughout scripture that God’s goal is to save souls. He desires those He created to have a relationship with Him.
1 Timothy 2:1-6 “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”
Here’s the thing, you can have all the plans and goals, but to really find satisfaction, to see people’s lives get changed, to have purpose… make your goal God’s goal. This will change how you spend your money, which career you go into, how you make the most of a bad situation like cancer… Make your ultimate goal to tell others about your relationship with Jesus Christ and how he’s changed you.
Planning this year is going to be tough, but I see you, God sees you. And may He grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans (Psalm 20:4).
Every so often I stumble upon your work, and it always makes me proud! These five ways of planning according to the Bible are inspiring and insightful. Your honesty, sincerity, vulnerability and maturity are always evident. Making my goal God’s goal is a simple plan that even I, a non-planner, can aspire to achieving.
Just wanted to say thank you and well done!
By the way, Psalms 20:4 made me think about our (Lori and I) wedding/marriage verse… Psalms 37:4! Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desire of your heart!
Sean, Wow that means so much coming from you. Thanks for taking the time to write this out. It means a lot. You and Lori are awesome of course that would be the verse at your wedding. Very cool. Good to hear from you. – Hannah