a fly by the seat of my pants post on preparation

I was listening to a podcast by HopeWriters today.  They were talking about having a set aside writing day.  It’s ridiculous that I was so scandalized by the idea, but yeah, a writing day.  I would like that.  No, I would love that!  Seriously an entire day to write.  That would be better than a pedicure or manicure for me.

But then they got to talking about the reality that you need to plan and prepare for that day… it’s not going to be magically awarded to you by your fairy God mother.  Yep.  That’s the truth of anything I want to accomplish.  I have to plan and prepare.

I’m gonna do it.  I’m gonna plan a writing day.  But thinking about that got me thinking about how true the need to plan and prepare is for anything in life that you really want to do.  Do you want to be more fit?  Plan and prepare.  Do you want to have more time alone with your spouse?  Plan and prepare.  Do you want to start eating healthier?  Plan and prepare.  Do you want to further your education?  Plan and… well, you get the idea.

My first assignments this week for my first week of the online RN to BSN program at Grand Canyon University involved writing out my greatest fears in furthering my education.  When I thought about it (other than Algebra), my greatest fear is being overwhelmed.  And that fear really involves my greatest weakness: time management. I don’t really know if it’s time management.  It’s distractibility.  Or procrastination.  Or poor planning.  Or saying yes to too many requests.  Or trying to do too much in one day.  Whatever all that is called, it creates anxiety in me.  And the only thing that keeps the anxiety tame is planning and preparing.  I can’t control the unexpected in a day or week.  And I think I function pretty well in a flying by the seat of my pants mode.  But although I can function like that, and go wherever the day takes me, if I haven’t planned and prepared for I want to achieve in a day the anxiety builds and builds and builds.

For me, planning and preparing to face my fear of being overwhelmed involves lists, calendars, alarms, check off boxes, notes to self, etc.  Even still the reality of life is, lists and calendars and alarms are good things, but they won’t guarantee that what I’ve planned will happen.  This is where resting in the sovereignty of God comes in for me.

I don’t believe you should throw the baby of planning and preparing out with the bathwater of trusting in the sovereignty of God.  In fact, planning and preparing and then committing those plans and preparations to the Lord creates a humble stance of readiness to face whatever may come without being overwhelmed by the anxieties that come with unpreparedness and lack of planning.

This is true of the relationships I care about so much.  I’m 24 years in to a very trying marriage.  Ours are the trials that I’m sure many face.  In recent months my husband and I have taken a shoulder to shoulder stance with a mutual goal of being old and still married.  Granted, that shoulder to shoulder stance feels unequal at times, but the agreement of the goal were aiming for helps tremendously. Reaching that goal is requiring us to not hope that spontaneity will have us still married when our heads are covered in silver strands.  We’re realizing how intentional we both need to be on a day to day basis to plan and prepare to strengthen our bond.

Whether its the joy of writing, or facing the fears that come with going back to school as a middle-aged adult, or healing and strengthening a marriage, or raising sons to be men; God has not designed the life of faith in Christ to be like having a fairy God-Mother grant you magical wishes.  His ways are good, and practical and miraculous.  Like a seed, planted in the ground, dying to bring about new life.  Like a patient farmer planting and watering and waiting for God to make it grow.  Like a mom and wife planning and preparing to win a husband and raise men for God and get a higher degree and have a writing day.

 Go to the ant, O sluggard;
consider her ways, and be wise.
 Without having any chief,
officer, or ruler,
 she prepares her bread in summer
and gathers her food in harvest.
-proverbs 6:6-8 

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