A couple weeks ago, Leah and I spent the better part of the day going to the Dept. of Public Safety, then to the county tax office, then back to the Dept. of Public Safety to get our vehicles registered and our drivers licenses. We are officially Texans now, as our licenses came in the mail last week. But on both of them, there’s a restriction: we can’t drive without contacts or glasses because we’re both shortsighted.
In planning, we’re far more shortsighted than our eyes could ever be. According to the world’s terms, we’re probably doing well with our long-term plans. We have a timeline to buy a home and to start a family. We have two basic plans on how to invest to save for retirement and a rough idea of how much money we’ll need.
Yet we sometimes sacrifice our long-term plans for short-term happiness. Tomorrow, my first order of business is to get on redbox.com and reserve a copy of Spiderman 2 for Leah. It’s only $1.29, but strictly speaking, it hurts our long-term goals. We sometimes go out to eat or buy presents for each other or get other things we don’t actually require. We’re usually pretty good at denying ourselves in this way, but certainly not perfect. I also spend too much time doing things other than work. I try to limit internet and game time during the work day, but I could be better.
What we have largely lost sight of in this, though, is that both long-term and short-term goals for accumulating stuff or achieving life goals are nearly worthless when compared to a plan for how to serve God. Leah and I were working to this end, yes, but we had no plan and only a few vague goals that had no timeline.
We’re supposed to be laying up for ourselves treasures in Heaven rather than treasures on earth. Our planning to this point has been almost entirely of the treasures on earth variety. It doesn’t matter too much whether that planning is long-term or short-term; it’s still focused on getting the wrong type of reward. Our focus should primarily be on how to serve the kingdom of God, not on how to serve ourselves in this life. And to do this in the most efficient way, we felt we needed a plan.
Now, we know we can’t plan out exactly how God is going to work. I’m sure Joseph didn’t have a “go from prison to being the Pharaoh’s right-hand man in 7 years” plan. Still, he probably did have a plan for managing the resources of the prison and he definitely had one for getting through the 7 years of famine.
Leah and I talked this morning about what we want our long-term goals to be and this is what we came up with:
1. We want to get a book finished between the two of us every year. That means written, edited, and published, whether traditionally or self-published.
2. We want to get plugged into our church (when we find a good one, which we may have done this past Sunday) or a regular ministry. We don’t want to simply take from the church; we want to give back and love our neighbors.
3. While we don’t want to measure our success by numbers, we want to have measurable goals for certain things, like number of readers on our blogs. This wouldn’t be to verify the worth of our efforts, but rather to keep us doing these things on a daily or near-daily basis. For my part, I’d like 150 readers by the end of this year.
Then we talked about small, weekly goals. You can’t drive from Vancouver to the Florida Keys without a plan that includes many different roads. Likewise, you can’t simply say you want to accomplish a major goal within a year without daily, weekly, or at least monthly steps to keep you on track. For me, for my blogging, my goal is to have at least 3 posts a week, preferably 4 or 5, and to comment on at least 3 other blogs daily. Also, sometime this week, Leah is going to show me how to plug into various Google+ communities and post there.
I don’t know how God will bless or change our plans (we’re certainly not locked into them because we can’t control His will in any way), but it’s good to have a plan on how to serve Him. It provides clarity and direction.