This is the first “This Season Plan” I’ve posted on online. It’s the first I’ve done since moving most of my thought processing onto the website. (Putting this online is experimental, and I’m not sure I’ll continue after this one.) I’ve done quite a few since inventing the process about 10 years ago. So let me start with a brief explanation.
Metadata & Marginalia
I’ve alluded to this document before. It’s one of my “Master Docs.”
Have you ever gotten stuck in your own head while trying to sort your thoughts? I get it all the time. Back in the day before programs like Scrivener began to include associated metadata, we writers had to create documents with information about the information we were trying to create.
That’s the best way to explain. We knew things about characters that hadn’t been written yet. We needed to track location descriptions because places change over time. We needed sometimes to keep track of where items are at certain points or bits of information that the reader knows but some characters don’t. We had other documents for research, and still others to track changes made on the fly. For example, I could decide to eliminate a character entirely from the rest of the book and have to leave myself a note to scrub him out of previously drafted chapters on the first revision.
Collating this support material is a going concern, but nothing is worse than trying to keep it all in your head while trying to draft a book. Once I figured out what worked for my writing, I started applying similar techniques to my efforts to build character and become a better human being. I’m writing the novel of my life every day, and it requires metadata and marginalia.
Types of Master Documents:
Most Master Docs are “living docs,” meaning I’ll continue to revise them to keep them up to date. Sometimes I call these Policy Docs because the goal is to record my vision for something and to provide continuity.
Some Master Docs, like “this season” are serial by nature. They speak to a period of time and I expect to replace them a few times a year.
About This Season Planning:
I used to include a lot of specific marching orders in my season plans, but that stuff now tends to land in my current journeys list. The main goal of This Season Doc is to ask God what he’s trying to accomplish in me this season. In looking over some of my older docs I realized how deeply personal this can be, which is why I’m not sure I’ll continue to post these online, but…
- I need at least one example so that those following along can know what I refer to periodically.
- I think this season can be shared without getting too awkward.
- Since I’m posting my Journey list and Journey Plans it will really help to see the stage of processing I use to settle on those.
Note: Don’t get mislead when I include the word “Spring” in the name. I tend to create two to three of these a year and they don’t line up with the physical seasons perfectly. (I always think there should be four but it doesn’t happen). So I name them after the part of the year that I start realizing that I’m transitioning into a new season.
The Reason New Seasons is Crucial to Growth & Breakthrough
Because God is a father. He is loving and kind and nurturing too, but He longs to Father us. How many times did Jesus complain about the disciples not getting it? Comments like, you haven’t gotten off the spiritual milk to the spiritual meat yet. The Father initiates His children. He’s about growth and breakthrough. We’re told He won’t give us what we can’t handle, but I firmly believe that’s a misquote. I think it says, He won’t give us what HE can’t handle.
I recognize a new season coming because I become aware of thoughts and behaviors in me that indicate I’m outside His stream of abundance.
- Am I making decisions out of fear, anger, or revenge?
- Am I avoiding something I think will be unpleasant even though I believe it’s important?
- Am I disconnecting from God so I don’t have to hear Him tell me what I don’t want to hear?
- Am I overwhelmed, exhausted, stressed or stuck in a rut?
These are classic signs of double-mindedness, a classic double bind situation, and disconnection from God.
Here’s what the hampster wheel looks like–I want a changed circumstance, so I ask God for it. I’m not actually able to receive what I want because of an unhealed wound in my heart, so God asks to heal my wound. When God draws attention to my wound I feel inadequate and ashamed. I get frustrated that I haven’t accomplished it in my own strength. I hear the enemy use that wound to accuse me of being the product of it. I make an agreement that a God who loves me wouldn’t agitate that wound. I perceive God as bad because I believe pain and risk are inherently bad.
All this stems from my lack of understanding the process of being fathered. I have to trust in God’s goodness (the Primacy of God) if I’m to let him make me someone able to receive what I deeply desire. So my lack of trust leads to hiding from God. I make myself busy. If He gives me a vision of my life with that desire fulfilled I try to make it happen myself. I’m like a shattered mug in search of coffee, empty and exhausted.
All our negative circumstances are symptoms of unhealed places in our hearts.
New Season Plan Template:
New Season Spring 2018
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”— Isaiah 43:16, 18-19 (NIV)
A brief outline of what I’m sensing, or how I’m feeling. What am I frustrated with?
I usually cut/paste the results from the previous season. A quick review of it can be very helpful.
Bringing it all Together:
What would I do if fear weren’t a factor? What is God saying about my circumstances? What am I procrastinating about instead of doing? Is there an unrealistic obligation I’m holding myself responsible for? Should I trash it, do it, or renegotiate it to a better time?
- Choose the light side of the paradox. (Declare God is Good and actively showing me His favor.)
- Declare who God says I am. (New you in Christ)
- List 3 – 5 things I can do, even if I can’t see how they’ll fix things.
Who is God being for me this season? I’m built in his image, what part of His Glory is He restoring in me this season? If I reimagine my circumstances as part of a redemptive plan, what’s God trying to accomplish with them? Is there a theme to it all? What gift or superpower would result from me being healed?
The New Season:
A) Looking at the crossroads of my answers above, what do I feel God is saying right now about this season?
B) What outliers did I think of during this process? What things did God speak to that I wanted to ignore because I couldn’t see where they fit in?
Note: In my experience, the way forward either comes from group A or group B. Don’t be afraid if its group B. God might be addressing things in a roundabout way. It’ll be more effective to follow the wild goose than to force this to fit your expectations.