Many are the plans in a person's heart,
but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. Poverbs 19:21
A new year inspires new plans, but what is the purpose? Though I’ve resisted New Year’s resolutions for some time, I absolutely made resolutions. I made too many resolutions. I have so many ideas and goals but not so much time. So I began to think about resolving to do less, but there were still things I was longing to do and there was still something missing in this resolve.
I read an article in REAL SIMPLE magazine the other day called “Say Yes to No” and the quote that stood out was this, “Remember that when you say yes to one thing, you are saying no to something else.” This is where my crisis of priorities and longing for purpose is rubbed raw. I’m painfully aware of how I have so many great ideas, interests, hobbies, and goals but the limitations I have as a mortal being are quickly realized in the middle of most of my new projects while the old ones collect dust. When my new resolutions are not carefully chosen, I have less time for the things I was already doing and already loved. It’s like when you are getting ready to move and you have purge your closets but it can be so hard to pick what you part with and what you keep. Similarly we have to sift through the things we spend our time on to determine what matters and what has to be let go; because if I don’t choose what I let go of, my limitations will choose it for me. Either way, it kind of hurts.
I found comfort in this simple verse: Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21
If I take my eyes off of all the things I like and want and try to look at my plans through the lens of this verse, it greatly relieves my burden and improves my vision. I’m pretty sure I’m still going to fall short trying to accomplish things (even when simplifying). As a follower of Jesus, I can make lots of plans but it will be His purposes that have the greatest probability of succeeding. If I want his purpose more than a lot of plans, there are less burdens on my shoulders already. I believe this choice brings liberty and joy. It’s funny how I made too many plans in the pursuit of happiness.
Having new goals at the start of a new year is not a bad thing. Some people go through the year without goals or hobbies and starting something new could be exactly what they need. Surely if you need a healthier lifestyle and chose one, it will be good for you. Surely there is so much good that can come from having good goals and a drive to achieve them. But surely there can also be too much of a good thing and less really is more.
I often feel like a Jill of all trades yet master of none. It occurred to me that if I took Proverbs 19:21 seriously and set my eyes on purpose before plans, I might actually master something. I’m also reminded that I have a purpose which is better than accomplishing a lot of activities. So I’ve resolved live with purpose and keep the projects minimal. In a world of hurry up and do more, it’s liberating to slow down and do less.