“The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9, NASB95)
This season of the calendar as one year ends and another one begins is often marked with the creation of goals, plans, and resolutions for the coming year. Let me be clear, I’m not opposed to any of those. We need to set a direction for the days ahead. Some level of planning is always good when beginning a project. Imagine the chaos if we tried to build a home without any plans.
Jesus said, ““For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’” (Luke 14:28–30, NASB95)
But here’s the thing. While it is good to plan a direction, to work towards a goal, and to adopt resolutions that is only part of our reality. For instance, around 2008, at the age of 48, I planned to complete the bachelor degree I started after High School but dropped it. Through Oral Roberts University I completed a totally online degree program in 2012 with a BS in Church Ministry. While I had a plan and a goal, I had no idea where that would take me.
While a natural outcome of that degree program would be a pastorate of some kind, that wasn’t God’s plan. Instead, Lambchow was created. A writing ministry which has, to date, impacted several thousand. That degree also helped in a job change and eventually opened the door to teach in a High School classroom. Neither of those were present in my plans at the beginning of that journey.
We need plans and goals. And we also need the resolve to see them through. Setting a goal and then doing nothing about it is a waste of time. But while we set a course, we must also expect the wind of the Holy Spirit to move us as He desires. We don’t know where all of our goals and plans will end up. Some of them may be pushed aside, supplanted by something better. Others may lead us directly to our intended outcome. But others may only be steppingstones to something the Lord is purposing in us. We must be open to all of those.
Yes, set goals for the coming year, create plans on how to achieve those goals and resolve in your heart and mind to see them through. But also, give room for the Lord to direct your path. The destination may be different than what you imagine.