The new year has started, and if you are anything like me that resolution to start a diet has already been broken.  As everyone has gone back to work and with school starting soon, the pressure to “get going” is felt.  We may not know exactly what we need to “get going” with, but as everyone around us seems to be planning, organizing and phoning to make arrangements, we feel the pressure to start moving.

That’s been my life in the last week.  This intense feeling that I have to get going and I really feeling like I am on the back foot.  I have only just packed the Christmas decorations away, done grocery shopping and small errands to end the previous season, yet I feel like I am behind the pack.  Just a real sense of pressure to get going, get into the race.

I cannot even remember details of the projects I was working on at the end of the year, let alone plan what is happening next.  I don’t even have clear thoughts on what I would like to do.  As the calendars come in, and the to-do list grows – rest, slowing down, silence and time for reflection seems hard to claim.

As I sat down to my quiet time, the Lord’s first words to me were: “You don’t have to rush into the year.”

Thank you, Lord!  There is a real danger of running ahead of the Lord.

The truth is that if I take the whole of January to prepare and plan for the year, then I will inevitably do the next 11 months well.  Rushing into the year without hearing from the Lord will result in me committing to projects I should not, jumping into things that God has not planned for me, wasting time in doing things wrong because I didn’t think it through carefully.  I need time to pray, think, analyze, read, research and seek the Lord’s guidance, so that I do 2023 according to His pace, not mine.

I am reminded of Proverbs 16:9:

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”

“What is the Lord’s will for you at this stage of your life?” a friend asked me.  I know that we pray “thy will be done” in the Lord’s prayer and so in order to be living my life according to God’s will,  it would mean that I have to hear from Him, understand from Him what His will is.

There has to be less experimentation on God’s will on my part, and more definite clear action as directed by His will.

There is no shortage of time, or urgency in God about 2023.  He is in control.  I need to take the time to hear from Him, to connect with His heart, to pray more and wait for clarity from the Holy Spirit.  This is more important, than action.

“To man belong the plans of the heart, from the LORD comes the reply of the tongue.” (Proverbs 16:1)

This means that God decides what the final outcome will be, it is all in His hands.  Life is a partnership between God’s will and purpose and my efforts.

The advice in Proverbs 16:3, just a few verses later is to “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.” Adding in verse 4 that “the Lord works out everything to His own end.”

His WILL and PURPOSE overrides it all.  So be careful, take the time to inquire of the Lord.

God wants us to Slow Down and Pay Attention.  We have Permission to Stop because God knows about our times and holds time in His hands.

Don’t rush into the year my friend.

Thank you, Father, for the reminder to slow down and not to rush into the year.  Help me not to miss it Lord, to feel so much pressure to get going with the year that I don’t take the time to inquire in Your Presence.  Help me to spend time in prayer, meditation, thinking and reading before I move ahead with plans.  Thank you that You delight in me wanting to inquire from You first and that I can know that the Spirit will reveal to me what I need to know and understand, what I need to plan.  Thank you that You are in control of my life.

Five Thoughts on Making Plans

Taking Faith Ordered Steps

Slow Down

Pay Attention