6.22.2010

True Confessions of a Planner

I am a planner.                                                                               

Planning makes me happy.

I have a feddish with schedules.  Any kind.  I loved planning my college classes back in the day, making everything fit like a puzzle.  I'll admit that I was even planning my future family at the age of ten . . . names and all!! 

In all honesty, I would rather spend time planning than actually following through with the plan! 
                                                                                
                                                                         Picture courtesy of marthastewart.com
With that said, I have been thinking a lot about structuring my time.  I'm getting rid of many activities next year and find my schedule looking a bit blank.  Which is good.  This leaves me with more time with which to plan!  A good thing, yes, but how structured do I really need to get, right?  And, though I love to plan, I've become recently annoyed with the constant questions, "Mom, can I . . .?" and "So, Mom, what's the plan tonight?"  Can't they just be?  No, because I've always had everything planned for them. 

I just watched  a great movie the other night.  Leap Year.  It's a silly (but very clean!) romantic comedy.  I had an ah-ha moment watching this movie.  The leading lady, Anna,  was in a plane during a turbulent rainstorm.  The pilot's voice comes on over the intercom, "We will need to land in Wales on account of the storm."  Anna begins to panic, not for fear of dying but because, and I quote, "I'm on a schedule!"  Ahhh.  Thus is my life.  A scheduled, planned, perfect (not) life.  I should know by now that I am really not the one in control, but I still keep trying.  :-)

Why do I have this yearning to plan?  Better yet, why do I expect everyone else to follow my plan?  I pondered these questions last night as I read an excellent talk on patience and I found ten definitions of patience throughout the talk:

* the ability to put our desires on hold for a time
* active waiting and enduring
* staying with something and doing all that we can
* staying with something until the end
* delaying immediate gratification
* reining in anger
* resisting evil
* accepting that which cannot be changed, facing it with courage & faith
* willing to submit all things which the Lord seeth fit
* firm and steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord

Now, you may be asking what this really has to do with scheduling and planning?  It has everything to do with it!  Another scene from the movie:  While travelling to Dublin, Anna and her travelling companion, Declan, find themselves trapped by a herd of cows in the road.  Declan takes out an apple and sits, ready to wait for the cows to move on.  Well, Anna wants nothing to do with it!  She proceeds to yell at, clap at and push the cows along.  All the while she's saying, "Yeah!  That's how you do it.  That's how you get things done." 

Connection?  I'm getting there!  Sometimes we want to herd the cows along, so to speak.  We want to keep things moving.  Even without transportation, rather than waiting Anna is determined to walk the whole way to Dublin (in high heels nonetheless!) rather than sit and wait for the next available ride.  When I am scheduling and planning each detail of my life, I leave very little room for patience.  I leave very little room for more direction from the Lord.  Quoting from the talk mentioned before,  "Patience is the process of perfection.. . . without patience, we cannot please God; we cannot become perfect."  Profound words.  Bold words.  And then he says this, "If children are ever going to mature and reach their potential, they must learn to wait."  How do we teach them, by waiting ourselves. 

So today I gave myself a challenge.  I didn't plan anything!  Well, okay, I did plan to take the car into the shop and to get at least most of the laundry done.  But aside from that, I didn't plan.  I followed my kids' time table.  We went on a bike ride, played a few games, I got some reading in and some church business taken care of.  They swam while I did some cleaning and reading.  We read together, went to the library and then used their free ice cream coupons at McDonald's.  Then they wanted to go play on a big hill.  And so we did.  It was a lovely day.  We had our general schedule of cleaning, dinner preparation and whatnot, but for the most part I allowed myself to take their lead.  I don't think we'll be able to do this every day, nor do I think we need to.  I simply had to give myself permission to stop planning, just for a day.  And in the process of not planning I had the opportunity to sit and wait, to learn the art of patience with myself and my children.


"Patience is a Process of Perfection."

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