Are you a planner or a wisher? Eleanor Roosevelt said, “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” 1
I’m of the planner variety. I make lists beside my lists and, as my raised-on-the- farm husband says, “I grin like a mule eating briers” when I check off completed tasks. I enjoy the results for two reasons:
- There’s one less item on the to-do list.
- I see progress toward a goal.
Some people prefer detailed planning systems. Others jot an informal to-do list for the next day or refer to a mental list as time and energy allow.
When December 31st arrives, we may have unmet goals, but if we plan instead of only wishing for improvement or progress, we’ll be more successful in meeting the goals we believe God wants us to accomplish. (In the last post, we considered Three Ways to Meet God-Given Goals .)
This time let’s consider planning our week’s agenda. Whether the to-do list is on paper or in our heads, planning propels us toward milestones and helps prevent the discouragement of missed targets.
In case you think I have this all figured out, I’ll confess. I don’t. Allow me to share three lessons God is teaching me.
Three Lessons on Planning Our Weeks with God
1. I’m learning to pray and read the Bible before I make plans.
Prayer is a two-way communication blessing of speaking and listening. God promises to guide us. When we seek His wisdom first, He teaches us His ways.
Proverbs 16:9 reads, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Although using our minds to make plans is good practice, God knows the future and the plans He has for us. What seems right to us is limited by human understanding. In His sovereignty, God guides us toward His perfect plan.
2. I’m learning to hold my plans loosely and say,
If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.James 4:15 ESV (All Scripture in the post is from the ESV.)
James instructs us to make this statement after he warns believers to avoid a prideful view of planning. After all—as he reminds us—we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. God does. His plans never fail.
3. I’m learning to trust God and avoid frustration when plans go awry.
When I’m busy, hours seem to melt away like a snowman on a warm day. When my to-do list lingers at day’s end, disappointment sometimes leads to frustration and anxiety, but God is teaching me to trust Him even then.
Although He expects us to use our gifts and opportunities, He’s more interested in our love for Him than our accomplishments.
Consider the acrostic I composed as a reminder to plan my weeks with God and thank Him at the end of each day—for accomplished tasks and those I transfer to the next day.
P. L. A. N. the Week with God
P Pray throughout the day and enjoy an ongoing conversation with God.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, emphasis mine
The prayer life of Jesus wasn’t limited to morning quiet times or red lights. When we pray without ceasing and pause from activity to listen, the Holy Spirit directs us through the day.
When we include God in our activities and seek His guidance, we can experience His peace whether we’ve made progress on our list or not.
When we include God in our activities and seek His guidance, we can experience His peace whether we’ve made progress on our list or not. Click To Tweet
L Learn the Word and listen to the Author.
When we memorize Scripture, we can use it to fight spiritual battles as the Holy Spirit brings a passage to mind. God’s Word equips us to stand against the enemy who attempts to thwart our plans to serve God.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
A Acknowledge your need for God and ask for His help.
The following verses remind us of our need:
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.John 15:5
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.Proverbs 9:10
N Notice the needs of others.
Although we strive to meet goals and stay on schedule, God sometimes puts someone in our path who needs our help, our time, or encouragement. We don’t want the busyness of our agenda to blind us to “divine interruptions.”
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.1 Peter 4:10
Planning our weeks with God strengthens our relationship with Him, and the results far outweigh wishing for success or improvement.
Please share how you’re planning with God this year or tell us about a time a “divine interruption” changed your day. Your comments help all of us.
For thought-provoking words on priorities and to-do lists, read Katherine Pasour’s post, What’s on Your List? .
36 thoughts on “Plan Your Weeks with God”
Just this morning I noted in my journal that my plan to work on my website on Friday got bumped up to last night. It’s not done but I got the part I dreaded the most figured out so now I’m not dreading it all week. God knows best. 🙂
Linda, I agree God knows best. As the Bible teaches, His thoughts and ways are far above ours. Thank you for sharing a testimony about that in your comments. I’m glad you reminded us that sometimes diving into the difficult part of a job yields relief and frees us to concentrate on other tasks. I appreciate you taking the time to comment.
Love this Jeannie! Thank you.
I’m so glad, Melissa. Thanks for letting me know. I appreicate the share on Twitter, too.
My but how #2 and #3 resonated with me Ms. Jeannie. I seem to be forever making lists, and for many years it would frustrate me when my plans went awry. Then, as you so graciously point out in your post, I began to understand that perhaps my plans weren’t in line with God’s plans. It makes a lot of sense to check with the authority in our lives first doesn’t it? Another great post ma’am; thank you.
Like you, J. D., I had the same problem. I still lean toward anxiety sometimes when plans go awry, but God is gracious in teaching me to look to Him, the only One who knows the past, present, and future. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
I, like you, Jeannie, love a good list, but I’ve learned to hold my list up to the Lord and say, “Not my will, but yours be done.” This gives me calm assurance when “my” plans go awry.
Lori, thank you for sharing such a wise suggestion. That simple action can line our hearts up with God’s.
I really like your acrostic that is certainly something I can use.
I’m so glad, Jimmie Annette, and thank you for telling me. I find acronyms easier to remember than a list of tips, although they can be helpful as well. I’m grateful God helps us with all we do, including planning.
Wise words Jeannie to remove the “I “ from “my” plans. Thanks for laying this out for us as we consider planning.
Thanks for your comments, Marilyn. It’s easy to get “I” centered because we have multiple responsibilities, and we want to serve God and our family well. I’m learning to trust God when I can’t get much done on any given day, but it’s still a struggle sometimes.
Thanks Jeannie. I do want to align my plans first with God’s. Appreciate the encouragement!
You’re welcome, Sylvia. Thank you for commenting. I try to align my plans with God by praying first, keeping my eyes on Him, and asking for His help throughout the day. Sometimes I become too “list-focused,” but I’m learning to trust Him more and more.
As a fellow “to-do” list person, I loved your message, Jeannie. Your P.L.A.N. acrostic is so inspiring and I’m adding it to my strategies as an intervention to keep me on God’s plan rather than Katherine’s. I especially appreciate the reminder to pray BEFORE making the list. That seems so obvious, but I confess I sometimes forget. Thanks for a wonderful message and a BIG thank you (and a virtual hug) for the shout-out. I’m so grateful for your kindness and inspiration.
Katherine, I also forget sometimes and dive into my day following a plan I think is best. Even during my quiet time with God when I seek Him, I sometimes forget to ask for His guidance then and during the day. I’m thankful the PLAN acrostic is helpful to you; I think it will help me, also. I was happy to include the link to your encouraging post, my friend.
Thanks for this message Jeannie. Love it. Very helpful.
Pam, your kind words mean so much. I’m delighted you found the post helpful. I need to remember this message, too.
I write down what I think I hear from God or ways He’s getting my attention as I try to listen for Him to guide me.
Paula, thanks so much for including your excellent idea. It’s easy to forget what God shows us when we get busy or overwhelmed, but writing down His ideas helps us remember and allows us to look back later and see what He has done. I appreciate you reading and commenting.
Thank you, Jeannie, for your encouraging message. I’m a list maker, also. I love to check off those things completed. Your words of encouragment will help when I feel I’ve missed the mark.
Norma, I’m still learning to trust God with the planning, even when I can’t get much done. Thank you so very much for adding your thoughts. I’m glad you found the post encouraging.
I love your acrostic, Jeannie. This creates an easy way to keep the importance of God’s words in front of us as more important than anything else on the list. And I am an list maker also and can get frustrated when I see unfinished tasks staring at me. Our Lord is the priority and our time with Him somehow miraculously creates more time for us to complete our own work.
What a powerful statement you added to our conversation, Barbara! “Our Lord is the priority and our time with Him somehow miraculously creates more time for us to complete our own work.” Thank you so much. I, too, become frustrated sometimes when the list grows long, but I’m learning to trust Him more as He patiently teaches me.
Excellent post, as usual, Jeannie!
Thank you, Glenda. I’m glad God teaches me as I plan to write.
Fellow planner here!! Jeannie, I love your acrostic for “P. L.A.N” What wonderful and practical encouragement to seek the Lord in all we do and plan. Also, the verse below, although I’ve known it since I was a child, spoke to my heart today.
Thank you, Jeannie
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
Dawn, I’m thankful the P.L.A.N. acrostic and the verse encouraged you. Your comments encouraged me today. Isn’t God loving to use a familiar verse to teach us more and draw us closer?
I’m more of a planner. And I am better than I used to be when I need to adjust to an unexpected situation. But I’m still have a way to go to be as flexible as I should be. Great post!
I’m so glad you shared, Nancy. We do have lots of “unexpected situations’ arise, don’t we? I still have a long way to go, too, but I’m grateful God continues to patiently teach us.
I’m a big planner, too, Jeannie! I love your acrostic to remind us to ask God to help guide our planning.
Kathy, I’m glad you found the P.L.A.N. helpful. Whether my tasks get accomplished or not, talking with God brings peace. Sometimes He leads me in a different way from my intended path, and His guidance is so wise. Thanks for commenting and happy prayer-planning.
Don’t get me wrong Y’all, I’ve been a follower of our Lord Jesus my entire life…however the challenges He’s placed in my life the last 2 years has made me literally hit my knees in Jesus’ name, restore my full faith, full trust in Him…in others words forced me to put the “L”of His Book in my PLAN. Thank you Jeannie🙏🏼🧡
Traci, thanks so much for sharing. Challenges are hard. I’ve found, as you did, the hard times lead me to pray more and focus on the Lord and His Word. I’m praying for you.
Thank you so much for sharing on your excellent blog, Linda!