In the book of Psalm 20, David’s prayer for times of trouble was for God to answer our cries of help, keep us safe from harm, send us help, strengthen us, remember our gifts and look favorably on us, grant our heart’s desire and make our plans succeed.
Plans, plans, plans…everyone need a plan, a calculated way out of a messy situation. When we face challenges, it is ok to cry but you can not stay crying and expect a change. You need to pick yourself up, clean up the drawing board and strategize a way out. That is the plan that David prayed a blessing over in that verse of the Psalm.
I will like to reflect on our personal story to demonstrate how a perfect plan works. We had some plans this summer of things that we wanted to accomplish. We had estimates from vendors for the different activities and were ready to engage. Then, we woke up that morning to a change in our circumstance. (At this point, I am putting out a disclaimer that we are fine, some things just took an unexpected turn that impacted our plans but taught us some lessons worth sharing). We quickly realise that we had to change plans and in some cases shut down the plans.
A perfect plan recognizes when it is time to change course. When life happens, don’t be too rigid to downsize or scale down. I have seen people refuse to downsize their lives because they don’t want other people to know what is going on, instead they borrow to cover up in an attempt to keep up with the Kardashians or Joneses who could care less if you exist.
We got creative….
A perfect plan is creative, there is always another way to achieve what you plan to do. When life happens, we are usually more open to try other options that we may have been blind to. In our case, we became more willing to explore engaging an individual to do the job over a company, this simple decision cut our budget in half and saved us cost. DIY stands for ‘do it yourself’ – yes, we revisit our plan and rallied some friends to help us do some of the work ourselves.
A perfect plan is never cast in stone. When life happens, you have to let go of some things. There is nothing wrong with shutting down a plan and staying at home. FOMO – ‘fear of missing out’ does not kill, las las, you live to fight another day. But you need to live first, don’t put yourself under undue pressure. Leave out the niceties for the season that you are going through until such a time when you are back on your your feet. We looked through our list of planned things to do and determined which was a need to do, nice to do, need to do now, can do later or never have to do. It is amazing how life’s challenges bring everything into perspective.
A perfect plan is birthed by an initial plan. When life happens, ensure that you had a plan in the first place that you are tweaking to adapt to your situation. What are the lessons learnt from the situation and how can you avoid them. If you live a planless life, you will stay crying longer. Have a plan for the important areas of your life, that way, you have a basis to re-evaluate and make adjustments. I love budgets and yearly plans, they help me define what I want to achieve, when and how. They also help me assess if I am being a good steward of the time and resources that God has blessed me with.
We count our blessings…
A perfect plan has milestones. When life happens, it is good to acknowledge what is going well and give yourself a pat on the back. Be clear about what you want to achieve, how you want to achieve it and when you want to achieve it by. We wanted to change our phone service provider, our friends hinted we could get the same services at a cheaper rate elsewhere. I was too lazy to go to the mall to make that switch. That morning, as I look through the budget, I was eager to identify areas of savings. It wasn’t a huge saving but it was money freed up. We went to the mall, changed our service provider and got the accompanying saving. I felt like a better steward. I had saved us a little, a little here and there makes much. We achieved one saving milestones and I was super pleased.
A perfect plan leaves room for the divine, don’t plan yourself out of God’s intervention. There are certain areas that you need to tell yourself, ‘Only God’. When life happens, don’t get macho, leave room for God to show himself as Elshaddai. This season, we have enjoyed some freebies from the most unlikely people. Our roof was missing some shingles, we called a company and they told us it will cost $300 an hour for them to come assess and fix without the cost of the materials. We weren’t sure how many hours it will take them. Our neighbour from across the road who is in his 50s was concerned about the rain affecting the roof any further, he offered to go up the roof and fix it for us, after he finished, we asked for a bill, he said to us, “from one christian brother to another”. Wow! Indeed when life happens, God chooses to use the most unlikely people to bless us so that it is clear that this is Elshaddai at work.
In times of trouble, you need a perfect plan – a statement of your best desires for yourself, keep it flexible, creative, realistic. It is our prayer that..
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