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What’s Your Five-Year Plan?
Remember that question?
I never liked it.
It seemed inherently wrong.

I realize you must plan. 
When we’d go on any trip, Joey would get us there. 
I’d get us there comfortably–fed, warm, hydrated, and entertained.
That required planning with a purpose.

I understand the rationale behind planning.
“Aim at nothing. Hit it every time.”

Many businesses plan for five and twenty-five years. 
Even churches plan for greater numbers.
But I always felt that was wrong.
Allow the numbers to rest with God. He brings the growth. Of course, through His people's obedience.

Psalms 37:23 says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.”

When Abraham was told to leave his home, he didn’t know where he was going.
He was told by God to go. And he went. 
God would tell him what he needed, when he needed it.

Often, when one of our boys was small, he'd ask what we were going to do all day. That led to how, then why then he would present a different option...
I learned quickly he only needed to know what the next step was. 
Anything further out and he was already changing my plans.
Or he would hurry through the one step so he could do what he wanted.

Are we like that with God?
We got the church service over, now I can do what I want!
We must ask God and wait for His answer.

When my son hurried me to answer him about the plans for "his day." 
I waited to answer. 
He wasn't ready to listen. He wasn't listening to me. 
He was in a hurry to get back to his stuff.
Sometimes my devotions seem hurried. "I need the answer, NOW."
But the answer isn't found in the NOW.
It is found in the WAIT.


God doesn't give us His five-year plan or even the plan for our lives.

As our boys struggled with “what to do with their lives” I told them no one knew. (Not encouraging, though truthful.) 
Not many people stay in the occupation where they first started. 
But we DO know what the next step is. Just Do It!
And if we don’t know that next step, we know Who to ask.

After hearing comments throughout 2020 about how plans were impossible, I wondered if this would cause more people to ask the One Who knew?
But all I heard was people wanted things back to normal.
Not to look to God, but to get back to their plans.

My 2020 year, though filled with many changes, was lived no different than other years. 
I did the next thing. 
We homeschooled, like normal.
I bulk shopped, like normal except that many things weren't available or were more expensive.
My day-to-day routine, though changed with moving, wasn’t controlled by what happened in the world.  
See what I mean?

I have no five-year plan. 
As an early mother with ambition, I remember I had lists of things to accomplish for the day. I learned early on those lists only frustrated me as interruption after interruption changed my plans.

I’ve been writing on my website for over five years. (Who would have thought?)
I could get discouraged by my low numbers, or by how few books I’ve sold, or by how little my writing shows any impact. 
Initially I got caught up in “my followers”, my twitter account, what I must do that every other author is doing. 

But I stepped back from all that when I evaluated what God wanted me to do.
Sometimes I still look at my low numbers and ask, "Should I continue to write?" (A good question.)
I certainly didn’t reach any of my anticipated dreams when I started!
But I went back to the advice I’d give to my boys, “Do the next thing.”
And make sure that I am seeking God in that next thing.
Psalms 37:23 still is true.
God hasn't told me to do anything different.
Although I do feel the urgency to know His Word so much more.

2020 was traumatic for a lot of people. 
Why?
Because what they planned, didn’t happen.
In fact, nothing was as they planned.
Weddings venues were cancelled.
Family vacations were postponed.
People lost their jobs.
America businesses lost their five-year plans. 
Some may never come back.
Concern for America's future should be in everyone’s prayers.

People didn't advance toward their five-year goals during 2020.
Instead they must look to the One Who directs their steps.
Not their year, but their next step.

Why was it not traumatic for me?
(I'm not saying 2020 wasn’t filled with changes and problems, because it was.) 
But my plans were not upset. 
Because I had no plans.

How do I do that?
I look to God for my next step.

We still are at the rental house.
We have not looked for a house or property for two months. (Joey felt we needed to wait until January.) 
Do I pine for tomorrow, when I can feel settled?
No. I miss some of my junk that’s buried in the shed. But only because I could use it now.
Or anticipate the boys having more to do with a bit more land.
I struggle with being content, because of whom I miss (greatly).
But we are where we are supposed to be right now.

What do I do today? 
I ask God. 
Most of the time, it's the same thing I did yesterday. 
School. Laundry. Dinner. 
I’ve started walking and exercising (after I gained 15 lbs. from moving).
It’s the routine of life.

We look to the future and ask, “How should we prepare?”
It comes back to what I tell my boys, “Do the next thing.”

What can happen in five years? 
More than you or I will ever know.
But we know Who directs our steps to get there.
And we trust Him.


What plans do you have? Are they sanctioned by God?
 

That makes sense!

I saw your heading "What's Your Five Year Plan," and I panicked a bit. Was I suppose to have one? I can't even plan my next day! What a relief when I read your blog, I don't need a plan! It's so much easier to let God lead the way and follow where He wants me. This past week it seemed as though every plan fell through, Christmas Day, the Sunday family get-together, the wedding I was going to tomorrow in So. CA., etc. (The pastor backed out of the wedding, found a new one but only close family now.) From the time we were first married, I told Steve that God sent him to teach me to be flexible and did I ever learn a lot! Then kids happened and I learned more.
Thanks for writing Sonya, I love your honesty and openness. Your writings make me realize that maybe I am not hopeless in this wonderful mess called life.

Excellent as always! Thank you so much for writing. Even if it's just for a few of us, you've made a big impact. I speak for myself, yes, but I have a feeling there are others who are saying the same thing.

I appreciate your writing! As my husband says, "Do what you know is right!"...and you can have peace regardless of the outcome. Sure simplifies the decision making!

I agree on five year plans...so much can change in even a moment that we never saw coming...but I believe there is also value in having a longer term "vision" for the future. What do we want to instill in our kids before they leave home? What do we want our marriage to look like in twenty years? type of thinking ahead, so we don't just get lost in the rut of the everyday and wake up one day realizing that we lost sight of the overarching goal somewhere along the way. I guess as a young mom with a super busy day (not to mention all the widely available mind-numbing distractions associated with the internet) it is particularly easy to lose sight of where I'm headed sometimes, and an occasional thought for where I'm probably headed is helpful to keep my daily life in perspective and highlight changes that need to be made.

Keep writing! Please!

Your article reminded me of this thought. "Want to know God's plan for your life? Start by obeying His commands in His Word, what you already know is God's will."

xoxox Helen

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I write about what matters...to you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what matters...to Him.
               Sonya Contreras

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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