I love Sharpies. The bold colors. The consistent lines. The permanent ink. New Sharpies are to me now what new crayons used to be on the first day of school.
You can tell when you need new Sharpies because they start to dry out. And the tips of the pens go from round to square, making it hard to complete the curves of certain letters. They start to look tired, showing the wear and tear of all those notes, letters, lists and doodles.
It so happened that this year, I bought a new set in December, and opened it this weekend to kick off the New Year (don’t worry, we did more than that to celebrate). I took the green one out of the package to journal over the weekend, and the purple one to write out plans for the coming year. The ink was consistent, the lines thin, the curves … curvy. Joy. (It’s the little things.)
And this brings me to the real point of this post: the planning. It’s a consistent and important part of our New Year’s day to look back at where we’ve been and more importantly, look ahead to where we want (and need) to go.
O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps (Jeremiah 10:23).
That passage is an apt start to a new year. As we undertake lists of resolutions, goals, hopes, plans, dreams — whatever you call the way we tend to embrace this clean slate of a new year with new and better intentions — we do well to remember that we are unable to direct our own steps. There is humility and great comfort in that truth.
That’s not to say we should just let time happen to us without any thought to our ways. Planning is good and helpful. Having a sense of direction makes it more likely we’ll get where we should go. Some of the questions we answered (that you could also ask yourself) to help us set priorities for the year ahead include:
- What would you like to see different about your life one year from now?
- What would you like to have accomplished in that time?
- How can you improve your relationships, your school work or professional work?
- What purchases would you like to make?
- Where would you like to travel?
- What growth or change would you like to see in your spiritual life, professional life, social life, physical well-being?
- What things do you enjoy most; what are your favorite things?
- What things do you wish you could stop doing?
However you prepare for the year ahead, remember to consider the source of your map. And your mapmaker. God knows where we should walk. He is able to keep our feet from stumbling (Psalm 56:13, Psalm 116:8). I don’t know about you, but that gives me comfort, and great comfort!