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Commit to a life of discipline

By QuaWanna Bannarbie

‘Tis the season for calendar buying and planner advertising. Towards the end of every year, I love to visit the book stores and stationery departments. Why? I enjoy flipping through the assortment of wall or desk planners and calendars available for purchase. I never buy them. I really want to tell you that I am a Cyndi Trimm protege’ who is excellent at commanding her morning. But I am not.

I really want to be that organized girl who sets her day in order. In fact, there is a planner that I have had my eyes on since 2015. I haven’t purchased it yet. Each year, the planner’s design is more compelling, but I know me. I am not going to waste the money if I am not going to use it. But 2019 is going to be different. I am not going to purchase the “Whose Shoes Transformational Planner” this year, but in 2019, I am going to work so that I have reason to buy the 2020 planner. Next year, I am planning to be more organized.

While I am not a planner girl, yet, I love a checklist. I get so much satisfaction out of checking things off my to-do list. This is partly due to the administrator in me. You’re probably wondering how I can be an administrator but not a planner. Well, I blame the Navy.

In the military, much of what you do is planned for you. I was trained to be an administrator of those plans. But how you manage it is really the difference between success and failure. Planning is a function of administration. Most administrators are strong in one or more of four basic functions of administration: planning, directing, organizing and control. The best administrators are those that manage to do all functions very well. In fact, the Bible describes one of the best administrators in history as a man “that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand” (Genesis 39:3). That’s the description of a gifted administrator by the name of Joseph.

I love the Bible story of Joseph. In Genesis chapters 37-41, we read of the advancement of Joseph after he has interpreted several dreams. Many retellings of this narrative credit Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams as how he found favor in Pharaoh’s eyes. But it was more than interpretation of dreams that caught Pharaoh’s attention; Pharaoh recognized Joseph’s administrative expertise as Joseph outlined his recommendations for managing the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine (Genesis 41). Joseph’s testimony demonstrates to us that dreams must be administered to see them fulfilled.

To administer means to manage or be responsible for running a business. It is no small thing that the only difference between the words “business” and “busyness” are the letters “I” and “Y.” I am the reason why my planning is poor. Life is a business, and to do well in it means it must be properly governed.

As I consider my affection for planners and calendars, I am reminded of God’s sovereignty. One of the benefits of using a paper planner over a digital planner is that we are physically holding in the palm of our hands a reminder of the time we must do the work. Every day is important. It is also a clear message that the author and director of time has everything under control; which means even if the planner is in your hand, the plans for your life are not. Therefore, we should intentionally seek God about how to properly administer the dreams we have, because I believe God gives us many of our dreams just as he did with Joseph.

Perhaps you are not the best planner in the world and you desire to take charge in your own productivity. There are many influencers out there to help. Before you go doing what they recommend, do this. Make a commitment to yourself. I realized that the military uniform didn’t make my life more disciplined; my commitment to a disciplined lifestyle made the difference. And if I have done it before, I can do it again. Are you with me? Let 2019 be our year for disciplined commitment so that people can say of us, “God made all they do to prosper in their hands.”

 

QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of nonprofit leadership and management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Her children attend Suffolk Public Schools. Connect with her via Twitter @QNikki_Notes.