When I go grocery shopping, I usually prepare my strategy beforehand. I devise a plan which I write down and take with me to the grocery store. I first think about the week ahead and consider whether there are any special circumstances that I need to prepare for. Perhaps we have invited guests for dinner, and I have a certain menu in mind. I need to make a list of the ingredients that I will need to purchase.
As well as thinking ahead, I also consider what I do already have in my grocery cupboard. I do a stocktake. This helps me to accurately determine what further items I need to include on my list. Once I have a complete plan written down in a notebook safely tucked away in my handbag, I am ready to hit the grocery store. I know what I am looking for, have planned my route through the aisles, and I have my shopping list at hand should I need to refer to it.
I have however gone grocery shopping before without planning ahead and writing out a list. When I have done this, I have noticed three possible implications.
When I go to a grocery store without a written plan, I invariably end up becoming distracted and purchasing things that I don’t need. I might walk past the Eastern Cooking section and stop to look at poppadoms and curry sauces, which end up in my trolley even though I have no plan to use them in the near future.
Without a list to refer to, I am also very likely to forget my intended purpose for going to the store. My memory is such that I will remember most of the things I need to buy, but am likely to forget something critical.
Waste of Time:
I find myself wandering aimlessly around the shopping aisles when I don’t have a plan (which often also leads to distraction). Instead of taking the most efficient route through the store, I zigzag without direction, hoping that something I see with prompt my memory as to what I came to the store looking for in the first place.
And so I have learnt the importance of planning ahead, and writing that plan down so that I don’t forget it. If this principle has an effect on a simple domestic chore such as the weekly grocery shop, could it perhaps be applied to much more consequential aspects of my life?
I have been thinking about this lately. God has placed certain dreams and visions for the future in my heart. I should write these down and begin to formulate a written plan according to where I feel God is leading me. He has also given me certain abilities and opportunities for the present. I should do a stocktake of these things and consider how best they can be used, and how where I am and what I have now, relates to my future plans.
I really do think that spending time thinking about my purpose and how I will execute it will be a valuable exercise, and that writing this plan down will be even more valuable. My plan will be open to revision as I hear from God throughout my life, but it will give me direction. Without identifying a plan and purpose for my life, am at risk of becoming distracted by the things of this world, forgetting the dreams and visions that I feel God has given me, and ending up wasting my precious time on this earth.