It’s a new year. The posts about setting new goals, putting together vision boards, and starting over are rampant this time of year. Ads about getting into shape are everywhere! Want to start new projects? There’s an app for that. Planners for 2019 are flying off store shelves, faster than the stores can keep them in stock. Set a budget. Write down your goals. Make the lists…

…And it can be downright exhausting! Ummmm, can I just take down the Christmas decorations and get the kids back into school first? Please?

This time of year can be glorious to some and outright overwhelming to others. Some of us have it together, and others just want to survive another day. And that’s OK. Seriously! It’s OK.

There’s nothing magical about January 1st. It’s not any more important than June 17th or October 11th. The only thing that must change at the beginning of a new year is writing 2019 on all the important documents. Other than that, it’s another day. Because vision itself is not limited to a certain date on the calendar!

Now, I’m all for writing down goals. Vision boards are a great way to stay focused. But it should be happening all year long. Why limit yourself to only one day of the year to start new things? Goals can be started or revised all year long.

“But forget all that—

    it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.

For I am about to do something new.

    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

Those two scriptures are some of my favorites. But do you notice that there’s no date attached to it? It doesn’t say, only on January 1st will God do new things. Those verses are good for any day of the year. New beginnings can happen at any time!

Let’s take a lesson from our kiddos. They aren’t limited to a calendar. They’ll start a new project whenever they want! I remember when my kids would get out their toys and build a new city in the living room. When they would go to their dad’s house, I would take down the city and vacuum under it. Then, they would come back, whine for a minute that I had destroyed their work. However, they would just start over and rebuild it. But they would change things. “Hey, let’s put the road over here and move the bank to the end of the street.” “Let’s put Batman in this car and Spiderman on this building.” Their imaginations would soar, and another city would be built.

So, don’t worry if January 1st comes and goes and you can’t write down new goals until February 15th. All that matters is that you consistently allow yourself to grow. Permit yourself to dream all year long. And, when there’s a thought that says, “Hey, let’s do this,” then get out a piece of paper and write that stuff down! Set some goals. Add it to your vision. And then get started.

This year allow your imagination to soar! But, let it happen as it happens. Let yourself be flexible. And have a great and wonderful 2019!

Gwendolyn Irene

When Real Life Messes Up the Planner

I’m a planner. Everything goes on a calendar. If it’s not there, it probably won’t happen. Honestly! Just ask my kiddos. When they really want me to remember something, they ask if I’ve put it on my calendar. If it’s not there, it probably won’t be remembered. 

And my planner is filled. Kids activities, church stuff, family events, game nights with friends…it’s all there. The penciled in dates, stickers, quotes, verses. I even put in stuff I think will happen! All of it. Buying accessories for my planner is a favorite hobby. My Pinterest board is filled with ideas for planners. 

When Real Life Messes Up the Planner.png

I’ll let you in on a secret. Every single Valentine’s Day, I fill that little box with hearts and block out a space of time for a Valentine’s Dinner with that special someone. But, that box sits empty and has for many years. 

And, as a single mom, there’s holiday’s that are left empty because I share custody with their dad and they are at his house. 

See, as much as I wish life would match my perfect planner it doesn’t. 

A kid has to work during a scheduled family dinner. 

A tire goes flat on the way to work. 

The alarm doesn’t go off and you’re late for a meeting. 

You lose a job. A loved one. A relationship. 

Doctor’s appointments for an unexpected illness fill boxes instead of a work schedule.

Or maybe your dream just isn’t happening on your timeline. 

Life. It just happens. And it usually doesn’t go as planned.

When my youngest son was in Middle School, we were talking one night about how nothing stays the same. He’s a bit of a planner, like me.  And, he just wanted things to go the way he thought they should. I gave him the old adage, “The only constant in life is change.” His engineering mind had trouble wrapping around that one! However, it is true. Things change all around us and sometimes life takes twists and turns we never expected. 

In the Bible, I see that Abraham waited many years for a son. Joseph was imprisoned before his dreams came true. David was anointed king, then he was fleeing for his life. Ruth may not have thought she’d be working in the fields to feed her and Naomi. And, I’m not sure Paul thought that he’d be preaching in Rome as a prisoner.  

But, these men and women held on. They realized that’s God’s grace was sufficient. They held to a hope that no bad speedbump, curve, circumstance could destroy. They kept believing, even when it seemed impossible. And, honestly, isn’t that why we read about them? We see glimpses of our own lives mirrored their lives. We feel the disappointment, the unknowing, the struggle. And we rejoice when victory is obtained, and a promise fulfilled. 

Ladies, have fun with those planners! Fill them with stickers and bright colors. Carry them with you. List those dental appointments and little league games. But, be sure to leave space for the unknown. Because in those blank spaces, when it seems impossible, God’s going to do great big things! 

Gwendolyn Irene