The idea struck me one evening, and I couldn’t let it go. I had to tackle this (very involved, time-consuming, needed-expensive-supplies) project with my kids because
- “Everyone” else was doing it (and they all raved about how great it was), and
- The project was supposed to help my kids meet with Jesus.
What could be better than that?
Never mind that I’m not crafty, I have little patience for mess, and my kids were way too young at the time to enjoy, much less appreciate, this project. I had a goal, a plan, and really good intentions. This had to be a great choice, right? Wrong.
Our project went downhill fast.
We made it through day one, and limped through day 2. But by day 3, if you’re imagining kids crying, supplies being spilled and dumped and wasted, Mom barking orders in any attempt to corral the chaos, and everyone close to tears, you have a pretty good picture of how our project time looked.
We were “all systems go” on the outside:
- A fun project :: yes!
- Spending time with the kids :: yes!
- Leading them to Jesus :: yes!
All good things. The problem is, even though all of those pieces are great, the timing wasn’t right for our family. Also, good intentions or not, had I slowed down and paid attention, I would’ve recognized the hesitation I felt in my spirit before I even printed out the supply list and instructions.
I wish I could say this is the only time I’ve made that mistake, but it’s not. How many times in my life (and often on a much larger scale), have I done my own thing instead of God’s thing? How often have I wasted a whole bunch of time, money, and effort I didn’t really have because I was following my own impulses, desires, or the lead of the crowd?
Sometimes we need the detours. We can definitely learn from each. But I often wonder how certain situations would be different had I started with a different focus.
Here’s the thing :: you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.
God has a plan for you — for your days, for your year, for your life. Do you believe that?
How easy it is for us to look around at Instagram or Facebook, at people in Bible study or at work or in the neighborhood and think their path must also be ours. But the Bible teaches that though we are frail, we were created in the image of God! Though we are minuscule in size relative to our immense cosmos, we are fearfully and wonderfully made, the special creation of a God who cares! Though we have sinned and marred the image of God in us, we can be saved through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The Gospel shows us that God has a plan of blessing for us that begin in eternity past and stretches on forever!
The apostle Paul wrote that “we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10).
God has a plan for you and a plan for your family. Have you asked Him lately what that plan might be? He might not give us the whole picture right away — He often doesn’t — but as we walk with Him, He leads the way.
So as you begin to plan for a new year and new goals, start here ::
Take some time to come honestly before the Lord and share your heart.
1. Think about your life and your family. As you do, take a few minutes to write out or sketch all that is on your heart about your desires for this next year. Get it all out there, unfiltered and as honest as you can be. Think through different areas :: relational, spiritual, financial, physical, emotional, vocational, etc. What do you want to see? How do you want God to move?
2. Now take this list (or diagram, sketch, chicken scratch, or novel) right to the heart of God. Be as honest with him as you were with yourself (as long as you were, in fact, honest with yourself). Tell God what is on your heart and ask Him this :: God, are these plans in line with your plans for us? Please show me where they align and where they differ.
Take some time to sit before the Lord and listen. Write down what comes to your mind and spend some time asking God more about your thoughts and ideas.
Revisit this question over the next few days, prayerfully asking God to lead you as you craft your intentions and purpose for this coming year.
Listen for how God leads you through Scripture, through the wisdom of friends and family members who are walking with Jesus, and through circumstances around you.
As you yield your heart to Him and seek Him, He will lead you.
soli Deo gloria,
Erika // FaithfulMoms.org
If you’re looking for more help discerning God’s heart for your year? Join our free Soul Goals series as we search our hearts and ask God to guide us into His purpose and plan for our year.