Make a Plan, Even a Bad One

I came across a book on my shelf recently: Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want, by Barbara Sher. It brought back a flood of memories. Early in my ministry, I faced a crisis in my call. I couldn’t find a position as a pastor. No one wanted a woman pastor--it was the 80s. Over many months, the only interview I had wasn’t a serious one. I seriously thought about pursuing another line of work.

Then, my brother gave me a copy of Wishcraft. The book was transformative. It helped me step back from my discouragement. It gave me a way to think through the life I wanted. Then within a few weeks I got a phone call about a temporary ministry position. And on the very evening of the first day on the temporary job the phone rang again. That call was about a permanent pastoral position, across the country from Berkeley, in Massachusetts. I served that church for 13 years. Then I moved on to a wider ministry to pastors.

The other day, I finally thanked my brother for giving Wishcraft to me. I realized I do have the life I dreamed of those many years ago. I’ve gotten to speak to groups, write regularly, and be present with people in the midst of their lives. I’m grateful.

As I flipped through the pages again, I came across these words from Barbara Sher: “Make a plan, even a bad one.” Even a bad plan will help you move forward, one step at a time. You may not end up where you expected. I never thought I’d move across the country! But you will get going.

Barbara Sher also says you can’t do it alone. People I knew shared with me those ministry opportunities that led to the wonderful life in ministry I’ve had. You need a community of people to help you find your way forward. In ministry, it’s easy to get isolated, even if you are serving a congregation and see people every day.

Join me for my next What to Do Now virtual retreat to help you make a plan for what to do next and how to find more grace in your work through these days.