Any Type-A, Enneagram 1 (or 3), planning people out there?
Come on, you know who I’m talking about.
You ordered your 2022 planner in November, and before the big ball dropped in NYC, you had your birthdates transferred, your dream circles completed, and your fancy stickers placed neatly throughout the pages. Checking things off your list makes you almost giddy. And you may or may not color code your categories…
Anyone? Anyone? (Bueller?)
I get you, friends. That is a snapshot of me, or at least it was before we had four kids. Actually, I somehow managed to stay pretty organized when they were all little, probably because I was the one in charge. Feeding schedules, chore charts, behavior systems— you name it, we had it. Friends even used to call me for advice on how to create schedules for their babies!
And then something happened…
Our kids grew up.
They started having multiple activities during the week. Family dinner turned into fast food on the run. Our girls started driving, and plans began to change on the spur of the moment. With the tiny ba-da-bing of a text message, my carefully planned evenings vanished in a puff of vanilla-scented-candle smoke.
Now, with Sarah off at college and three teenagers in the house (well, almost), I am not afraid to admit it: I am not in control.
One more time for the people in the back?
I AM NOT IN CONTROL!
It’s funny, though, because while I’ll freely admit it, I’m not so good at actually believing it.
Even after 2020, my instinct is still to plan, to control. I think if I can just get everything organized, life will be simpler! And though that is true to a certain extent, ultimately, it’s a sham.
No matter what I do, all the boxes rarely get checked. The meal plan goes out the window as soon as practice runs late or we offer to take a friend home first. Someone gets sick and the carefully scheduled, color-coded time slots go right out the window (especially if that someone is me!).
“You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.”~Proverbs 19:21 (NLT)
This was our reality at Christmas when Noah got the flu and our big 25th anniversary plans became the Chick-fil-a drive-thru. Then, on the first day back to school, several of Noah’s teachers were out with Covid and he ended up doing schoolwork at home. You can imagine how excited I was this week to finally have three full days to get the house back in order and plan out my writing schedule… when suddenly the kids were back home again so our sweet principal could recover from Covid. And on and on it goes…
It is so frustrating to me, a planner at heart, to know that I am not in control! No matter how hard I try, no matter how carefully I plan, my time is not really my own.
So tonight, as I sit alone in our house, missing Eli’s basketball games because I have a sore throat (which turned out to be Covid, yippee!), I realize this is the life lesson of this ordinary day. I can whine about it, complain about it, pretend it’s not true, act like it’s not true, try harder to make it not true, but at the end of the day, we all know it’s true.
I am not in control.
Not of the future or the past, not of my family or myself, not of our health or our sickness, not of the weather or the assignments or the calendar or who I’m going to run into in the grocery store.
Nope, none of it.
And the sooner I quit trying to act like I’m in control, and just do whatever the Lord gives me to do next, the more content I will be. For now, that is sharing this lesson with you.
Friends, I am not in control! And neither are you.
Thank goodness we know the One who is.
“Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of His servant? Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God.”~Isaiah 50:10, NIV
So what do you do when life does not go according to plan? Here are some questions I ask myself at the end of a frustrating day:
- How did God use me today?
- What did God teach me today?
- Where did I see God at work today?
- God, what am I making more important than You?
Next time your plans go out the window, will you join me in asking these questions?
Maybe, just maybe, they will help us remember who is actually in control.
(Because we know it’s not us!)
Check out these other posts on when we’re not in control:
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