Last weekend my family decided to take a last-minute spontaneous road trip to the beach. One of my best friends growing up was in the neighborhood, i.e. the same state, camping on the beach and invited me to stop on by to say hi. How could I refuse? The problem however, was that I'm not good at acting spontaneously. I get wound up and stress out too easily when things aren't planned out in my head. These plans also conflicted with plans we already made, nor did it really fit in our budget, rocking the boat even more. But we persevered, hitting the road at 3:00 when we were shooting for 11:00. Despite saying several words I shouldn't have, and stressing out far more than necessary, it was completely worth it. It was the first time my son was brave enough to play in the ocean. Plus my friend has a son roughly the same age and they hit it off right away. As I posted on Facebook when I got home, I've never seen my son have so much fun.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
What's the most spontaneous thing you've ever done? (and are willing to share online)
As much fun as that was, however, I still prefer to have a plan. Normally when we road trip as a family and aim to leave at 11:00, we get out the door at around 1:00. That's even with a plan. In other words, I need to be a better planner.
"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." (Proverbs 19:21)
Are you a good planner? What's your secret? (really, I need all the help I can get!)
Every long holiday weekend is filled with "news from AAA that more people are planning on hitting the road for vacation than last year..." combined with news about gas prices, drunk driving arrests, and of course lists of the most popular destinations. The same news can be heard throughout the summer. Kids are on vacation, the weather is great, and highways are... under construction.
You have to go into the summer with a plan. Where are you going? Which weekend? Will the family you plan on visiting actually be home then? Will you be back in time for so-and-so's wedding? Is there a baseball game in town while you're there (actually this is usually the first thing I check)?
"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." (Proverbs 16:9)
What are your priorities when planning your vacation?
Our spirituality should be no different. We need a plan. I mentioned yesterday how we need to plan out our spiritual work-out regimen. Too often we close a book not knowing what to read next or rely on flimsy verse-of-the-day calendars to guide our spiritual growth. And we wonder why we get stuck nursing on milk? Planning a whole season is an even greater challenge. What books to read? What topics to cover? What specific prayers to pray? It helps to enter into the season with a plan. You can't go on your road trip without a map.
"The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty." (Proverbs 21:5)
What are your spiritual plans for this summer?
If you don't have a plan, now is the time to build one. If you can't think of any plans, ask for input (Proverbs 20:18). Don't let this season pass without a measure of growth. Look back at your vacation photos with no regrets.
Today continues this summer's 'virtual small group' (VSG in the tags). I hope you come back as I take this season to reflect on the wonders of God's creation, share vacation stories, etc, with the prayer that we come out of this season closer to God than how we came into it.