Snowy trees

“Be Careful What You Wish For” – It’s Still Good Advice.

I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage, “be careful what you wish for.”

18 days ago I was wishing for snow. I was dreaming of a white Christmas (are you hearing Bing Crosby’s voice right now? Me too.) And just when I thought we wouldn’t get snow over winter break, the weather changed and it began to snow. And snow. And you guessed it, snow.

That’s when the reality of what I’d wished for sank in. The snow, while beautiful to look at, made so many things difficult. It made roads treacherous, it made feeding animals on the ranch a harder than normal job and it made going to the grocery store a real chore.

I had wished for snow. I had dreamed about it. But I hadn’t really given “the rest” of it much thought.

Have you done that? Wanted something so badly, but then once it’s yours realized you’ve gotten way more than you bargained for? I’m sure we’ve all done it from time to time. Some maybe more than others. Some people are impulsive by nature, rarely thinking through the potential outcomes of a choice. Others suffer from “analysis paralysis,” never able to make a decision because the potential outcomes make the choice impossible to make in the first place. Both can be dangerous and devastating.

And then there’s stuff like snow that you can’t really make a choice about or have an effect on because you have no control over the weather whatsoever.

But what about the things you’re wishing for that you can have an effect on? Maybe you want to grow your business? Or maybe you’re thinking of going back to school and starting a new career? Those are things worth thinking through. Of course you can’t ever know all the variables that will come into play, but you can make a plan and set a course.

As we look ahead to 2017 my suggestion is we do a little Lewis & Clark reverse engineering.

First, decide where it is you’d like to be a year from now. Set some goals (big crazy ones and realistic ones – they’re both important). Then work backwards from the destination you want to get to and build a plan (a map if you will) on how to get there. The greatest explorers ventured out blindly, not knowing where they would end up and what they would encounter along the way. And I’m grateful to them and in awe of their courage. But I don’t think it takes any less courage or makes you any less brave to make a plan and think it through. A plan will help you to fend off distraction, make choices and show you how far you’ve come from the start. And when you get off track, a plan will help you re-correct and keep going.

Great explorers also employed guides who knew the land better than they did. They set out in exploration parties, not as one-man bands. They knew there was strength in numbers and they knew they were better together. So don’t feel the need to go it alone. You’ll be amazed how many people are cheering for you and want to help you succeed in whatever it is you’re wishing for and dreaming about. Share your goals and plan with a friend – feel free to send it to me (just reply to this email). I’m cheering for you too!

But remember, God’s plans are always better than yours!

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"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits."

Matthew 7:15-20 ESV