I'm a goal setter. There is something comforting to me about knowing what my target is for this year, what tasks to accomplish and knowing what defines success. Yet I realize that many, many people are not wired like me. They find no joy or advantage in detailed goal setting. Regardless of where you fall on the planning spectrum, there is one question that I have begun to ask that I believe is appropriate for everyone. It's a question anyone could ask but is one that as a Christ-follower we ask of God. The question is simply this: "What’s Next?"
You see, as I reflected on the year ahead, I was struck by how many things are out of my control. Health, money, relationships, work, church and all the stuff around them frequently have things that happen that I simply did not expect or plan for. A lot of what happened in 2015 (good and bad) I could never have predicted and the same will be true for the year ahead. I can still plan and try to accomplish things but I need to hold those plans loosely. It means that I don’t find my value, satisfaction or security in making or accomplishing my plans. Rather, I find those things in Christ, the only one who truly knows everything that is going to happen in the months ahead, and who has a good and purposeful plan for my life.
So for the year ahead, I still have plans and goals, but I have taken to simply starting each day by asking the question of God, “What’s next?” What do you want me to do today? Who do you want me to call? How should I connect with you? What, in my waking hours today, do you have for me? Then (and perhaps most importantly) I am committing to do those things that God puts in my head or path. I will pursue my plans and goals, but I want to leave God the room to exercise his right to change my agenda at any time. It means I will do what God puts in my mind to do, even if it feels weird, scary or downright strange.
This has some enormous benefits. First, it takes the pressure off of me. It keeps me from worry, and puts responsibility for what happens in my life in the hands of the only one who can rightly take it . . . his! Two, it makes me intentional about my life. I have to purposefully listen and respond to what might be next. Three, it will make me way more effective. God can accomplish more with less in a shorter time than all my self-focused efforts.
My prayer for you is that you go through this year, staying close to Jesus, listening to him, constantly asking “what’s next?” and then doing it. May God richly bless you as you follow him.
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