Encouragement for Today - Oct. 23, 2006


October 23, 2006


Encouragement for Today


Principle 1


“Do You Have a Plan For This?”

Lysa TerKeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries


Key Verse:

2 Corinthians 1:16-17, “I planned to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea.  When I planned this, did I do it lightly?  Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say, ‘Yes, yes’ and ‘No, no?’” (NIV)



When people find out I have five kids, write books, and run a ministry, their first question is always how in the world do I do all that? First, let me assure you, there are always plenty of things that I don’t get done. My to-do list rarely sees an end and I usually underestimate the amount of time it takes to accomplish something. But, I do like having a plan to make as much of it happen as possible.


Planning out a daily agenda can often seem like a joke.  The Bible tells us that we can have as many plans as we want, but God’s ultimate plans for us will always preside over ours.  You may be asking, “Why even bother making a plan if this is the case?”   Well planning is much more than penciling in every minute of your day.  It’s a discipline that helps us become intentional about making our real priorities, priorities.


In today’s Key Verse, Paul reminds the Corinthians that he did not come to visit without a plan.  He put a lot of thought and purpose into what it would take to make the trip possible and what would be a priority when he got there.  He made his “yes” a definite “yes” and his “no” a definite “no.”


The first part of a plan is to decide what to say “yes” to and what to say “no” to. One of the best ways to decide which activities fall into the “yes” category is to pray about them.  In 2 Chronicles 28:12, King David gave his son Solomon the plans that the Spirit had put in his mind about the building of the Lord’s temple.  Which activities do you believe God has called you to make a priority?


For example, I can only work at my office one day a week. While the ideal would be to go to the office everyday, this is not a season for it to be my main hub.  There are other places that my energies need to be put right now, such as with my children.


Next, you can schedule in the things you’ve said “yes” to. In our home, each kid can pick one outside activity to participate in. With five kids, this still equals a lot of scheduling, driving, and watching, but this is what we’ve decided is realistic and fair for our family.  Now we can pencil in the upcoming activities those commitments require.


Finally, you can write in your individual appointments and obligations. This is the white space where ministry works, doctor and orthodontist appointments, volunteer obligations, and special projects fit in.  Now I feel the freedom to plan time for me in my schedule.


This all takes place once a quarter with my husband on board planning our master family calendar. Then once a week, we sit down and go over who is responsible for each of the balls being juggled.  We also plan a time for us to connect, whether it’s a date night, coffee, or a movie at home together.   Without proper planning beforehand, we can easily become angered and frustrated with one another since last minute debates as to who is running what carpool are likely to arise.


Getting my schedule out of my brain and on to a calendar drastically reduces my stress, and alleviates the feeling that my schedule is running me rather than the other way around.  Planning has disciplined me to say “no” to things that aren’t a priority, “yes” to the things that are, and puts me and my husband back on the same page so the lines of communication are not tangled in a frustrating mess.


So what happens when God decides to throw a wrench in your plans, so He can have His way?  Take comfort in knowing and accepting that—for whatever reason—He has allowed this as part of His purposes for you.  And RELAX!


My Prayer for Today:

Dear Heavenly Father, I feel so tired today.  My schedule seems never-ending and I need the discipline to create a system to alleviate this stress.  Give me wisdom to say “no” to some things and make the “yes” things a real priority.  I want to be able to give 100% to the few things that really matter rather than giving 30% to everything. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Application Steps:

Here is a quick breakdown of the method my husband and I use to plan our daily, weekly, and monthly schedules as described in today’s devotion:


  1. Pray about those things you need to say “yes” to and “no” to.
  2. Sit down with your spouse and kids once a quarter to make a master calendar so every person’s activities is considered.
  3. Once each person has weeded out their “no’s”, pencil in your “yes” commitments.
  4. Look for white space to schedule individual appointments and obligations.
  5. Now you can plan time for yourself and other people.
  6. Don’t forget those date nights with your husband!!!


Reflection Points:

Read Psalm 121:3-8. These verses are here to encourage you today.

  1. God knows you intimately.
  2. He knows what you are facing.
  3. He knows the details of your life.
  4. He watches your coming and going. (Wow! That means God sees all those trips to soccer practice and runs to the grocery store!)
  5. Even when you sleep, God is taking care of things because He does not sleep.


Power Verses:

1 Chronicles 28:12, “He gave him the plans of all that the Spirit had put in his mind for the courts of the temple of the Lord and all its surrounding rooms.” (NIV)


Proverbs 15:22, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” (NIV)


Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)


Additional Resources:

Living Life on Purpose  by Lysa TerKeurst


The Bathtub is Overflowing, But I Feel Drained; by Lysa TerKeurst


Lysa’s testimony on audio


Originally published Monday, 23 October 2006.