At the beginning of this year I purchased the “perfect” day planner. This planner was complete with a page for each day of the year for me to plan out each hour (a perfectionist and go-getter’s dream!) Efficient, clean and beautiful to look at, this planner became my trusty friend as I embarked into 2016. A problem quickly arose as I began to plan out my days with long to-do lists, meetings squeezed into every hour, and little room for breathing. I was writing out my lists and planning my days with pen. I left no wiggle room for the Lord to change my plans or even direct my steps. Each day came with its changes and I had to mark out my original plans with the new ones. Each time I marked it out my OCD soul got scrubbed a little. No longer was each day looking like a pristine, well-oiled machine. Rather, my days were looking more like a battlefield between God’s will and mine.
Why do we as women write our plans in pen – as if we know what is the best way to fill our days? The moment a surprise comes, or the person we are meeting is late, or our car breaks down or a child needs us more than we need to go to the store, we crumble into a million pieces of grumbling and complaining. It is an age old problem that women have struggled with since the beginning of time. Solomon wisely put it when he said “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9, ESV) We can plan, prepare and schedule away, but at the end of the day, it is the Lord who determines our course of life and the journey we take. “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” (Proverbs 19:21 ESV)
The purpose of your life is not to mark off as many items on a to-do list and efficiently structure your weeks. Those things are good for organization and productivity, but if we focus too much on them we will miss beautiful things God has in store. Each day we are given is a trust. We have been entrusted with twenty-four hours each day to use wisely for the glory of God. We are to worship the Planner of our lives instead of the planner we hold in our hands. The best planner we could use is the Gospel of Jesus that redeemed our lives and has given us a new purpose in everything we do.
James 4:13-15 describes it perfectly: “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ — yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’” Read that one more time, out loud with your name inserted in the place of the word “you.” I am putting my planning pen down right this moment. Sisters, may the first and foremost item on our to-do list be to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33 ESV) This one we can write in pen as the permanent goal of each day. Our plans should revolve around making much of Jesus and spreading the Gospel through everything we do. All else can be written in pencil, easily erasable and movable for the glory of God. If you are a planner like me, surrender your pen and let God write a story that is beyond your imagination for His glory. You will be surprised how much more you accomplish when the God of the Universe is the One in control.
Heart Check Questions:
- How can you live your life for the glory of God? Whether you are a stay-at-home mom, work full-time or are retired, how can you use each day to make much of Jesus?
- Do you struggle with making plans and not allowing God to change your schedule? How can you balance being a wise planner and allowing your lists to be flexible and changeable?
- What areas of your life do you hold on tightly to that you need to surrender to the Lord? Meditate on Proverbs 16:1-3 today.
Surrendering my pen,