I am a planner.
It’s both a blessing and a curse.
For me, I find that I feel somehow more secure if I feel I have planned my day down to the last detail and this constant need for planning control, so to speak, has been my way of life for more years than I can even remember.
Planning is a wonderful thing but it can also be something that holds us back. How you ask? Well, for many, they live according to the plans. They live their life minute by minute according to what is written on their calendars or planners or checklists. Deviation from the plans can cause panic, frustration, anxiety or even anger. I should know. I have been one of the “many” for a LONG time.
This has been my life. This is how I have lived day in and day out: according to my plans.
This year, God brought me through some SERIOUS circumstances that completely threw all my planning to the wind. It was really hard for me to walk through those moments because every time I would be so focused on MY plans and how I had mapped things out and I would fail to see one very important thing: My plans were not at all God’s plans.
I planned my homeschool, my life at home, my children’s time….I planned everything. EVERYTHING. And not once did I ever pause to ask God if these moments were planned according to His will for our family. I just wanted to show the world we could conquer it all. Be mighty. I wanted to be super wife, super mom, super everything.
And yet, I ended up doing and being the exact opposite. My plans and the chaos of biting off more than I could chew and the hard realities that came from difficult pregnancies, moves across time zones, unexpected C-sections and things gone awry…they all brought me crashing down to one very important conclusion. While I was so busy planning my life down to the last detail, I completely forgot one extremely important detail: TO LIVE MY LIFE. I was so busy trying to follow my plan that I forgot to enjoy the very life I was so desperately planning. I forgot to be present in the moments so I could make memories. All I was making was a lot of mess and tears.
As I came to this reality, I began to shift and sort through every area of my life giving it back to God. I would tell you how huge this is but honestly, the truth is, there are no words to adequately explain to you just how huge this is and was for this desperately controlling planner.
Fear has gripped me most of my life. I always tried to live life doing whatever I could to avoid the what ifs. I wanted to do things by the book so to speak. I wanted to follow the rules to the best of my ability. You see, I plan because I don’t want anything to go wrong. I don’t want anything unexpected. I want to follow the plan. To the tee.
The truth, the harsh cold truth, is that life isn’t lived in the plans. Life is lived outside the confines of penciled in meetings and planned moments. We truly encounter life when we leave enough moments to actually discover it…to see it…to breathe it all in.
So I have made a commitment to the Lord that in the new year I will commit EVERY plan I make to Him first. I will not plan every single minute of my day. Instead, I will work on a sort of block system:
- Devotion, prayer, worship and LIFE
- Schooling stuff and LIFE
- Home stuff and LIFE
- LIFE – whatever comes my way
I am just going to take the moments as they come. Each day I will wake up and conquer the schooling that God has planned. What we finish we finish and what we don’t can be done tomorrow. We are going to be sure our home is clean but again, we will clean what we clean and what we don’t, we will clean tomorrow.
I am no longer sitting down and planning out my hours. Instead, I will let God and life dictate our days. Of course I will write down important things like doctors appointments. But the kinds of things I plan to work into my agenda are no longer tedious, unnecessary to dos and conformities but instead things like: Look up when the Chinese New Year is for Mister M, explore a local museum, play “Operation” with the kids, do some household chores, take a hot bath, read a great book, laugh a LOT, eat some good food.
I am looking to target only the most important things and write those down and the rest of my life can weave around them. I don’t want to live my moments consumed by a checklist or some “plan”. I want to live my moments allowing room for God to move in our lives. I want room for spontaneous worship, random encounters with people who need God’s love, surprise moments of laughter and play time. I want room for growth, discovery and beauty. I want room for memories, memories and more memories.
So, I have chosen a different kind of “planner” to start off my new year and I want to share that with you. Who knows. Maybe you too are so over the whole “planning” craze and want to simplify and find a way to plan for the important stuff but still leave room for LIFE. Maybe you just want something to motivate, to inspire you and if you do, I think you might find this may be the perfect little “planner” for you too.
“Sarah’s Secret 90 Day Pocket Planner: Play More & Worry Less
The Easiest Way to Live Your Dreams and Get Out of Survival Mode.”
Author: Sarah Janisse Brown (The Thinking Tree Books)
This planner is simple, creative and the perfect way to help you plan only the most important things while still helping you focus on THE most important things: your life, your dreams, your accomplishments, your creative mind.
I love this little planner because it is 90 days. Just long enough to help you build a habit and then you can start all over and do another one. (It’s also just long enough to help you detox from that nasty habit of living within the lines of an hour by hour plan.) I love the simplicity. Each day you choose FOUR important things you wish to do and then that’s it. FOUR THINGS. Then you reflect on things like yesterday’s accomplishments or your dreams for tomorrow. Yes, I said YOUR DREAMS FOR TOMORROW. Why would we want to do that at our age? Because God created us to have dreams. The moment we stop dreaming is the moment we have forgotten how to live.
You can also use this amazing little pocket planner to de-stress by coloring and the best part…you don’t even have to plan. Not really. Maybe your four important things are remembering to reflect on four powerful scriptures so you just write those in there and allow those to guide your day. HOW POWERFUL IS THAT???!!!!
There is not hour by hour timeline, no to-do list, no shopping list, no busy schedule block. Just four bubbles that allow you to determine what four things will help you accomplish your goals of LIVING; of playing more and worrying less, of working towards your dreams, of celebrating who you are. Four things that will help you stop trying to spin your wheels and start focusing on what matters most and leaving the rest to God. After all, it’s His life really, not ours.
At the back of the book are these adorable little “Just for fun” coloring pages and note pages. The perfect place for some of that de-stressing I mentioned earlier or to record a memory from the day, a prayer need or praise that God has done. Maybe you want to jot down a new recipe, song lyrics, write a poem or just record a favorite quote. It is a space to take note of the beauty in your life and the things that you dream about, want to explore and love. It’s like a memoire just waiting to be written.
These 90 days can be whatever we make them; whatever we dream for them to be. God gave us dreams. He gave us laughter, he gave us creativity, he gave us a hunger for more in this life and we won’t find it scribbling frantically in our heavy planners full of stressful expectations and attempts to be what we feel we owe to society or those around us. No, we find the “more of this life” when we stop trying to do and just BE. Just be free to live our life IN the moments. No tedious plans. No expectations. Just concentrating on what matters most each day.
So I am offering a challenge to you. Do you want to keep trying to hold so tight to your life and live by a bunch of planned minutes or do you want to break free, let them all go back to God and allow Him to guide your day? Would you be up for not buying a single traditional planner this year and instead, consider purchasing one of Sarah’s pocket planners instead? Would you be willing to limit your plans to your four most important things? Are you willing to dream a few dreams and celebrate your accomplishments rather than moan over your failures?
If you are up for the challenge, I would LOVE to hear about it! You can leave a comment below and say “I’m In” and then you can hop on over to The Thinking Tree’s Amazon Shop to purchase one of these incredible pocket planners for yourself. She has several to choose from and they are on sale right now for just $5. FIVE DOLLARS. That’s a STEAL!
I am so excited to just let it all go and learn to play a lot more in 2018. I have wasted too many minutes stressing over schedules, trying to plan every second of every day or worrying about things that aren’t even worthy of my time. I am looking forward to just living in the minutes and seeing what they bring me.
Because the plan is….there is no plan. Only living.
You can find Sarah’s shop here: Sarah’s 90 Day Pocket Journal
In Christ’s Love,