I am a planner, through and through. I don’t do well with change, and struggle when things don’t work out the way I thought they would. I get extremely overwhelmed if what I have planned gets altered in any way, not because I enjoy being difficult, but because it truly throws me off. Things change, and suddenly, I’m rushing to re-work my schedule, re-plan my meals, spend time on things that was supposed to be spent elsewhere, or come up with an entirely new plan all together. I need time to figure out all of the details; time to re-plan my previous plan.
My husband flies by the seat of his pants and could happily live the rest of his life without a schedule or a single plan set in place. He says he’s a jet ski – he can turn and change directions way faster than someone like me – a cruise ship. I take a good long while to process things, shift perspectives and change directions. One is not more or less than the other, they’re just different.
The other day, I had every intention of working on The Bookshelf, going grocery shopping, working on some wedding planning for a friend, doing some laundry and, most importantly, getting my car inspected and registered. We purchased it from a friend’s dealership in Tennessee a few weeks ago after my old one was totaled in a wreck, and have been waiting for the title and all of the paperwork to come in the mail so that I could finally get everything sorted out and squared away. But when I woke up feeling extremely hungover from one of the worst migraines I’ve ever had, my plans began to shift.
I reluctantly got ready and had breakfast, which always proves to be difficult when all you want to do is crawl back in bed. As I walked out to my car to head into town, I noticed that I had a flat tire (of course). Cameron came out and put the spare on for me, and about 20 minutes later, I was on my way - a minor set-back, but more of an annoying hassle than anything. I drove 40 miles per hour all the way down our 15 mile, two-lane country road, terrified I was going to mess something up even further. I stopped at the local service center where they checked my tire and did my inspection. When I got to the county tax office, they informed me that the way we had set up the title and insurance on my car wasn’t going to work with their registration process. We needed to make some changes, and Cameron needed to be there, but with us living 30 minutes outside of town, it just wasn’t practical. I walked out of the office with no registration or license plates and way more upset and frustrated than I should have been in that moment. This last month has been a whirlwind of unplanned events and unexpected mishaps (hence the lack of posts from yours truly), and I was so looking forward to finally having everything completely resolved.
Though I always seem to have my weeks planned out, like clockwork, life happens. People are unexpected, problems arise, things come up, and, more often than not, the plan I make for my week Monday morning is thrown out the door by Tuesday night. I leave things off of my shopping list and end up having to go back the next day. I make plans with people who have something come up in their lives and, understandably, need to reschedule. I work an extra hour or two and the meal prep I had planned for doesn’t get done on time. I get in wrecks and get flat tires (thankfully not often), and that money we had planned to use for things like my school loan and Christmas gifts has to be moved around.
I wanted to share this with you because it’s an area I have struggled in for as long as I can remember, and I’m still actively and intentionally taking steps to work on it today. You see, I often let my plans and schedules dictate too much of my life, and it causes me to miss out on the beautiful, fun and exciting things. In those moments, I get so caught up in my plans going awry, that I fail to see His come in to gently and gracefully re-direct me. When I’m frustrated about things going wrong or upset that something had to change, God just smiles at me and says, “Hey, it’s okay, little one, because now look what we can do instead.”
Sweet friends, sometimes your days, weeks, months or years just look differently than you had initially thought they would, and that’s okay. Sometimes your schedules and plans don’t work out, and sometimes it completely throws off your groove. Sometimes, life is just complicated and messy and chaotic, and I’m finally learning (present tense) to see the beauty in that. As difficult and frustrating as it may be for someone like me, I’m learning more and more that while it may throw me off-balance for a while, it is not the end of the world, and more often than not, there are lessons to be learned in those moments. I’m learning to trust in the Lord not just when things are easy and good, but especially when they aren’t. I’m learning to rely on His peace, His love and His grace, always. Because none of it is surprising to Him; none of it catches Him off guard, and none of it causes Him to feel overwhelmed or stressed.
I think part of that will always be ingrained in me; I’ll always be more comfortable with a plan. But plans are great until they’re not, and not every moment in your life should be dictated by one. There’s freedom in releasing that and letting God come in and do what He does best. Don’t get me wrong, it’s terrifying for a cruise ship like me, and I would be lying if I said it was not a struggle. But I’m finding that letting go of the comfort and control of a well thought-out plan opens the door to new experiences; experiences that wouldn’t have come about if I had stuck with mu original plan. I guess you could say that I’m a recovering planner, and now, instead of writing my schedules and plans permanently in pen, I pencil them in.