A few years ago, my sister-in-law received $6,500 worth of airplane vouchers. Her family had been bumped off of a flight, so for compensation, the airline gave her $6,500 to travel anywhere in the world. She had all the resources she needed, but she didn’t know where she wanted to go.
What about you? Do you know where you want to go in life? I am not talking about a vacation; I am talking about your life plan.
Do you have a clear idea of where you want to end up in life?
Think about where you want to be 10 years from now. In 10 years, how much money would you like to be investing in God’s kingdom? Where would you like to be working? What do you want your relationships to be like? What spiritual disciplines would you like to have mastered? Dreams are important, but they are not sufficient to take you where you want to go.
Somebody has said, “A dream without a plan is only a wish.” It is essential that we have a detailed plan to take us from where we are right now to where we believe God wants us to be.
King Solomon certainly understood the importance of having a plan. God had given him the dream of building a magnificent place of worship. But Solomon didn’t sit back like so many Christians today and passively say, “If God wants this to happen, then He will do it in His way and His time.” Solomon developed and executed a plan to build the temple.
In the book of Proverbs, we find verse after verse about the importance of planning:
- “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed” (15:22).
- “Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established” (16:3).
- “The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage” (21:5).
We all need a dream in life, but a dream isn’t enough. We need a plan that will take us from where we are to realize that dream.
Four Objections To Planning
Most Christians I talk to don’t have a plan to help them reach their dreams. Why is that? Among Christians, there are four objections people have to developing a plan for their lives.
“What If I Fail?”
The first excuse people use is, “What if I fail?” We are surrounded by people who try to discourage us from reaching our dream. We don’t want to be embarrassed in front of others if we set a goal and then fail in that plan.
“It’s Not The Right Time”
Second, some people object that now is not the right time. They either say, “I have plenty of time; there’s no hurry” or, “I don’t have enough time; there’s no use.” Both views of time are erroneous. God has given each of us the right amount of time we need to fulfill His plan for our lives.
“The Bible Says We Shouldn’t Make Plans”
A third objection is, “The Bible says we shouldn’t make plans.” No, the Bible doesn’t forbid making plans—it simply says we ought to make plans within the boundaries of God’s will. Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the Lord will stand.”
“I Don’t Know How To Plan”
The final excuse is, “I don’t know how to make a plan.” If you want to know where God wants you to go in life and how to get there, then you need to have a clear purpose.
How do you find out what your purpose is? God’s calling is the intersection between your passion and your unique giftedness. First, discover your passion. God is not going to call you to do something that He doesn’t give you a passion for doing. Here are four questions to help you determine what your passion is:
- What needs in the world concern you?
- If you could meet any need in the world, what need would you meet?
- What do you see as the most urgent need in your community, work, school, and church?
- What age group or type of people do you enjoy working with the most?
Second, your life purpose will involve your giftedness. God will not only give you a passion, but He will also give you the gift to accomplish that passion. How do you know what your giftedness is? Here are four questions to ask:
- What abilities do you have that other people tend to notice and affirm?
- What five accomplishments in your life have given you the most satisfaction?
- What do people say you were born to do?
- What is one word that summarizes both your passion and your giftedness?
Wherever your giftedness and passion meet, that is a clue to what your life purpose is. You will make a difference in the world through your passion and giftedness. Many of us have seen photos of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Michelangelo spent four years on his back painting that masterpiece on the ceiling. He could have been overwhelmed by the assignment, but he accomplished it by breaking that dream into manageable parts. He would take one section, a few inches in diameter, and work on that section.
When he finished it, he would move over and work on the next section. As tedious as the project was, Michelangelo never lost sight of the big picture. And because of that, 500 years later, we still enjoy that masterpiece. How do you feel about the life you are painting? And how will you feel if you come to the end of your life not having reached your dream? Having a clear life plan is an essential secret for extraordinary success. In Ephesians 5:15–17, Paul said, “Be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time … do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”