The new year is usually the time where many set goals they want to attain for the year ahead. It is the time many of us feel the need to adopt healthier habits, make changes and take steps towards a better life. While there is nothing wrong with doing this (in fact, it is wonderful to do this), there is often one big mistake: We make our own plans, our own agenda, set our own goals and then ask God to bless them.
There is nothing wrong with having vision for our lives but what happens when we never sit and ask God for His vision for us? In Jeremiah 29:11, we clearly see that God indeed has plans for us.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Which means that we are not meant to just be wandering around, going with the flow of whatever comes, letting life happen to us instead of living with purpose. On the contrary, God had intention and purpose when He created you, and as long as you are still breathing, you should constantly seek to be one with His perfect will for you.
We are quick to hurry and make our own plans based on our own limited idea of success without taking the time to hear from the one who holds the universe in His hands. Proverbs 16:3 tells us that we should commit to the Lord in whatever we do so that He can establish our plans. Meaning: So that He can show us the way we should go IF we want to walk in the purpose He has for us.
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
We cannot simply decide what is best for us and then come to God when our work has already started. Just like you cannot start building a house without making plans with your spouse first, Jesus expects us, His bride to walk hand in hand with Him and consult with him about the desires of our hearts. Many times, after taking my idea to my husband, he was able to give me new ideas and open my eyes on questions I hadn't thought of while I was making the plans on my own. God wants to give us clarity on the visions He puts in our hearts. He also wants to show you which vision doesn't come form Him.
So as we are starting this new decade, let's decide to do it with God.
Here are a few things you can do so God can give you clarity for the year ahead
1. Schedule quiet time
Truth is, we love for God to reveal things to us and give us "a word", but we never actually sit down and spend time with Him so the One who gave us this word can elaborate what it will mean on the spiritual and practical level. Schedule a time every day where you are alone with God. Grab a journal (There are several people doing journal challenges each January. You could join one). The goal is to have time to listen. There are so many things that the Lord wants to reveal to our hearts if only we would quiet our minds.
Job 6:24 Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone astray.
Ecclesiastes 3:7 A time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak
There is incredible power in fasting. I started learning about the power of fasting in early 2017, when I was extremely sick and couldn't do much out of my bed. Fasting is about abstaining from something that you love and replacing it with time with God. Fasting is a form of sacrifice but that has purpose! I am not talking about religiously giving up something for lent. I am talking about consciously giving up something that your flesh feels it cannot be happy without (ex: meat, cooked foods, sugar, bread, social media, TV...) anything you are addicted to (and trust me, you won't know how addicted you are until it is taken away from you!) and set a period of time where you wont be indulging in it. I personally suggest 21 days. But you could maybe start with a week or two at first. During this time, pray more, worship more, focus on God, do not replace your addiction with another addiction, gather with your prayer/bible study group, serve... anything that God puts on your heart to do. I am fasting cooked foods this week and God has also put on my heart to fast social media and today he added secular music to the list. So I have been indulging in worship music, sermons and praise and it feels great. Of course there will be moments where I crave cooked foods or am tempted to listen to something else, or sign in on Instagram on my laptop since it is not on my phone. But in 2019, I have learned that discipline comes with great rewards. It transforms us into the best versions of ourselves and shows us that we can live a life free of unnecessary distractions. That is the only way to truly focus on what matters
3.Write down your goals and take them at the feet of the cross
Write down the goals you feel on your heart...but don't stop there. Take them to God and ask Him to show you if these goals are God breathed or if they are the fruits of your own selfish desires. Take the time to listen to what He responds. Have the patience to wait on Him. Do not rush into anything without consulting with Him
Habakkuk 2:2 The LORD gave me this answer: "Write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance.
I am leaving you with this great message from Mike Todd about vision
I truly pray it blesses you, transforms you and draws you closer to the Father.