I’m a goal setter. I love to think of, plan and orchestrate a well-designed goal. It’s a beautiful thing, the coordinated effort. A famous line from the A-team’s John “Hannibal” Smith, “I love it when a plan comes together”. Me too! Long-term, short-term, financial, career, dinner… it doesn’t matter. My mind functions best when I can work out and solve a problem. This helps me deal with the stresses of life. Problem, solution, execution. Simple and to the point. It’s a benefit, yet a curse.About 10 years ago, we planned a trip to Disney World with our two daughters (our third daughter was not born yet), ages 8 and 6. Being the organized, some would call obsessive person that I am, I planned the entire trip. Down to the hour. Where we would eat, travel time, and I even factored in possible drive delays to and from the various parks. I even penciled in “fun” for the trip. We were ready.
My husband is not as organized. He does want some semblance of organization, but only for the major things. Where we will stay, and departure/arrival times. The rest is up for grabs. I’ve often said that his laid back personality is great… as long as he can find the t.v. remote, the house can crumble down around him, and he’ll be fine. He is completely content with deciding a location for dinner…. (gasp!) when we are ready to eat! This unheard of atrocity completely escapes me. How can someone function in the unknown and then actually enjoy it? But that is beyond my ability to discuss it at this (or any other time). So back to the Florida trip.
Our flight left around 7 a.m. Of course we were there early, and ready to go. Most of the time, hubby goes with my organizational “quirks” to keep the peace, or maybe he’s afraid my head will burst if he dares alter the plan… who knows. Anyway, we’d been at the airport all of 30-45 minutes only to find out that our flight was delayed. Not by a few minutes, but by four hours. Now while 4 hours over the course of a week is not that bad; for an organized, obsessive person, it’s a life-time. Disaster! Mass-Chaos! Dog and Cats living in harmony! Crazy!!! This delayed our lay-over flight, our arrival time, our plan for that evening, and thus threw a wrench in the entire week. Our vacation was utterly ruined! Or so I thought. Truth be told, we had a wonderful time, created wonderful memories, and didn’t “miss out” on anything. My daughters don’t even remember the delay.
So why are the very best things in life unplanned. Unorganized. Unprepared for? Even the best laid plans, the most organized and creative plans, the very important ones, sometimes don’t work out. MOST of the time they don’t work out. Why is that? I mean, why don’t they stay the course? And why, when they don’t work out are those obsessive folk ready to explode? Raised blood pressure anyone??? Yes, I’ll take mine right here, thank you. Could it be (suspenseful pause here) ….. that they are OUR plans and not our LORD’S plan? Hmm… maybe?
So, as an obsessive, organized Christian, sometimes I find this frustrating. Ok, not sometimes… all the time. And while I know that my Father’s plan is better than mine, I know that He has a plan specific for me, and IKNOW I should be still and wait for His plan to play out, but patience and the obsessive mind do not go hand in hand. Thus, impatience takes over and organization mode kicks into high gear. There are example after example of this happening throughout my life, and always, without a doubt, God’s plan is far and above better than mine. Yet try as I may, getting out of the organization mode I still fall back into it when faced with a tough problem.
So how does one “turn off” the organization mode? How does one stop obsessing about problems, trying to find human solutions, instead of waiting on Him? No, really… any ideas? Well I can only tell you what I believe. Those obsessive minds must search for their own understanding, but what I’ve found is this.
The Lord isn’t against our planning. He isn’t against goals, organization or obsessive-compulsive problem solving freak (that’d be me). He is against us becoming consumed by it. See, I believe that being a good Christian is very simple. He wants our love. He wants our devotion, and He wants us to share our lives with those who don’t know Him. Those theologians out there may not agree, and those who are searching for answers should search on their own, but for me it’s that simple. I believe many times we overcomplicate and over think our relationship with God in this way. I’m not saying He is simple. I do think many times all He simply asks is that we love Him. And yes, it’s that simple for me.
So what I’ve begun to do is simply pray about the situation, make my plans, and ask God to bless those plans. I seek his will in every plan I make, then make my “plans” according to what I believe I hear. I go into the organizational mode knowing that my portion of the plan may not work out, but that His organization is better than mine. And I’m willing to change things up if I feel Him leading me a different way. Trusting in Him for my future is actually very freeing and liberating. Because by giving the stress to Him, He is in control. And I don’t have to worry about the end result.
And another thing that I’ve come to find out, is that when many of my well-laid plans have not worked out, (much to my frustration) the Lord was telling me to seek Him first. He was telling me what I did wrong, but I was too stubborn to see it. The reason my plans were filled with frustration and angst, was because they weren’t His plans. He was frustrating me, to show me the RIGHT way. And yes, the end result was better in the long run (shocking), but in the midst of the failure, that’s difficult to see. He was telling me to rely on Him. He was teaching me that He had my best interests in mind. So getting my hard-headed stubborn mind to accept that is not easy. It’s something that I have to work on each and every day. But when I give it to God, he takes my troubles each time, and with a smile and takes care of them for me. Now that’s what a Father does for his kid. Pretty cool, huh?