Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Why You Need a Plan, Not a List

Home from the grocery store, I was busily shelving my items while contemplating what I'd make for dinner. My youngest had soccer practice that evening, so it would have to be something quick and easy to make, and if it was a family favorite, all the better. I settled on my homemade pizza.  A quick inventory, however, told me I was missing several key ingredients.  "Okay, tacos it is!" But, oh no, I didn't all have the ingredients for that either.

You did get the part that I'd just returned from the grocery store, right?  And I even used a list!  The problem was my list was simply covering the items we'd run out of, like cereal and lunch bags, and the items I knew I always used like bread and milk.  I didn't have a plan. In this case, a meal plan to determine what I'd have for dinner that week, so my list was essentially useless.

How eye opening that was, because in my life I use a list instead of a plan as well. My list may have "Publish a book" on it, but without a plan that just isn't going to happen it. I have lots of hopes and dreams and even "to-dos" on my list, but without a real plan my list really doesn't do the job. A list just says what you want. A plan says how you will do it.

In their hearts, humans plan their course, bu the Lord establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9

I love Matthew Henry's commentary on the above verse. He says, "If men make God's glory their end, and his will their rule, he will direct their steps by his Spirit and grace." I want God to direct my steps, but I share a part in planning my course. God wants me to follow his will. But to follow I must move, with a planned course of action.

Do you have a plan for your life's goals, or do you just have a list of goals? What changes can you make to turn your list into a plan and start making things happen? And can you recommend something quick and easy for dinner that doesn't require a trip to the grocery store?


If you'd like a life plan, but have no idea where to start, why not read Michael Hyatt's FREE book, "Creating a Personal Life Plan." You may get a copy simply by subscribing to his blog. 
Kelly Combs is a Christian wife, mom, writer and speaker. You can learn about Kelly by visiting her website at

Chatty Kelly


Elizabeth said...

Love this!! How many things do we miss in life by just following our daily to-do list, without a big picture view!

mark and jennifer dougan said...

Hi Kelly,

I could so relate not only to the grocery and dinner dance, but also to needing to make sure there is a plan for publishing, for serving, and for ministry. Thanks, Kelly.

Jennifer Dougan

Kari Scare said...

This makes SO much sense to me. I am a big list person, but a sometimes plan person. I get impatient and don't want for the plan to develop sometimes, and I think I miss God when I do that. Funny... just read Elizabeth's comment after I wrote the above, and she said basically the same thing. Thank you for bringin this to my attention. I need to pray differently and then work toward change in this area. Maybe you could write a follow-up post on how to turn a list into a plan.

Kelly Combs said...

Oh Kari, a follow up post is a great idea, but this is a weak area for me too. I think I need to work planning myself first, and then maybe share the results. Thanks for the encouragement!

Melanie said...

Very good explanation and I really like the Matthew Henry commentary. Love it, actually.

Kari Scare said...

Might turn into an interesting series of posts at some point as you work to get better at planning. Who knows?!