We just finished our eighteenth annual planning time. Since 1995 we’ve set aside a few days together every year as a family, seeking what the Lord would have us do as a family and as individuals within that family.
Our purpose is to discuss each area of our lives and refocus on what we think the Lord is calling us to do. We take two-hour segments with breaks in between, resulting in two to three sessions per day.
Areas we discuss include:
- Our notes from the previous year, making a list of everything we accomplished. This begins the week on a positive note.
- We talk about our relationship as husband and wife.
- Dan and I each take turns discussing ourselves and where we are at with every aspect of our life.
- We have one session where the two of us discuss each child. Afterward we have a session with that child. We give them all the time they want/need to talk to us about anything that is on their mind or heart. We share our views of how we think they are doing, focusing mainly on the positive. When they were younger we gave them a character quality to work on over the next year and focused some of our training and homeschool on that quality. We end with praying with them.
- Other sessions we do are finances, our home, vehicles, homeschool, vacations, discretionary time, celebrations, giving, and church involvement. There are others, but those are the basics.
I want to share some things from two of these areas that were especially surprising and pleasing this year.
- First, finances.
We always discuss our giving and revisit the places we give to over and above our tithe. We consider whether they are still places the Lord wants us giving to and add or remove them as we think the Lord is leading us. Most of these are missionaries, pro-life, pro-family, or the poor and widows that we give $25.00-$40.00 a month to. Doesn’t sound like much, does it?
But… do you know that $25.00 a month for 28 years is $16,800? We did know that mathematically, but we didn’t know it in our hearts. We’ve all had the experience of wanting to give a big sum to an organization that particularly touches our hearts. We discovered that we can actually do that—one step at a time!
The Lord showed us that following Him step by step, year after year, plodding along, committing it to Him will result in amazing things.
There are all sorts of applications to this, and we’ve been surprised as we apply this principle to different areas of our lives.
- Cleaning drawers
- Cleaning files
- Doing a difficult task
- Changing a habit
- Loving that difficult person
“Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3 ESV
- Second, children
Our children are 21, 24, and 25. They still live at home and are in various stages of study and entrepreneurship. They have always been with us for our planning times.
Their involvement has changed over the years. Those first years stretched us to plan well so we could carve out our two hour sessions and still care for them in a good way. Now they’re all adults and have more than enough to keep themselves busy.
This year we asked them to have a session to discuss us. One of the things they had on their “we’ve done it right list” is our planning times. They all still look forward to them and say they have helped them a lot over the years.
If that isn’t enough to encourage you to have a planning time as a family listen to this quote.
“The world operates on vision. God’s people live by revelation.” Blackaby
Why not set aside some time soon to pursue the Lord’s revelation to you and your family?
Our book Purposeful Planning is always free to military families. Email me at Phyllis@Phyllis-Sather.com
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Ebook and audio versions available at www.Phyllis-Sather.com
© 2013 Phyllis Sather
Phyllis is an ordinary woman serving an extraordinary God. She has been the joyful wife of her best friend Daniel for 28 years and became a stay at home mom 25 years ago after retiring from a management position. Their homeschooled children, Emily (25), Rebekah (24), and Eric (21), are now working on “Home College”. For six+ years she has had a column on mothers and daughters in Eternal Encouragement magazine. She has published several books, including her favorite, Purposeful Planning. Visit her on her website at Phyllis-Sather.com