“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” ~ Proverbs 21:5 NIV
A couple of days ago, my sister and I were talking through what it is like to not prepare ahead. We have been arguing over a lot of house chores, who’s to clean, and when we should clean. It should seem like an easy fix, but our bad cleaning habits also point out to things we need to change in our own lives. We have noticed that the more we prolong cleaning, the more cleaning we have to do eventually. We had become very inconsistent in our work and just add more stress when it has to be done.
Moreover, my sister and I have struggled with procrastination and laziness in other areas of our lives such as school, projects, and church activities. While my sister is a lot more laid back about it, I easily get stressed when I don’t get those things done. So, after a conversation I had with her, we realized that we needed to be more consistent in our lives. We needed to think ahead. For example, it’s better to do the dishes every day so that we don’t have such large quantities of dishes in the future. In another example, we cannot put off our Bible reading until we can’t take it anymore and suddenly fall on our knees for the Lord to give us a sign. We should have been doing it regularly to begin with.
Another version of the same verse above says this, “Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind” (MSG). Not saying that in life it’s always better to plan ahead, but it does help. Just think…I know that I won’t get anything done that I want to get done if I put on Netflix after I come home from work. I know I will watch it until bedtime. So what must I do? Not-put-on-Netflix…duh. But if I plan ahead and remember what happens when I start Netflix, potentially—hopefully—I can start on the work that I know must get done. And let me tell you that when I do that, I just feel good.
Don’t get me wrong. There is a risk to doing this. Thinking too much of the future can lead to worry, stress, anxiety, depression. We have to be careful when it comes to idols or something possessive in our minds. Jesus also says in Matthew 6:34 to not worry so much, especially for what’s to come. But there is a difference between worry and thinking ahead. Worrying does not let room for what God could do in our lives. We let our own self be in charge of our life which is a huge mistake. Thinking ahead is being wise. We are checking ourselves with the help of God. The verse above is in Proverbs and Proverbs is the book of wisdom so…there’s the proof needed.
When we think thoroughly about what’s to come based on a decision we need to make at the moment, maybe the outcome will result with little to no consequence. God created us with a brain—a very complicated and complex one—so that we can think twice about our decisions. But as humans, sometimes we need to go through the learning process by making mistakes and having God redirect us. Planning ahead can only be lead by the Lord, not by our own. However, when we know that there must be a change in our habits, we must act. As a result, my sister and I have created plans to work on cleaning, on being consistent with it, and by using that to help us with other habits in our lives.