Planning Makes Perfect

Planning Makes Perfect

I woke up and everywhere I looked there was more things I wanted to accomplish. Perfect time to make a list of what to tackle after work. Laundry, making dinner, going on a run, a few minutes of reading, doing the dishes, spending time playing the baby and reading to my little girl. Nothing like a list to keep me productive.

As we walk home for lunch my hand happens to land on my daughter’s head. She feels a little warm. Hmm, maybe that’s why she’s been quiet all morning. The thermometer confirms that something’s going on.

The afternoon is now spent getting a little girl comfortable and hoping the little guy doesn’t come down with whatever it is. Sigh. It’s hard to not feel a tinge of remorse for all the items on my list that are not getting accomplished.

Having goals to work toward. Making lists. Planning what needs accomplished. Working ahead.

These are all good things. Great things, actually.

Doing these things have made such a difference in my life, but they have also become my idol at times. I have had to learn (and am still learning) to know when to forget my lists.

Planning has helped by:

  • Reducing stress. Surely I’m not the only one who feels a sense of calm when there is a plan. If I’m trying to come up with an idea for dinner at 5 o’clock and the kids are going crazy I can almost guarantee my anxiety level is going to be through the roof.
  • Helping life run more smoothly. Having what I need set together so I can grab it on the way out the door keeps things from becoming frantic.
  • Getting more accomplished. Having goals and knowing what I’m trying to accomplish gives me something to work for. It energizes me to finish more projects.
  • Weathering the storm. When a crazy day comes I can pull a meal out the freezer from a cooking ahead session. The house needing foundation repair doesn’t send me into a panic; there’s money in savings for that.

Goals, lists and plans are there to work for us. However, we can’t let them rule our lives to the point that we become enslaved to them and they become an idol.

What? Planning and lists can become an idol? Yes, if I am so engrossed in my to-do list and following the plan I have for the day that I neglect to see the opportunity that God has placed before me at that moment, I have a problem. I just allowed what was meant to be a good thing take over and rule my life.

I must remember the purpose of planning is so that when circumstances arise and God asks me to follow Him, I’m able to say yes.

Planning Quote

Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

When it’s time to forget the list:

  • Sickness. Your baby wakes up with a fever and needs extra snuggles. Forget the list, give your child the love and care he needs without regret. Enjoy those quiet moments together.
  • Relationships. The phone rings and it’s a friend you haven’t talked to in ages. Forget the list and build a friendship.
  • Children. A crazy toddler is begging for your attention. Forget the list and take a trip the park. An hour out of your agenda will make a little girl’s day and you’ll have a memory together you wouldn’t otherwise.
  • Serving. An opportunity to be a blessing comes up. Forget the list and make the meal, watch the child, sit with someone at the hospital. Be the hands and feet of Christ.

How has planning helped you? Have there been times that you’ve needed to learn to let the list go?

Linking up to these fun parties!

30 thoughts on “Planning Makes Perfect

  1. Keri

    You are absolutely right, Deanna! It’s easy to let plans, to-do lists, and goals become idols that keep us from obeying God and doing His will. What a Great reminder for me! Thanks.

    1. Deanna Michaels Post author

      Thanks, Keri! It’s crazy how pretty much anything can become an idol if we take our eyes off of God. Have to keep my focus in the right place. Hope you are feeling better!

  2. Gena

    I love that quote! I’ve had the “idol” problem with lists as well. My husband doesn’t even like me to use them. But there are always plans in my head. May I use them to help me be useful to The Lord!
    Thanks for linking up,

    1. Deanna Michaels Post author

      Thanks for stopping by, Gena, and for hosting! I always have plans running through my head too. Writing them down helps me think a little clearer. Always have to remember to listen to God though.

  3. Stephanie @ Abundant Living

    I thrive with schedules and lists. With three children four and under, I feel like I get caught in a whirlwind of chaos without some sort of guidance. However, this was a great reminder that I need to be flexible and allow for the unpredictable moments that arise. They too, are filled with blessing. Thanks for sharing, Deanna!

    Dropping by from Raising Mighty Arrows today.

    1. Deanna Michaels Post author

      I am a huge list person! We have a lose schedule but lists are a mush in our house. I get so much more accomplished that way. But at the same time when life happens I’ve had to learn to go with it. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  4. Piper

    When I plan ahead, I do not get as stressed as I would if I didn’t. Over a year ago I realized that most of my stress and my frustrations was because I wasn’t prepared. Oh I still have days that are stressful, some things are thrown in there to mess up my plans….but I have learned to handle those more gently than before. Still a work in progress!! One day and plan at at time!

  5. Katie

    Definitely a planner! Do you find a specific way of keeping lists works best? I’ve tried several apps, but nothing has gotten me away from pen and paper just yet. (Seen on Let’s Get Real Blog Hop.)

    1. Deanna Michaels Post author

      Oh, love that your son helps you! I can’t wait until my kids can really work along side of me in the kitchen. The 3 year old “helps” but everything takes a lot longer and is a lot messier. I guess it’s trainer her for the future.

  6. Christina @ Juggling Real Food and Real Life

    Hi Deanna! I’m hopping over from Let’s Get Real today and I’m so glad that I did. This is a beautiful post. God’s work just amazes me all the time. Sickness turns into extra special snuggle time. Snowstorms turn into unexpected family time. God is the ulitmate planner. We just can’t outplan Him no matter how much we try. Planning is such a help to me, but you are so right………..there are times where you just have to throw that plan out the window. My mom has a saying, “Just go with the flow.” She was always saying that to me. She is way more free-spirited than I am. A nice balance of planning and going with the flow is what seems to work best for me.

    1. Deanna Michaels Post author

      Thanks, Christina! Love how you said we can’t out plan God – so true! When things don’t go according to my plans it a good opportunity to practice trusting Him. I agree, a balance is nice!

  7. Nicky

    Deanna, these are great points. Somethings we get so focused on getting things done and checked off the list, we can lose focus of the bigger picture. I hate to say I’m one of those people. I can be easily sidetracked, so I have a list of to-dos. When it comes to school with the kids, I get focused on finishing that I can be frustrated when the kids’ pace isn’t as quick as I’d like. I have to remember to slow down and somethings the most important things can’t be checked off a list.

    I’m stopping by from the Let’s Get Real Friday Link Party. Thanks so much for sharing with us again this week. I hope you’ll join us again.

    1. Deanna Michaels Post author

      Thanks, Nicky! Oh my goodness, I can completely relate. When things don’t happen as quickly or as smoothly as I’d like, I get frustrated! Slowing down enough to see the big picture is important. I’m better off getting less done and enjoying what I am doing than checking off everything on my list.

  8. Mel Caldicott

    Giving ourselves permission to let go of our to-do lists at times can be hard but it is necessary to show ourselves grace sometimes. Great post with some real wisdom.
    Thanks for linking up at Essential Fridays.
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

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