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Facing 2021 With Hope: Planning With Purpose

In years gone by, I was a wanna-be planner and goal setter. Each year, I would buy a new planner. Armed with the previous year’s calendar and the new one in hand, I’d head out to my favorite Starbucks with freedom to stay all day, working on my goals and plans for the new year.

I’d grab my coffee, settle into a comfy spot, and open the planner I had just completed, reviewing my past year. That’s when my heart would sink.

Disillusioned, I remember wondering why the goals I set each year seemed to be only a dream. There I was again, sitting at the same table, facing the truth that I don’t appear to have what it takes to make my goals a reality. The funny thing is, I’d do it all again the following year. I recall the word failure trying to take up residence in my heart, but God had other plans. Praying one morning in late December about the upcoming year, I cried out to God––how I ached to live out my days for what mattered to Him. He saw my heart. Oh, that still small voice.

“Would you allow Me to set your goals for this new year?”

Stunned, I sat there in silence. I knew full-well that the Lord had spoken. I sensed I was in a holy place with Jesus— a personal, Living God who cared about me.

I cherish that sacred time. Every goal, every plan He gave me, happened that year. They were not the kind of goals I chose in the past. As I went through a period of two weeks working on my plans with the Lord, I came to understand, more deeply, the heart of God and how He cares about what matters in our day-to-day lives. I could write thousands of words about that precious time, but I’ll leave you with two of the goals that made a deep, lasting impression on my heart.

Goal #1: “Learn to love.”

“What, Jesus? Learn to love? Lord, I thought I did love?” I sat in His presence, quiet…listening. I soaked in what He said, letting it settle over me like a warm blanket.

I encountered, as that year went on, love far greater than any I’d ever known. It was His love rather than mine–––it reaches deeper. It goes farther. It never fails. I’ve never been the same…I’m learning to love, still.

Goal # 2: “People before projects.”

Another one that blew me away. I’ve always considered myself relational. But I sensed this would be different–something I’d never known before. I had to deliberately lay down my agenda and take up His, knowing that Jesus knew better what I needed to accomplish each day. I learned that holy interruptions were part of God’s plan. They became precious to me and I began to welcome them.

Since that sacred encounter, the cry of my heart has been, “Lord, let what matters to You, truly matter to me. May I live the days I have left, walking in the plans and purposes You have for my life. Teach me how to love the way You love, valuing others ahead of what I may see as necessary.”

In closing, as we face a year of uncertainty ahead, I pray we will not be afraid or discouraged. Pressing into Him, we’ll come to know that Jesus has specific things for us to do, making a difference here for His Kingdom purposes, which has the potential to change eternity––a great hope of mine. People are frightened. Many, all alone. Souls without hope. Children who fear. Young adults filled with concerns about their future. Fathers, hoping they can support their families. Mamas, worrying about the safety of their babies…what the world will look like in the years ahead.

Learn to love.

People before projects.

Just those two goals lived out can change the world…one heart at a time. I’m all in. You?

On this journey together, Deb


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