I don’t know about you, but I’m excited about 2020! Not just this year, but the entire decade. As I write this, I’m reflecting on the past decade and so much has changed… way more than my 14-year-old self could have possibly imagined. But that’s the thing with life, there are so many twists and turns.
“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
The distinction between ‘way’ and ‘steps’ is significant. Way (derek) refers to a course of life or mode of action, whereas steps (tsa’ad) are paces that one would take along the way. Whilst the way is important, it’s the steps you take which determine whether you’ll reach your destination. It’s one thing to make a plan, but it’s another to see it through. In essence, Solomon is highlighting that God wants to assist you with your execution. So often, you make the plan and map out the steps without seeking direction from God.
Bad execution can kill a good idea.
Have you ever wanted to do something and it turned out so badly that you questioned whether it was a good idea in the first place? Well, maybe it wasn’t the idea, perhaps it was how you executed it. The beauty of allowing God to direct your steps is that you’re involving Him in the details; you haven’t just confined His input to a quick prayer at the beginning and an SOS call when things go awry. Don’t allow your stubbornness to lengthen your journey. Is your sense of direction more important than His?
I sat down to sketch out a five-year plan recently and seeing it on paper made it feel so real. Irrespective of whether you’ve written down your plans, I’m sure you’ve got a picture of how you’d want your future to look. If there’s one thing the past decade has taught me, it’s the importance of taking the time to slow down and reflect. Now, more than ever, I’m acutely aware of the fact I need to actually allow God to direct my steps.
Your success, as always, is measured by your obedience.
Reflection is applicable to both what has been and what is to come. Perhaps you’ve been in a similar situation before and there are lessons you’ve forgotten, or you’re planning ahead and there’s something you’ve overlooked. These reflections will most likely form part of your future steps. However, you can only be obedient to what you know. Therefore, speak to God and take the time to know. Don’t neglect the opportunity to examine (and keep examining) if you’re headed in the right direction.
- Be flexible – ideally both your way and steps will be exactly what God has in mind. If that’s not the case, be open to a different direction. Bear in mind that if you disagree on your way and/or steps, then you’ll also need to be obedient in letting that go.
- Be patient – God may not lead you where you want to go as quickly as you want to get there, but you have to trust the process.
- Be consistent – don’t seek His direction intermittently. Choose Him consistently. Click here for how this can apply in romantic relationships.
You can learn by experience, or by obedience, either way the will of God will prevail. What would a successful year would like for you? For God, I know that it would be a year where you willingly, and intentionally, allow yourself to be directed by Him.