Is Planning Just Setting Myself Up to Fail?
I always seem to come up short, too.
At the beginning of the school year I have plans to stay on top of my household cleaning, meal preparation (I will incorporate at least two crock pot meals and a vegetarian meal into our menu each week!), home filing and school portfolios, car maintenance (Isn’t it time for another oil change?), and a whole host of other things I need to keep track of.
I try to plan a bit better each year, too. I buy that new, beautiful organizer that has all the blank spaces I could ever use in order to tailor it to my family’s needs. I print out chore charts. I put together a chalkboard menu planner. At least I can say that my planning is neatly and beautifully organized!
Then life enters my plans. I have a sick child that needs to go to the doctor. The refrigerator stops working, and I need to deal with getting it fixed before all our food goes bad. Our printer breaks, and I can’t print out that test my child needs to take. We’re out of laundry soap, and I need to make yet another trip to the grocery store. Something always seems to take precedence over my perfectly laid out plans.
So why plan at all?
Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.
It is important to plan our days. We need to know our responsibilities, see what has to be done, and make the most of the time we are given each day to complete those tasks. We are not to be idle or lazy.
I know, I know.
But every time I try to do this, it seems like a monkey wrench gets thrown into my plans. I have things all worked out. I put everything into its respective little box in my color-coordinated planning system. I should be able to move through the day, checking things off one-by-one as I get things done.
Sooo…take a look at that previous paragraph I just wrote. I used the words “I” and “my” seven times. When I really step back and look at what’s going on in my head (which is for me best done when I write it down), I realize that I am taking ownership of my days, of my household, of my children. But they aren’t mine at all. I am given them as a steward. I am responsible to raise and train my children, keep my household and love and support my husband and family. I am responsible to minister to those the Lord brings to me. I am accountable to be a good manager of what we own.
Yet the Lord is the one who has given these things to me. So I need to be ready to hear him when I am going in a different way. When things don’t go as I have planned, I need to respond selflessly. My gut reaction is to say, “I did not need this to happen today. This has totally messed up my plans!”
Yes. I am selfish. I want things to be done my way. After all, they are good things! I am trying to keep a well-run home, educate my children, share with others. Why can’t these kinds of things go more smoothly?
Because God sees that I need to rely on Him more and on me less. I am to plan, because that gives me a structure from which to work. But I need to realize that God desires me to be obedient to Him, to give my schedules over to Him, and to trust Him. He is still building character in me.
And I want my children to see that. I don’t want them to think that I am perfect. I want them to know that I am following my Lord – seeking His ways over my ways.
So as I look over my broken lesson plans and am reorganizing my chore charts, I am mindful that these plans are a framework and a good way for me to set forth our days ahead. And no matter how lovely they look, God will make them more beautiful as He adjusts them to be exactly what I need to be doing.