Thursday, April 21, 2016

Success matters - careful planning matters more!

Success:  The accomplishment of one's goals; the favorable or prosperous end to your attempts or endeavors; the attainment of something good or welcomed.   Most of us strive for success in our endeavors, but then find we have bitten off a little more than we could chew, making a true "success" a little out of reach for us.  If we examine the actual meaning of success, it might just give us a little hint as to why we don't hit a home run each and every time we try aim for success.  It is because they are our goals, our attempts to attain.  One thing I have learned in my 5+ decades on this earth - my plans are okay, but they aren't really good until they are blessed and overseen by God each step of the way.

People go about making their plans, but the Eternal has the final word.  Even when you think you have good intentions, He knows your real motives.  Whatever you do, do it as service to Him, and He will guarantee your success. (Proverbs 16:1-3 VOICE)

Plans are simply desired outcomes - we hope for something at the end of whatever it is we are striving to accomplish. In the end, when we miss the desired outcome, we get frustrated.  I had a spreadsheet formatting issue yesterday which just kept baffling me.  No matter how many times I looked at a long list of conditional formatting formulas I had entered, I could not see the subtle error which was causing me to not see what I wanted to see.  I cannot tell you how many times I read, re-read, and even erased, tried again!  The thing wouldn't do what I wanted it to do.  I was getting frustrated because I thought I had everything right.  In the end, I saw one flaw in just one of those six formulas - one! All that frustration was because of one simple symbol!

Most of life's issues as we set out to accomplish some goal in our day aren't because we didn't "plan well", but because we don't see the subtle things which actually get us pretty off-course and deep into frustration.  I spent way longer finding the error than I did in initially "planning" the way I wanted this worksheet to work when I put in the data needed.  This is often the case when we just try to "re-double" our efforts to make something happen.  We get stumped by the things which don't work out as we thought, sometimes even to the point we get frustrated and want to throw up our hands and walk away.  Planning is only part of the mission in life - we also need to be open to listening for God's wisdom along the way.  

As I sat there ready to throw up my hands, a little voice said to look at one set of formulas.  I looked at them, side by side, comparing each and every detail over and over again in the complex set of instructions.  It took me about ten minutes to see that one wrong symbol directing my worksheet to do two equations based on the same value!  We sometimes don't see the issue with our plan because we are too close to it - it has become too routine, too generic.  What we need is God to give us a little clarity, to help us focus in on the very thing inherent in our plan which will become a source of frustration somewhere down the road!

The other frustrating  part we may not realize is that the very thing we planned to do for another may be what gives us so much of a challenge!  This wasn't even a worksheet section I would be using - it was for someone else!  That issue wasn't an issue for me - it became an issue when someone else wanted to "pattern" what they were doing after something I was doing.  We may not realize how much our plans for success actually affect another until we see them struggling with the one thing we didn't "catch" in our "good planning". That one thing became a source of frustration for both of us! Success for her was impacted by a lack of carefulness in executing my plan!  We never know when our "success" endeavors are going to be the very thing someone else models along the way.  Just sayin!