Plant now, for next year

Plant now, for next year

So we’re into the last quarter of 2019 already - and for the last fortnight, I’ve been carrying my brand new 2020 paper diary around with me.

On Friday morning, I spent an hour at my favourite local coffee place, gently beginning to move back and forth through the year ahead, adding in some of the first important-to-me entries. The kind of stuff that definitely won’t change (like birthdays) - and probably won't change, including a number of events we’ve committed to already.

Flipping through the blank pages of a new diary and slowly starting to add things to it that matter to me, is unashamedly one of my favourite things to do at this time of year.

Other stuff will come next - and soon, like scribbling down things that I might want to move around, onto my favourite teeny-tiny sticky notes. Using Post-It notes means I can add stuff in provisionally, so I can see what the shape of the year might look like if they stay there - or if they don't.

This gentle, thoughtful, grace-filled planning process gradually gets my thoughts moving over the next 15 months - and thinking about what I want to be living and working towards, over the year ahead.

It’s got me dreaming and talking to the people around me, about what we’re hoping, planning, praying and trusting God for, for next year. Not just about the things we want to do - but the people we want to become on the way.

Because we don't just want to do lots of good things and be more productive. We don't just want to do well at work - and stay well in ourselves.

We also want to be kinder, stronger, and braver… More generous, more hospitable - and more compassionate too.

Living and working towards 2020 well, starts long before 2019 is anywhere near over.

We've still got another 12 good weeks of this year - and Advent and Christmas to look forward to, two of my most favourite times of the year.

It's precisely because I want to enjoy those times and live and work with joy, from rest, that I don't wait to start planning for 2020 until 1 January. I'm starting to plan and plant for next year now, so I can end this one well.

I'm a sucker for a good metaphor.

Over the weekend, after a busy couple of weeks, I finally got a chance to slouch on the sofa and flip through a gardening catalogue that arrived in the post, maybe two or three weeks ago.

Now, I'm no gardener, but the catalogue inspires me and explains that Autumn is a great time of year for gardening. I've never thought too much about this, but it turns out planting some things in the Autumn, is sometimes even better than waiting until winter is over. Why? Because taking time to clear space, prepare the ground and plant now, means things have got time to bed in and grow roots and establish themselves, so they're able to over-winter well and flourish early, come Spring.

Of course, none of us know what’s going to happen over the weeks and months ahead. Some of us are in (or headed towards) seasons of uncertainty and transition in our life and work. Not everything we plant now will flourish next year.

That's how it is. And that's OK. And yet…

Taking time to plant good things now, before Advent, Christmas and the New Year, could yield all kinds of beautiful and fruitful things across the breadth of your life and work in 2020.

Even when there's plenty you don't know, about what might happen over the next 12 months.

Giving yourself time and space to dream, pray, think and plan over the next few weeks, can set you up for the year ahead with a tangible sense of passion and purpose.

Want to develop an inspiring and practical vision for 2020?

If you could use time to think about next year, and would like some space to do that in the company of someone else, feel free to get in touch. I'd be glad to arrange a time to chat, so you can plan now - and celebrate later.