What Does the Bible Say About Planning Too Much?

Psalm 20:4-5

What does the Bible say about planning too much? Here are 4 signs God is telling you to stop planning so much.

1. If You Are Missing a Season of Harvest Because You Are Too Busy Planning, God Is Saying, “Stop Planning So Much”

Planning is very good. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that we are foolish if we don’t make wise plans with other people and with the Lord (Isaiah 32:8, Proverbs 15:22, Proverbs 24:27, Luke 14:28). But planning can quickly turn into dreaming when you allow yourself to stop living because you are so busying always planning.

Our lives can end up like someone who is always dreaming about renovating their house and improving it. Sometimes they even start a project. But when people dream too much about what their house could be like and don’t spend enough time actually following through on the projects they already started, they just end up having a bunch of unfinished projects everywhere and their house never becomes what it could be.

If we are not careful, our lives can become a chaotic mess full of unfinished work if we fall in love with planning and we choose to escape reality by daydreaming about what could be.

As Proverbs 6:6-8 states, “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.” There’s a time to prepare and then there’s a time to act. As Ecclesiastes 3:2 also says, there is “a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted.”

2. If You Are Over Planning Because of Fear and a Lack of Faith, God Is Saying, “Stop Planning So Much”

Good planning starts with good motives, and bad planning is always rooted in bad motives. Making a wise, prayerful plan is a good way to help ease some fears and anxiety; but ultimately, we must turn to Christ for the comfort and security we need – not a plan. If we are trying to solve our fears and lack of faith through over planning, we will experience paralysis by analysis.

Notice the link Jesus makes between being anxious and planning. In Mark 13:11 Jesus said, “And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.” Now, Jesus did not say it was wrong to plan about what you will say but he did say not to be anxious about making plans on what to say. He also said to submit to the words given to you in that hour even if they go against the plan you made. But it’s also possible the Holy Spirit will give you the words he helped you plan beforehand.

So let’s be careful we don’t misapply what Jesus is really saying here and condemn all types of planning. But we do need to seriously examine the motives for our plans. For example, if you are trying to plan every little word you will say when you go on a date with someone, this would be a sign of fear. Sure, have some conversation-starters in mind. But if you are trying to plan every little possible answer you will say on this date, you are over planning.

Make wise plans out of faith and trust in God. But then live life and walk with the Spirit, refusing to get stuck in fear and over planning.

3. If Your Planning Is Replacing Your Praying, God Is Saying, “Stop Planning So Much”

Biblical planning will always be paired with praying. Notice how Psalm 20:4-5 (NIV) is a prayer about God making our plans succeed, “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests.”

For every minute you spend planning, match it with at least one minute of praying, for without God’s blessing our plans cannot succeed (Proverbs 16:9, Proverbs 19:21).

4. If You Are Trying to Force Your Plan Onto God and Are Not Submitting to God’s Plan, God Is Saying, “Stop Planning So Much”

While praying for God to bless your plans is certainly a biblical thing to do, we should also realize the Bible teaches us that praying is the means by which God often prepares us for his plans. In other words, prayer is not only meant to be used to ask God to bless our plans but also to give God the opportunity to empower us to fulfill his plans.

Notice how Jesus spent time praying that he would be empowered to fulfill the plan God already had, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will,” (Matthew 26:39). Jesus asked God to bless his plan, but he also spent time preparing himself through prayer to fulfill the plan God had for him.

May we seek to live like Jesus.