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Before You Make Any Plans, You Need These 3 Steps From Proverbs

man sitting at a wooden table writing in a notebook as he holds another notebook and has his iphone and laptop resting on the table
January 2, 2023
Caroline Burk

What plans are you making for this new year? Do you stress about your plans like I do?

Throughout my life, I have noticed a cycle. I have a goal I want to accomplish or a dream I want to fulfill, and I devote all my energy to developing a game plan on how to make it happen.

I create a step-by-step, fool-proof plan that makes me feel safe and secure.

That’s all fine and dandy until something comes along to wreck my plans, or I fall short and I’m back to phase one.

This process can be exhausting. If I’m not careful, I can be guilty of making my dreams my god and I forget to include Him at all. Fortunately, that’s not the way God wants you or I to live and Proverbs 16 gives us another roadmap to follow.

Verse by verse, God used Proverbs 16:1-3 to reframe this way of thinking in me. Here are a few things I learned…I hope they help you as much as they helped me.

Verse 1: “To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.”

It’s natural, human-instinct even, to plan. However, we can prepare and map out our lives all we want, but God gets the final say. There’s a certain overwhelming peace in knowing that God is ultimately the director of our lives. After all, we are here to bring glory to Him and any plan without God involved isn’t worth it. If we begin by inviting God into the narrative, we can save ourselves the heartache of ruined plans and remember He is head over it all.

Verse 2: “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.”

Why do we want what we want? What are our motives? Some plans can be rather simple like we plan to go on vacation because we need to rest. Or we plan to go to the dentist twice a year to keep our teeth healthy. But what about our bigger plans? Like those God-sized dreams that we want to accomplish…It could be college, learning a new language, a new career, or building a family. Whatever it is, this verse reminds us that our motives matter to God. As we set out to accomplish our dreams, an important first step can be to ask God to purify our intentions so they honor and glorify Him! By doing this, it takes the focus and pressure off of us and reframes our lives so that God is at the center

Verse 3: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your steps.”

This verse reminds me of verse one, but it’s a bit more detail-oriented in my eyes. There comes a point in every plan of our lives where we need to begin. We need to actually start taking the steps towards our goal. Who would we rather have directing those individual steps? Ourselves or God? I admit that I rarely follow this verse. When I have a goal, my faith is usually in my own plan, rather than in God Himself. I’m slowly learning that true peace does not come from knowing that all my plans will work out, or that I’m on schedule. Rather, lasting peace is achieved when, each day, I invite God to establish my steps, dedicate myself to being obedient to His voice, and resolve to trust Him with the outcome. If we operate in this way, instead of our own strength and wisdom, we can have peace knowing that our plans aren’t up to us. They don’t rely anymore on our ability, but on God’s.

Personally, I’m no expert in these three steps/verses when it comes to my dreams and plans, but I don’t have to be. And neither do you. Each day, all we need to do is ask God for help. We can pray according to Proverbs 16:1-3 by doing the following:

  • inviting God into our plans for every day
  • asking Him to purify our motives
  • pray for Him to direct each one of our steps

Maybe He decides we get to watch Him make our dreams a reality the way we always imagined, or maybe He decides to rewrite and redirect our plans completely. Either way, we can rest knowing that we are walking the path He has for us and that is the better than any plan we could ever dream up on our own.

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