God is the giver of this new month of life. Our written goals are our thank you letter to him. We say thank you in the most genuine of ways … we tell him all the ways we intend to use, savor, and enjoy the gift.
Isn’t this a perspective shift on your goals? It’s not a to-do list of all you have to do, it’s a gratitude list of all the ways you’re going to use the gift of time you’ve been given.
Since I started viewing my goals as gratitude in action, achieving those goals has felt a whole lot more like a blessing instead of a burden.
This revelation came to me several years ago after purchasing a wedding gift for my nephew and his new bride. I bought them a large wooden serving tray with handles. A few weeks later, I received a thank you card for the gift. The standard thank you card simply says, “thank you for the gift”. The great thank you card says, “thank you for the wooden serving tray.” But the next level thank you card is what I received, and it’s forever changed the way I say thank you.
The card I received said, “Thank you for the beautiful wooden serving tray. I’m so excited to serve breakfast on our patio on this tray. Our coffee morning dates will be so sweet with this special tray. It will be used and treasured and we will think of you every time.”
WOAH! See what I mean? That’s next level.
We are girls designed to live next level. We have been blessed beyond measure, now it’s time we show next level gratitude for the gift of life we have been given.
Today’s devotional is a continuation of yesterday. Yesterday, on day 1 of this new month of life, we considered what a true gift February is. Oh, the opportunities and the blessings it holds. While most receive this gift without an awareness of it’s precious nature, we are called to next level living, and we will rise to the challenge to receive it with full awareness.
This is LIFE, and it is being offered to us. Priceless days are here in the offering. Divine opportunities are aligned for us. Beauty designed in the mind of the Almighty and delivered by his gracious hands. It’s all here for us. Us next level girls will show next level gratitude!
There are four parts to this next level living:
- Seek God
- Make Plans
- Surrender Our Plans
- Praise Him In Advance
So first, we seek God. As Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:7, we’re asking, we’re seeking and we’re ready to try! God, what do you have for us here this month? We want what you want. We will work for it!
Second, we make plans. Those are our goals. Plans of how we will use these days given to us. Plans of how we will grow and get better. Plans of making the changes God prompts us to make to become more of who he created us to be. Plans of being faithful with all that has been given to us. Plans of putting him first and seeking everything he has available to us. And remember, we will see him in all of it. As we use the days he has given us, we will think of the one who has given it all to us!
And that brings us to today, parts 3 and 4 of our next level living of the extreme gift of life that has been given to us.
- SURRENDER YOUR PLANS
Sometimes we make plans, then plans don’t go our way. Why is that? Is God being cruel?
Let me tell you something, God doesn’t love sitting on his throne wrecking your plans. He loves conspiring with you to do ridiculously good things. He loves partnering with you in the impossible. With his power, your surrender becomes an open door for greater plans.
One of my favorite tools is the Pilot Frixon erasable gel pens (no, I don’t get paid for this). Do you know why I love these pens so much? Because most every plan I make tends to gets rearranged in some way. Instead of flipping out over it, I’ve learned to erase it and rewrite it with the new plan, and continue moving forward.
This is surrender. God, I’m still making plans. I’m still writing goals. My intentions are to use this gift you have given me in the following ways … however I surrender my good plans to your greater plans as we move toward the life you have designed for me.
Remember Jeremiah 29: 11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Hey, he STILL KNOWS, and his plans are STILL GOOD. That hasn’t changed. He’s still offering hope here. His plans to prosper you have not been cancelled.
Ephesians 3: 20-21 (MSG) “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”
So God, here are our plans for this month. We are willing to work. We are here to get better. We want to live up to our potential. Now guide us with your Spirit in the best ways. We surrender our plans to you.
Surrender doesn’t mean give up and quit trying. Surrender means stop fighting it and follow the lead. Willingly go in the same direction as God.
Here’s what we typically do … we make our plans, life comes in and interrupts our plans, we get frustrated and give up. But we not only give up, we self-sabotage! We go hog wild in the opposite direction. That’s not surrender, that’s sabotage. Then we refuse to make future commitments because we’re on next level sabotage. That’s how we one day wake up to a life we don’t like and a reflection in the mirror we don’t recognize.
Work WITH God. He is not against you. Surrender your plans to him. He isn’t shutting you down, he is guiding you to see greater plans. God’s not interested in your jean size, he’s interested in you loving the vessel he created to carry your soul. God’s not concerned with your bank account, he’s concerned with your ability to manage the blessings he has offered so he can open the storehouses of heaven and pour out more.
I’ve learned the value of FLOW in my life. I once sat beside a river and I watched the water naturally flow. When it came to a large rock right in the middle of it’s path, the water didn’t flip out. It didn’t stop. It didn’t try to go backwards to avoid the rock. It didn’t throw a fit and give up. No, the water simply flowed around the rock.
This is us. We are the water. The rocks are not there to ruin us. We’re to simply flow around them and continue without worry, without anxiety, and without regret.
My sister, let life flow. Seek God, then make your plans. Plans are good. Proverbs 16:9, “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” Our plans of how we are going to use the gift of life God has given us are important, now surrender them to God because only he can make us able to truly live it.
- PRAISE HIM IN ADVANCE
There is power in your praise. Have you ever thanked God in advance for what he is going to do? That takes faith.
Occasionally I will receive a message from someone who says “thank you in advance for responding to me.” You know what I will be sure to do … respond. It is their gratitude in advance that draws me in. I respond to gratitude.
God responds to our gratitude. Your praise unleashes his power.
Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
The key here is your gratitude. God, I don’t see the way now, but I don’t have to see the way before knowing you’re making the way. I don’t know when, but I know it will happen and I’m thanking you in advance for it.
And this is the next level for girls God has called to next level living with him.
- Seek God
- Make Plans
- Surrender Our Plans
- Praise Him In Advance
You have a great big powerful God who loves you wildly and he’s given you a beautiful gift. What will you do with it?
God, we’re here to thank you for the opportunities you’re bringing our way this month. We’re grateful for the strength and energy you are going to provide. We’re thankful for the growth we will experience here. We’re excited about your blessings and your provision. We’re expectant of your power. Thank you in advance for an amazing month of life. A month of changes and breakthroughs. A month of adventures and memories. A month of work, progress and growth. Now, we flow with the steps you direct. We trust you in the details. We partner with you to live this month of life to the next level!