One thing you might as well know about me is I am a goal setting, planner extraordinaire. I keep two planners, multiple notebooks, lists and spreadsheets. I believe I am the reason post-it notes were invented. I regularly check my planners throughout each day, not because I am that extremely busy, but because I just love to look at my planner and tick those boxes on the lists.
I was recently teaching a Job Search module to my students. To prep for interviews I asked what they thought was their greatest strength and their greatest weakness. To get them thinking I provided an example from my own life. I said the same thing for both – I am a planner.
Planning is awesome! It keeps me from being late for appointments, missing work deadlines and forgetting birthdays. In my pre-pandemic life I balanced ministry, three jobs, personal goals, a home and family. I need to plan. I also need to put cute stickers and quotes in it to keep me from losing my sanity when my worlds collide (thank you George Castanza!). Planning keeps me on budget and promotes my preparation of healthy meals to lose weight. I believe that being a detail-oriented planner is a God-given gift that helps me to be a blessing.
Planning is also limiting, stress-inducing and has the potential to rob me of joy and flexibility. Multiple lists help me remember things I need or hope to accomplish as well as people I want to connect with. However, the same lists also make me wonder how I can manage to get through the day, especially when they are the first thing that I think of when my eyes open in the morning. Planning can make me feel guilty for sitting to read a book for the simple pleasure of it. My husband has told me (often) that planning is to relieve stress and if it is causing stress, you’re not doing it correctly. Planning is a distraction of my enemy, tempting me to give up the enjoyment of an hour or a day for the sake of accomplishing the list.
So you see, a strength and a weakness.
But it is a weakness I have been working on. A gift that I have received in this pandemic is the gift of perspective. I can more easily recognize what matters and what doesn’t. It matters that I remember my friend’s birthday so I can plan time to make her a gift and porch drop it to her on her special day. What doesn’t matter is that I planned to prep dinner at 3 p.m. and someone calls and needs my help at that time. The relationship matters but the task, more often than not, can wait.
It may be uncomfortable for me as I loosen the grip on the planner, but like a physical workout, this will strengthen me and make me more of a blessing in fulfilling the needs of others.
Really, that’s the big picture for me, loving people and being a blessing. I desire to live life intentionally. I want to leave a legacy, not just cross everything off my life-list. To do that, I have started to daily pray over my planner, leaving God in charge of my planning. I may not conquer this overnight, but over time as I follow the leading of God, I will.
So be very careful how you live, not being like those with no understanding, but live honorably with true wisdom, for we are living in evil times. Take full advantage of every day as you spend your life for his purposes. Ephesians 5:15-16 TPT