I have confessed to you all before that I am a planner. I like to plan so much at times, that the planning is often more fun for me than actually carrying out those plans. I would be content having large blocks of time to plan for all sorts of things…menus, homeschooling, chore charts, reading lists, and on and on and on! Every year around the first or so of December, I begin getting a little giddy. And it is not about what gift might be waiting for me under the tree, but rather the fact that another year is approaching so that I can start making my list of goals for the approaching year. I know…that's a little weird. I admit it.
I have read books, listened to CD's and watched DVD's about the importance of planning and the need to do so. I truly loved those books and lectures! But, recently, God has redirected me in a way that I never suspected. It is in every way against my nature and personality. But, God often does that when we ask Him what we need to change. And I am no exception. It has finally occurred to me that God does not want another grandiose list from me of all the things that I want to accomplish for Him in the coming year. God wants me to focus on who I am rather than what I will do. I know my tendency. I feel better about myself when I can check off a list of things that I feel make me a successful wife, mother, friend, church member, etc. God doesn't want me to get some counterfeit righteousness from my list of things to do, but rather to seek righteousness above all things.
When I began looking at the men and women of the Bible, so much of their lives were unplanned. God told Abraham to leave his home and he didn't know where his final destination would be. Moses was taken from the palace life of Egypt to end up a leader to God's people and 40 years of that he spent wandering with them in the wilderness. Ruth had no idea what awaited her with her mother-in-law Naomi. She just knew that being with her was the right thing to do.
I do not think that having a plan is a bad thing. There is some planning that must go into successfully accomplishing things. I know God has called me to homeschool, therefore to do so effectively I must plan. My home needs to remain clean, so I must plan the chores that must get done to keep it that way. To save money at the grocery store, I need to do menu planning so that I don't overspend. But, my yearly plan has changed. Although my goals were not bad, God has shown me that they were not the best. It is as if God is was telling me that if I focus on my character and being all He desires me to be, all the other things will fall into place. It forces me to seek after those things that are most important more diligently...like holiness, righteousness, patience, love, etc. If I posses those qualities like I should, God will naturally move me by His Holy Spirit where it is He wants me to go and what it is He wants me to do. I realized that sometimes my long range planning was an excuse to keep myself from the moment by moment communicating with the Spirit of God and being open to His leading at any time. It was a hard thing to let go of in one respect. I have listened to those I respect talk about the need for 200 year plans! You can imagine how exciting that was for me! And although I am not saying that planning like that is wrong...that may be exactly what God has called someone else to do. But, clearly God changed my direction. And at times, it is a scary thing to change course and seemingly go against the tide. But isn't that what living a life filled with God's Spirit is all about? So now, instead of waking up and running through my mind all the list of things that I can see myself checking off for the day. I wake up and say, "Lord, fill me with Your Spirit. Make me more Christ-like today. Let me be Your hands and feet to my family and all those I come in contact with...and let me be open to the schedule, events, and places You desire me to do." And although it is a much greater effort to live in a constant awareness of the Spirit of God and an attitude of prayer, it is eternally and infinitely more rewarding!