I am a bit of a stationery addict. Or at least I very easily could be. There is something about that clean, unmarked page, so full of possibility that can draw me in every time. With each new diary, each new notebook, each new special pen or pencil is the belief that this plan is THE plan. This is the schedule, the to-do list, the routine that is going to stick. This is going to work. Don’t be concerned, I am aware that it is an awful lot of pressure to place on stationery!
Perhaps you can relate though? Planning is hard. It’s not just the fact that the hour hand on the clock seems to think it is in a race with Usain Bolt, or that the days seem to blur into one another. But it’s also the fact that there are so many demands on our time - both practically and emotionally. I can write and re-write and shuffle and re-shuffle my diary and it can look great on paper, but it lacks peace in my heart.
So where do you begin trying to schedule it all in? How do you choose what goes where? How do you know what to do first and how to differentiate between urgent and important? How do you create a peace-filled plan?
Proverbs 16:9 reminds us that “within your heart you can make plans for your future, but the Lord chooses the steps you take to get there.” (TPT).
And so, to answer my own question, and to consider the wise heeding from Proverbs - perhaps you don’t schedule it all in.
We all know that God tells us to rest, we know that He calls us to come away with Him, we know that He tells us to be still with Him, we know that hustling - that oh so trendy and highly prized word - is actually not good or right for us, and yet. Yet how often do we find ourselves rushing, dashing, striving, filling, busying ourselves through the days.
We know - and yet we don’t do. Why? Usually it’s fear. Perhaps a fear of getting left behind, of missing out on an opportunity or even a fear of not knowing what to do, but if we believe that God chooses our steps then we are free to say yes and no to things with confidence knowing that God is the one who creates our opportunities.
Perhaps in order to have peace-filled planning it is not about being able to cover all the options and opportunities, but is more about learning to cover just the right things.
There are many tips and tools that I could give you for how to plan better and most of them are really excellent and really do help us streamline. But, if we believe that God really does (and we really want him to) lead our steps then it is actually not more actions and checklists that we need in order to help us plan, there is just one thing we need:
To know, to embrace, to function and to operate as if God is our co-CEO.
Over the years I have worked with many executives and their teams and the main thing, time and time again that undermines the growth and productivity of their business is a lack of communication, lack of face time, and a lack of real engagement.
Proverbs 3:6 says: “Become intimate with Him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go” (TPT)
When we know that God is our co-director and that He is as invested in our business as we are, it means that He is the first meeting that we want to prioritse. We should be communicating with Him; strategising, planning, dreaming and setting vision and values with Him. We should be being intimate with Him so that he can lead us daily.
I have learnt over the years that God knows exactly what and who I need for my business. He holds the blueprints for my business, He knows my USP, He knows my target market, He knows my profit margins and growth projections. He knows it all. And His plans for me are good.
He knows which networking events to prioritise and who to look for while there. He also knows which I do not need to be at and has directed me away from contacts that I saw afterwards would have been bad for me.
He knows what posts I should share on Social Media, how frequently I should share and when I need to step away and remove myself from the cacophony of the internet.
He prompts the blogs that I write and He shows me which ones carry favour and unity and which ones are not part of the brand that He wants me to represent.
When you know that God is your co-partner in your work it gives you freedom to take a step back from the never-ending pressure of the world to do more and be more. It frees you to build according to the plans and purposes that He has laid out before you and it frees you to stay in your lane and run your race with fierce focus.
If you want to create peace-filled plans, then my encouragement to you is that the first thing that goes into your diary is intimate time with the Lord. Meet with him, as you would with your business partner or team and ask Him for his thoughts and plans for your business. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- What is the goal for my business this week/month/quarter?
- Who or what do you want me to invest in this week/month?
- Which clients should I prioritise this week?
- Where do I need to focus my attention this week?
- Which areas of my business should I commit and invest to developing?
- Which areas of my business are not bearing fruit and are not for this season?
If we want to make plans that fill us with peace then we need to allow Him to lead us. Before we go dashing straight for our diaries and contact books we should ask Him to direct what and who we place in them. God is so interested in your business. He is the majority shareholder in and He wants it to be a success - let Him partner with you.