This post is by Briane Kearns.
Plans come in different shapes and sizes. To make plans and achieve them we need to break them down so that we have both a vision and a roadmap. I categorize plans into three types: Big Picture Plans, Incremental Plans and Day to Day Plans.
Big Picture plans are the overarching plans that you have for your life, career and family. Some might call them goals, but I call them plans. This is because a goal is something you hope to achieve, but a plan is something you develop, strategize, and execute in order to accomplish. I think words matter, and I make plans because I want my efforts to bring results.
Day to Day Plans are the daily tasks you do in order to keep your life running. You know, laundry, groceries, paying the bills, or driving the kids where they need to go. Planning them into your calendar gives you structure and helps you define the time you have. I am a list maker, partly because it keeps me organized and partly because I LOVE to check things off as I accomplish them. (If I have a list, and do things not on the list, I add them to the list and check them off! I like to see where my time goes each day.) My list is my Day to Day plan that means there will be food on the table at dinner time--most days!
Incremental plans are the plans in between your Big Picture Plans and your Day to Day plans. These are the incremental steps you need to accomplish to make the Big Picture plans a reality. You may not work on them every day, but you must define them and work them consistently for the Big Picture Plans to become reality. You don't just wake up one morning and buy a house or retire. You get there by determining what incremental steps are needed to make the plan a reality.
Now here is the challenge. You must determine and accomplish your Incremental Plans while at the same time completing the Practical Plans that keep your life running. Balancing Big Picture Plans, Incremental plans and Practical plans requires thought, planning, discernment, and flexibility.
But we have left something out of this discussion: God and His place in any and all of our plans. In the life of a Jesus follower, all plans are powered and enabled by Godly wisdom, discernment, and the Holy Spirit.
We have all read Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the LORD. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope.’” That is a precious verse, and it gives us all hope. But there are things that must occur in order for us to prosper and have a hope filled future. And even a short study of Scripture will reveal that when God has a plan in the lives of His people, He will also inevitably have actions that they must take to bring the plan to fruition. And as a Jesus follower, I want God’s plans to determine and shape my own.
How does this happen? First, lay the Big Picture plans before the Lord and ask Him to shape them, change or confirm them in order to be in line with His will.
Second, lay the Day to Day plans before Him each morning in your quiet time. Ask for time management and for direction. Ask for every task and encounter that you plan that day to bring glory to Him and fulfill His plans for you. Do not think the small tasks are not important to God. He cares very much that your day to day life is lived with Him and for Him.
Third, ask the Lord to help you develop the Incremental plans that are needed to make the Big Picture Plans He has for your life come to fruition. When you study Scripture you will find that for every BIG plan God called His people to do, He also gave them the incremental steps needed to accomplish this. For example, Genesis 41 details Joseph’s preparation for the upcoming famine, and in Exodus 25-28 God gives detailed instruction for building the Tabernacle. God cares about details and small incremental steps, because through these His purpose and plan come to fruition.
Finally, ask the Lord for the power to carry out the plans He has for your life, day by day. Ask Him for clear direction and confirmation. The Lord loves it when His children seek His will and follow with obedience.
“There are many plans in a person’s mind, but it is the counsel of the LORD which will stand.” Proverbs 19:21, NET
Briane Pittman Kearns is a Jesus loving first born who celebrates being a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother and two time breast cancer survivor.
She loves teaching others that the Bible is relevant for today, her family, laughing with friends, encouraging women in their faith walk and being a southerner. She holds a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. You can find more of her words at www.BrianePittmanKearns.com, and her teachings on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/briane.pittman.kearns/
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