Don't Pan the Plan
September 18, 2007
There is a seemingly disingenuous urge on the part of practitioners of spiritual things to shun strategic planning as something outside the realm of the Spirit. It is as if we do not believe God cannot enter into the process of preparation, but must show up at the last minute in order to get all the glory and save us from any mental or physical effort.
Don't pan the plan.
At some later date, I will do a study of the concept of planning in the book of Proverbs and throughout the scriptures, but for now, i will limit myself to a few verses which live in proximity to each other.
The first reminds us that it is better to plan well and with many advisers than to proceed like a charging bull against all odds to follow our hastily formulated ideas of what needs to be done.
"Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed." - Proverbs 16:22
It does not mean we follow all the advice we get. It means we seek it, hear it, consider it, and formulate our strategies in view of it.
Of course, "There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD." - Proverbs 21:30
That is an ultimate safeguard, but no one wants to butt up against that wall of last resort. We would prefer to apply Proverbs 16:3 which says, " Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."
So, somewhere between stubborn, willful confidence that excludes all voices but our own on one side and hyper spiritual "go-with-the-flowism" on the other is the place of good planning.
Good planning happens when we start with commitment to God. If you are not at that place in your spiritual journey, then at least go for truth. We start there and finish there.
It is a deficit of truth in planning that is often responsible for failures. We either did not have enough information or we did not interpret it accurately.
Then, we need good human advisers who are wise, informed, or skilled. These come in many forms:
- Experts in their fields who make up for areas where we are not as well informed.
- Generalists who have the ability to analyze data and strategies across a wide spectrum of disciplines.
- Strategists who understand how processes work and how to map out the progress of a pan from start to finish.
- Consumers who can tell us of their own self interests. They are the sources for much of our demographic information.
- Spiritual mentors who help us seek God and examine our own motives.
- Prayer partners who encourage us, mirror our hearts, and intercede for us.
We don't need to pan the plan; we need to plan the "I can!"
Our problem is not that we over-plan and exclude God; it is that we exclude Him by not planning enough and unconsciously exclude Him that way.
The commitment is the start, finish, and every breath of the planning process.