Another Year

New Year. Another one. 2017. Already. Any hopes? Dreams? Challenges? Resolutions? Plans?

Of course we have no idea what lies ahead, we can make plans we can prepare for stuff but no-one actually knows for sure whether any of it will actually happen ..

I am not sure how far ahead you all make plans, but one of the strong points in the Navy was planning (I know that will sound contradictory to any of you who served in the forces!). Now, I’m not talking about day to day planning really, more mid to long term planning. We always knew the ship’s outline programme for the next couple of years, and then increasing amounts of details down to the next day … and then there would be specific instructions detailing the actual exercise or visit or whatever it was. Generally the very long term plan stayed the same … ie when we would be deployed or on a certain exercise, but it was that actual day or the next that kept changing … the old saying ‘A plan is simply a basis for change’ springs to mind … we also used another saying as well … the 6 ‘P’s – Prior Planning Prevents ‘Pretty’ Poor Performance. There is nothing wrong with planning, but how tight do we hold onto our plans? How does it affect us when something changes and we have to alter or shelve our plans? How flexible are we?

I remember once we had been on an anti-submarine patrol and had been away from our base port for about 6 weeks, and every weekend the Captain had planned in a flight deck BBQ but we were either engaged on operations, or the helo was flying, weather was bad and the BBQ had been cancelled every weekend. The lads were getting a bit fed up of this change in plan every week! So on the final Saturday before we got back to our base port of Plymouth the Captain insisted that we have the BBQ whatever was going on. It was raining, it was blowing a gale and the ship was pitching and rolling. But would the Captain change his mind? No. We had the BBQ .. and it was .. er … interesting (had to lash the BBQ drums down to prevent them flying around, and the guys cooking were all in full foul weather clothing, and the lads basically ate in the hanger and just went straight back to their messes. It was a disaster). So sometimes we can stick to a plan when really we shouldn’t!

New Year is often when we start thinking about plans or resolutions, things that are going to happen or we are going to do (who has ever taken a gym membership out and not lasted beyond March???). The thing with being a Christian and what I would call ‘Gods plan’ is that it does not revolve around tomorrow … it is basically focussed on today! You can’t change what happened yesterday, and you don’t now what will happen tomorrow .. so it’s all about today .. there is a verse in the Bible that says this :

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
(Matthew 6 v 34 – the Message version).

I love that … I’m not saying that we shouldn’t think about stuff that we are planning, but how tight do we hold onto that plan? If we are journeying with God the second part of that quote is great … God will help you deal with the hard things that come up … the changes, the curved balls.

So, at the start of the New Year why not make a resolution to make plans, but hold them lightly … and when things happen that throws our plans out the window, allow God to help us through …

Until next time …. Cheers and blessings … and a very happy 2017!