I began writing this inaugural 2018 newsletter, only to have my creative mindset broken by the sound of a cuss fight across the street. Seems that somebody was harassing Cunningham, a good-hearted guy with some mental issues.
On this particular day, Cunningham was okay but very talkative. He apologized at lunch for his language and excitedly told us he believes the Bible, particularly the part about not committing adultery. Word is that a street tough tried to intimidate him once, so Cunningham popped him one and the tough guy ended up on the ground. But I digress.
Back to 2018, and my inspirational first letter of the year. This year I’m taking control of my life. God has convicted me that I spend too much time on stuff that doesn’t matter and not enough time on stuff that does.
So I bought a 2018 planning calendar that allows me to make a daily schedule and notate goals and accomplishments. I spent a couple of hours alone doing some strategic, reflective planning for the year. Came up with some great ideas. I determined to take control of my schedule and focus on my priorities rather than allowing others to force their priorities upon me.
Then I came to work the next day. Guess what happened? My phone rang and the emails came in, replete with other people wanting me to stop what I’m doing and do stuff they wanted done. The very nerve! Week one was a struggle but I actually completed most of my goals. Planning the day and writing a paragraph or so each night on how the day went actually works, even with those inevitable interruptions.
I’m learning that no matter how much we plan, we’ll have interruptions both large and small. The key is to stay focused on working your God-given plan amid the interruptions. I’m also learning that many of life’s interruptions are important. Some aren’t. The key is dealing with the important interruptions and punting the not so important ones.
Each January, we set aside time at Gateway Rescue Mission for strategic planning. This is important. Success doesn’t happen by accident or chance. Success comes from having a good plan and working that plan. Yet, despite our best-laid plans, life will throw us a curve and we’ll have to adjust. Just like in sports, the winning team typically makes the best halftime adjustments.
King Solomon said the plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. (Proverbs 21:5) Yes, we should look to God for direction and guidance. But God gave us brains for a reason and He expects us to use them.
As I get older, I realize that the day is getting shorter. I have some dreams that have yet to be accomplished and some mountains yet to be climbed. I won’t fulfill those dreams or climb that mountain without a plan.
I encourage you to set aside some time with God and let Him speak into your heart about this upcoming year. Then plan a way to do what He tells you. We must hear from God and work a plan if we want to be of any use to those who need us.
Finally, success is not easy. It’s easy to go with the flow. It’s hard to discipline yourself to work God’s plan when the cuss fight breaks out across the street. But know that God has a plan for your life. He has a job for you to do. Let Him speak into your heart His will for you in 2018, then line it out and get busy doing it.