Hope for your financial life and beyond

The Hidden Issue Behind the Best-Laid Plans

Hidden Nuggets Series #66 – “…you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away…” – James 4:14

“Mary, I know what I’m going to do tomorrow and the next day and next year and the year after that. I’m shaking the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I’m going to see the world. Italy, Greece, the Parthenon, the Coliseum…then I’m coming back here and go to college and see what they know, and then I’m going to build things…”

george bailey and mary hatchSounds like this man is going to have a wonderful life. His path is clear. His steps are ordered in sequence. His vision is grand.

Yet, the movie character George Bailey never saw how life might disrupt his best-laid plans. He wasn’t anticipating any curveballs, like the impending tragedy coming to his family…that he’d take over the Building and Loan…that he’d give his college money to his brother Harry…that Harry wouldn’t want to take George’s place at the building and loan…that he’d marry Mary…that he’d use his honeymoon money to solve an economic crisis…that he’d face personal financial ruin over no fault of his own.

Funny how life chews up our plans, spits them out and declares, “Take that!”

George didn’t accomplish any of the dreams hatched in his young adult mind. But that doesn’t mean he never should have planned. Planning is vital for success. Maybe he could have been less arrogant though by understanding who it is that really orders our path. That’s the hidden issue behind our plans…they are subject to the one who knows what the future holds.

A Better Perspective on Planning

In the Bible, these words from the apostle James bear this idea out,

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that. But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” (James 4:13-16)

In a couple of weeks, I’m going to share here some plans and goals I have for 2015. I’m looking ahead to what I can accomplish in the new calendar year.

I’m continuing to plan financially for our family…have been doing that for a long time. I want to help put my kids through college, invest so I can retire with dignity and plan to give away a lot of money.

I’m planning for our church youth group activities for 2015.

Right now we are planning for our post-Christmas vacation in three weeks.

The issue in these verses isn’t about planning per se. We see too many other places in the Bible where wise planning is applauded. What’s being addressed is the arrogant heart attitude that assumes we know the future and are complete masters of our own destiny.

I believe wholeheartedly that God has plans for my life. Every day I need to acknowledge that. I’ll move forward in humble gratitude for each moment I’ve been given.

Has life ever thrown you a curve ball that forced you to go in a completely different direction than what you’d planned? Did you resist the new direction? How did you make the adjustment?

Next Post: The Biggest Home Security Issue Everyone Is Missing

Prior Post: Sharing the Results of a 4-Month Blog Commenting System Experiment

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  1. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank says

    Planning alone is not enough; it should be holistic planning like anticipating almost everything and having plan A and B or maybe another one, C. Good article Brian! I enjoyed it.

  2. You Hit the nail on the head with our planning being a heart issue (who is really in control and how do I feel about it). Thanks for the reminder as we are in the midst of a busy holiday season and looking ahead to the new year.

  3. Oh yes, life has thrown me plenty of curveballs. Some I responded to better than others, but that is part of learning, right? What I have finally concluded when these curveballs present themselves (and not all are necessarily bad) is that it is a sign to look-up and pay attention. God may be pointing me in a new direction that I was so busy and didn’t see.

    • “…is part of learning…” Agreed…my mistake is when it takes two or three of the same kind of issues before I adjust. That ever happen to you? Best to learn the lesson and move on on the first try. 🙂

  4. Life is what happens while you’re making other plans. I heard that quote years ago and have just tried to adapt as life changed my plans sometimes for the better. Looking forward to a great planned 2015, and hope yours is as well.

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