There’s an old saying: “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
At the start of a new year, many people make plans. They might be called resolutions or goals, but it’s a plan and a hope for something different in the coming year. Unhappy with some part of life, we want to take steps to make changes. During the second and third week of January, those plans can be sorely tested. We find it difficult to work on follow-through.
For the Christian, there is sometimes a tension between our plans and God’s plans. Some people seem to leave everything up to God and then blame him when nothing goes right. Others seem to have little room for God’s input or concerns regarding their plans. They just charge ahead with whatever they want.
Christians shouldn’t be against planning or setting goals. There are plenty of stories in Scripture where people made resolutions and set goals to see changes in their circumstances. We just need to keep in mind that God should be a part of everything we do. Staying open to what God might have for us is essential for Christian discipleship.
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” James 4:13-15
So keep working on those New Year’s plans, goals and resolutions. Whether it is for personal growth, relational improvement or career development, go for it – but leave room for God and his will. Invite him into your hopes and dreams. He might have something more for you.