I am a planner. I will create an agenda for my day, week, or month. Whether I write it down on paper, schedule it on my phone, or make mental notes… it is very, very rare that I don’t have a plan. My husband would probably disagree with me on that. Because, I also have an issue with my planning. When my planning goes awry, I throw in the towel.
Usually my plans are built upon each other, I must accomplish task 1 in order to move onto task 2. If task 1 can’t be completed then tasks 2-? are unaccomplished. I’ve tried altering my planning methodology, but it never seems like I can find the right fit. This isn’t just about planning out my day either. It can refer to my financial budget planning, my school schedule planning, blog writing, volunteering, errand days, and traveling.
When my life is going according to plan, I am very happy. When my life is not going according to plan, I am very unhappy. There is no middle ground for me, it is a pendulum that I swing on. I am either completely knocking my agenda out of the ballpark… or I have thrown in the towel and will start fresh another day. This is NOT something I enjoy or that I am totally okay with. Hardly. Uncompleted tasks irritate me. For example…
About one year ago, I purchased some gorgeous dark stained bamboo rods. My goal was to use them to make new drapery rods for our living room. However, I didn’t have the money yet to buy the hardware we would need to mount them. So, for one year they sat in a closet. Totally in the way. Finally, after doing some internet searches for a more economical way to mount them… EUREEKA… a solution was found. I purchased the materials needed My husband was on vacation and I asked him to mount the rods to the wall.
He was worried that he’d go through the process of mounting them, and they would just sit there. No drapes. Why? Because I need custom drapes for them. I am entirely capable of making the drapes, but he worried it wouldn’t get done. His worries are not unfounded, since it took me 2 years to finally make the drapes for our bathroom despite having all the supplies on hand. I hadn’t made the drapes yet because I knew it would be a process… I can be a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to DIY projects. I hadn’t decided on how I wanted them to hang (pockets, tabs, ties) and so the project was on hold.
Ultimately he hung the rods, and it’s been about 3 weeks. No drapes, even though I had assured him the only reason I hadn’t made the drapes was because the rods were not installed. I needed accurate measurements before I could purchase the material. I found the material I wanted, but it was a bit more expensive than I had anticipated. Project put on hold. I created a plan to save up the additional money. Then spring pictures, two field trips, some unexpected expenses came about. My budget was now completely thwarted by life events outside of my control. I know my husband is probably thinking “I told you so”and I will beat myself up for not getting it done yet. I’m irritated each time I look at those barren rods.
My husband would probably argue that I plan too liberally, not accounting for unexpected expenses and that I need to budget more conservatively. I would argue that isn’t the case at all, but rather this is the very area the enemy knows he gets to me. It is my trigger point, the thing that gets me the most frustrated, where I will scramble and give up my time with God to make up for lost time, hold by my tithe because I need to make up the shortage of funds… and where I will beat myself up the most. I don’t like to fail. When my planning doesn’t work out, I feel like a failure.
Many years ago, I was talking to a neighbor about a particular situation that had me frustrated. I stated that I was a “ducks in a row person”. She replied:
“Gena, when your ducks are in a row they are easier to shoot.”
I’ve clung to that statement ever since, as that was the moment my eyes were opened to the fact that I have been making it too easy on the enemy to steal my joy, derail my obedience, and frankly to make me miserable and irritable.
It was another friend, who has a lot in common with me personality wise, who said:
“Gena, the world doesn’t think or work like us.”
I remind myself of that statement often because those are the things that lead to much of my frustration. I believe in giving people plenty of notice, but the world doesn’t work like me. I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt, and assuming the best of people. But, the world doesn’t work like that. I think people should go the speed limit, not get in the 10 items or less line with 20 items, etc.
When I expect the world is going to work in the same space of reason and logic as I do, I’m going to be let down. It’s just another way that I am making the enemy’s job too easy. He knows that when he fouls up my planning by interrupting logic and reason, I get annoyed and sometimes angry.
Over the years, I have learned to be a lot more relaxed about things not going my way. I still plan, but I am not beating myself up when I have to divert from those plans for a time. I’ve worked hard to stand in obedience before worrying about tasks that are not getting done. If I have a choice between only getting in 15min of bible study today or getting the dishes done before hubby gets home… the scriptures will win.
I’m not allowing myself to get annoyed by the interruption in my day because a child is sick in the nurses office and I need to pick her up. Or, that I was just getting ready to mop the floors when the neighborhood kids show up to play. I’ve learned that while procrastination is bad, flexibility is good. I’m not allowing my triggers to get set off as much as they used to, and I hope that will continue to improve each day.
A few days ago, I got the itch to get new cushions for 2 Ikea chairs in our home, long over due replacements. The nearest Ikea was two hours away and the cushions were $40 each. My budget wasn’t that high. Locally, I could find comparable cushions… but they were $60 or more each. I was going to put that project on the back burner, until I came across two cushions that were perfect in color and only $8 each! They were a little too short, but I had the idea that I could make head rests myself. After buying the cushions, I ran across the street to Hobby Lobby and found the perfect fabric. That night while watching tv with my husband, I knocked out the cutting and pinning. Then, while he was taking a tv break, I sewed the fabric, stuffed it with the padding, and hand stitched the rest while we finished our show. Before bed, the project was completed.
My husband made a comment about how I actually finished the project in the same day, with total exuberance. It was like he was seeing a brand new woman. I smiled and pointed out that in order to do so, I put all my other plans for the day aside (the kitchen sink was pretty full). I also pointed out that I had all the materials that I needed on hand, and I really just wanted to get it done. Because he was sitting WITH me as I worked on the project, he realized how long “simple” DIY projects can really take.
What I realized is that even though my plans for that day were changed, by the blessing of finding those cushions, the world didn’t end. My husband was more impressed that I completed the project than concerned about the dishes in the sink. The enemy didn’t win that day, because I wasn’t beating myself up for what I didn’t get done. I was satisfied but what I had gotten done.
Sometimes, I hold on so tight to my plans and ideas, that one of two things happen…
- The enemy wins because the derailing will cause me to be frustrated, irritable, and angry.
- I miss out on the blessing that could be found in the derailment. How many times have I been giving Satan the credit for ruining my plans… when it was really God who had a better plan or blessing in store for me that day?
Sometimes, I make the Enemy’s job too easy. Sometimes, I give him too much credit.