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Spiritual Training Cycle: Presence (wk. 1/13)

A good friend of mine recently competed in a CrossFit competition. The competition took place in San Antonio, always a nice little road trip South of Austin. The day before she headed down, she told me about her partner and the qualifying workouts they had to do. She talked about her group of friends, all from the same gym, who had rented an Airbnb together. There were talks of meals together and cheering for one another. She asked for prayers for rest and freedom from old injuries. I was excited to pray for her and excited to talk with her because she had exciting plans.

It's fun to make plans, even when the plan is to do nothing, which is honestly one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday. When my wife tells me we have nothing on the calendar, I’ll say, “Now we do. We have plans. Plans to do nothing.” We make all kinds of plans. Some of you get excited about planning to go to the grocery store. You chefs and amazing cooks know who you are. I hope all of us enjoy plans to go workout. I get so excited to workout that I lay out all my clothes, shoes, and assorted necessities the night before. Others of you find joy in planning a meal at a favorite restaurant or taking in a concert. Plans can be fun when it’s fun to make plans.

But not all planning is fun. Sometimes life deals you punches that require plans. Like the doctor visit you’ve been putting off. Or the counseling session you know you need. The holidays are coming up and like it or not your in-laws are coming. Time to make some plans. There are also the plans we must make because of chaos we’ve caused. Like planning your forgiveness speech for your spouse or a close friend. Plans direct and shape the course of our life.

That’s why God has a plan for us! He has some seriously good plans. He wants us to be close to Him, to feel His love, to be connected to our calling, and to use the good gifts He has given each of us. There’s a word for God’s plan for us – the ancient Hebrew word shalom. Shalom means wholeness, fullness, completeness, peace, prosperity, welfare, and tranquility. Shalom is not just the absence of conflict, but something better in its place. Shalom describes a state of flourishing, and it’s in this context that it becomes so relevant to us because shalom is God’s plan.

Shalom is God's plan

And God’s plan for your life is that you would flourish. Just like you flourish physically from the hard work you experience when you exercise, the same is true spiritually. The difficulties and challenges in life can shape and refine us in ways only God knows. It’s how we become the whole and complete people God wants us to be. So, no matter what you’ve got on your plate today, I want you to grab your to-do list and at the top of it write, “God’s got plans for me.” Because He does!

Questions for Reflection:

What are the plans you make that bring you joy? What do you avoid planning?

How are God’s plans shaping your life today?

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