Friday, 9 March 2012

My Plans and Yours

If you want to make God laugh, tell Him about your plans

I like to think of myself as a person who really goes with the flow, and that's at least partially true. Whenever life throws me a curveball I try to run with it. I do my best to follow God's lead in my life. But there's another side of me. The side of me that's a meticulous planner. I get that side from my Dad. He has a wild streak too, and has a long history of making good of what he's given, but for the most part he's the man behind the scenes, bringing an extra fruit tray (just in case) and making sure you've got the right number table settings for your wedding reception. It's an example I'm happy to follow in my own way.

The funny thing about me is that I can get a little carried away by either going with the flow, or organising things to death. Planning wise, you should see our family budget. I have every penny coming in and going out for the next year budgeted in an excel file that I check every day or so. As for meals, I buy all our ingredients on the weekend for set meals I already planned. When we were moving, I had a file where I kept a list of how many boxes we had, as well as what was in each box. I also packed as much as I could weeks in advance and wrote right on the boxes what room they had to be placed in when we moved and numbered each box. (That's probably why we waited so long to unpack the basement. I knew what was in the boxes so I knew we didn't need most of it.) Our day also runs on a very specific schedule, from when we wake up, to when we eat, naps, etc. Some of this is sheer necessity as we have four children and more planning meals less time for craziness to erupt. To guarantee they get what they need it takes planning. I know God made me very detail oriented to deal with the life He had planned for me.

Now on the other side there's the part of me that just goes with the flow. Our 4 kids weren't planned. Not to say they were unplanned either. We were just open to the fact that we could have children. And have them we did. 4 beautiful, wanted, and beloved babies in under 5 years. I also took my discernment with great seriousness, but when I felt that God was leading me in a certain direction, I just let go of my plans and went with the flow. History proves that that served me well, as my trusting in what was clearly a God-sent path led me to my husband via my old religious community. I very rarely find myself saying that something is too good to be true, because God has been so good to me in the most unexpected ways. When it comes to big picture stuff like where we're going to live, how we'll make another baby work, or even who I when I would fall in love, I knew God would give me what I needed to make things work, so long as I followed His lead with as much trust as I could muster.

I think the reason the two sides of my personality, both the detail-oriented list nut and the happy to take it as it comes side, work so well together is that in both cases there's a plan. In the first case it's my plan, working out the little things to make everything flow. In the second case it's God's plan, working out all the little things for my greater good. While I don't always do it perfectly, I'm trying to use my obsession with lists, schedules and details work towards the bigger picture of God's plan for my life. It takes a lot of trust for me, because I'm definitely the type to write out the 5 year plan down to the day. After 5 years of being married, my husband and I are not where I thought we would be. As it turns out, by the grace of God, we are somewhere infinitely better. Most days I look at my life, when I have a second anyway, and find myself in awe of all the good God has made of my attempts to plan out every moment of my day.

Thank you, God, for trusting me even more than I trust in you, and for loving me more than I could ever love you.

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