“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”  –Proverbs 16:3

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”  –Proverbs 16:9

It is all about preparation. As this new year started, I thought I was prepared to take on the challenges to come. As always, I am proved wrong. I jump ahead – ahead of thinking, ahead of God – and don’t always land on two feet or on firm ground. I am impatient and impulsive. Am I prepared to make the changes necessary to change from a life of busyness to a life of significance?  I don’t mean significance in the sense of being a celebrity or of fleeting importance, but more about being eternally significant. I want to be able to look back on my life when I’m older and say that the time, talents, and treasure God gave me were invested in people and events that He would say were significant. That is where preparation comes in.

I can make all the plans I want, but if I don’t run them by God first, most likely I’ll just stumble and fall or all the plans will fall apart. I am reminded of this when I read the verses above. I can make plans all I want, but I need to pray and make sure that what I’m planning is in line with God’s will and ask Him for discernment when choices need to be made. If I “give” my plans to God, then He can lead the way to ensure the outcome is what will give Him the most glory and lead people to Him.

As part of my life preparation, I have really committed to reading a portion of the Bible every day, starting this year. For the first couple of months, to get into the habit, I’ve decided to read a chapter of Proverbs each morning. You will notice the verses quoted today (the 16th) are from the 16th chapter, that’s no coincidence. Right now, it’s a small investment of time (about five minutes) to get through a chapter a day, but I know that soon I will want to read more and more, which will lead to reading through the whole Bible this year. It will be easier to set aside the time, because I will truly look forward to it and it won’t just be another thing on my To Do List. It will be something that I need to do, just like eating or sleeping, to keep on living. Just talking about it here makes me excited.

Another event I’m excited about is the preparations for a trip to Israel this spring with a group from my church. There is so much practical preparation, such as getting a passport and plane tickets, but there is also spiritual preparation. To prepare the heart for whatever God has planned for the group this trip. I have always felt that my faith was so small and longed for a chance for something concrete. I am too much like Thomas, who needed to touch Jesus’ wounds, and long for an understanding that may come from seeing and touching the things that Jesus saw and touched. My heart leaped as soon as the trip was mentioned and I knew I just had to go. So now, as the winter recedes into spring, I want to prepare my heart and mind to recede from their cold depths into the warmth that is God and His love. I will commit my plans and preparations to Him, so that this will be a journey of growth and understanding that I can convey to others in a way that will bring Him glory.

Dear Lord, I am excited at the prospect of growth that this trip will afford me. I am grateful and thankful that you will provide me, and the whole group, all that is needed for this trip to be successful and meaningful. Please guide all of my preparations, so that I will be free to truly enjoy what You have in store for me. Touch my heart and mind as I visit the Holy Land to gain understanding. Let me not sink into a lazy vacation attitude, but continue to seek You throughout the trip. Protect me from evil and troubles while I’m away from my family. Provide my family with love and assurance while I’m so far away. Bring me back home safely as person renewed in her faith and ready to shine for You, whether at home, at work, or elsewhere in the world. Help me to become all you created me to be. I ask these things in Jesus’ name. AMEN!

Tell me, what things are you preparing for this year? Will you commit them first to God and let Him lead you to a successful outcome? (Success as measured by Him, not The World.)

I hope that God blesses your plans and that you have a fruitful and blessed 2011!