2021 – yes a year from now.

As we get stuck into 2020, perhaps a little overwhelmed by the number of things we said we’d do next year, realising that’s actually now. I make sure I pause to take time to sit with God and hear His thoughts for the year ahead.

Some things are for the next few months, but some are things He wants to put in place which have a longer-term view. Somethings God has in mind for 2021 which need time in this year to accomplish.

When I was first started learning to drive, my dad would say, “Stop looking at the bonnet (hood) of the car, you need to keep your eyes on the car 2 in front.”

I realised I was literally looking just in front of me — but 2 cars in front, really?

“Yes,” he would say. “You need to anticipate what is coming so you can react in time. If the car in front of the car ahead of you starts to brake. You’ll likely need to brake too thus having time to respond.”

You see, your stopping distance is not just the time it takes the brakes to stop the car but also your thinking distance. Thinking distance is the time it takes for you to apply the brakes which is roughly 1 foot for every mph you’re travelling. So if it’s 30mph, then that’s 30 feet. Converting this into meters is 9 meters for thinking and 14 meters for stopping or 6 car lengths. (Hence why it’s essential to keep the speed limit). If it’s raining, it could double your stopping distance too. (see AA.com for more info)

Why am I talking about car’s stopping distance and 2021 when we’ve just entered 2020?

If we apply the same principles to planning head and reacting to unforeseen circumstances. It’s pretty stressful if you only look at what’s happening today, or even just this morning. It’s like only looking at the bonnet of the car. Looking at the car in front = this week.

But as a leader, we need to be looking not only at today and this week but also the months and year ahead.

We need to know where we’re going and what needs to happen to get there and then work backwards to this month/week.

A builder can’t put a roof on the house without walls, you can’t put walls up unless you have a foundation. And you can’t put in a foundation until the ground is level. 

I can’t launch this website until I’ve got a service space and platform. Then edit the website’s look to my preferences, written all the content for the little things as well as blog’s/ articles. So readers have content they want to read when they arrive at the site. As well as have the vision for what the website’s purpose and function is. Only then can I launch it to let people know it exists and how to find it. And importantly, like what they see so they come back for more.

Pausing to take time with God.

Ask God what His ideas are for this coming year as well as next year.

He will also ask you what’s on your heart, what would you like to do, see happen, see changed/ developed… 

Whichever way you prefer to dream/ brainstorm, talk it out with God. Ask Him to give you a scripture, theme, song for the year which you can keep going back to. (like a foundation piece or umbrella that most things come under.

For me, my song for this new season is “What Beautiful Name” by Hillsong. Why? Because I have a lot of new things I’m starting this year, I need my foundation to be totally in Christ. To remember it’s His Power, His Authority and His Love that’s going to enable any of it to happen. With Christ together we can see ministry developed, this site launched, a new young leaders school started in Switzerland and so much more. But I can’t and don’t want to do any of it without Him. He is the reason I’m doing any of this and just like Abraham, I don’t want to go or do anything without Him.

Personally, this year is a starting new things year, projects take time to develop and grow. So if I want 2021 to be bigger, better, then I have to put the right foundations in place this year.

Ask yourself these questions to help you process what this can look like for you:

  • Ask God for a word for this year, 
    • perhaps a verse, a theme or link to Him for what’s ahead.
    • a sense of what flavour of what kind of year (e.g. faith stretching, doing deeper to consolidate what happened last year, adventure, trusting as it’s going to be tough….
  • What is something you’d love to see happen, but that’s so big you may be struggling to believe it can actually happen? (These are usually from God, as we can’t do them without Him).
  • What are your top three things you really want to see happen this year?
    • take each one and write down all the things that need to be done to achieve it.
    • what order do you need to do them in, and time frame to see them happen?
    • who do you need to ask to help you achieve them?
    • are there any external deadlines that you need to factor into your timing?
    • what is God saying about them?

Don’t just think about work stuff, but also spiritual, emotional, physical, financial and mental development. You may have several things for each of these areas, which is fantastic. You’re developing your whole self and not just one part. 

Personally, I want to be a good steward of all God’s given me regarding gifting, resources, influence, time, calling, my body, energy… The more intentional I am with how I use each of these areas, the more I’ll grow and be a better disciple of Christ. (think of The Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25). I also want 2021 to have a great start and not held back by the things I wish I’d done the year before. This is the year to make a great start and set yourself up for an even greater 2021. 

Go for it – you can do it.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” 

[John 14:12, NIV]