Monday, March 14, 2011

The Planner in Me

I have been continuing to read through the book, "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day", in the moments of time that I can catch throughout the day (i.e. bathroom breaks - come on, when else does a mom have a couple minutes to herself) and God is challenging me so much.

Here is a little bit of what I read yesterday...

Are We There Yet?

"I believe in planning.  I believe in goal setting. But there are some things in life you can't plan or predict.  And that drives the obsessive-compulsive part of us crazy.  We want control, but the decision to follow Christ is a relinquishment of control.  Following Christ is letting Jesus take the wheel.  Of course, some of us act like backseat drivers.  Or worse yet, we're like little kids that make their parents crazy by asking one question over and over again: Are we there yet?

I honestly think that question reveals something genetically wired into the human psyche. It comes standard.  And while we may stop pestering our parents, we never outgrow the desire to know exactly where we're headed and exactly when we'll get there.  We want a complete itinerary with everything mapped out.

What I'm trying to say in a nice way is this:  We're control freaks.  But faith involves a loss of control.  And with the loss of control comes the loss of certainty.  You never know when a five-hundred-pound lion may cross your path.  And faith is the willingness and readiness to embrace those uncertainties."  (Batterson, pg 86 and 87).
I know that is a pretty long quote...but I wanted you to see what I am dealing with here.... :)

I AM A PLANNER.  I love to plan things: trips, parties (especially parties), events, all kinds of things.  But more than I love to plan things, I love things to work out the way that I have planned.  One of the hardest things that I have found in my marriage is to not really plan things.  As the wife of a millwright, I have found that even the best laid plans fail.  I don't know how many times I had something wonderful planned...only to have Mike called to work that day.  I would get mad, cry, sometimes yell at him...but nothing changed the fact that it was not going to work out.  Even over this Christmas break, I made a long list of the things that I was going to get done in the 11 days I had off...But then we all ended up sick and Mike ended up working...only one or two things at MOST got finished. 

For me, the completion of the things that I have planned show how successful I am.  I am the type of person who likes to be able to check things off at the end of the day to show what I did that day.  When I was on phones at work it DROVE me crazy because it always just seemed that I was answering phone calls and never really able to put that I DID anything on my little tally sheet.  I know that for some people, the answering phone calls would be enough, but for me, it just seemed like that wasn't really helping me contribute to the office. 

That compulsion to have things to check off has come into my relationship with God too.  I want a 10 step plan of where I will be in a few years.  I look forward to the future like I do a checklist.  Get the Elijah out of diapers...check.  Get Josiah in kindergarten...check.  Get Mike to finish his degree...check.  Then we can get on with our lives...

But when one of those things doesn't work out exactly like I think they should...my world crumbles.  I get mad, cry and sometimes scream at God...wondering why it didn't happen the way that I had planned on it happening.  How stupid am I??

It is really easy for me to remember where I was 11 years ago on New Year's Eve.  It was the last night of 1999 and Y2K fears were in full swing.  No one knew what would happen as the computers of the world switched from 12/31/99 to 1/1/00.  There was talk of every computer in the world failing...and the entire world 'going dark'.  I didn't really care about it, I was at a friend's house with her, her husband, and a bunch of our closest friends.  I had the next ten years mapped out...I knew where I was going to work, who I was going to be married to,  the vicinity of where I was going to live...everything was planned to the slightest detail.

Then life got derailed.  The man I just KNEW I was going to spend the rest of my life with ended up being VERY different than I expected him to be...my job got to the point where I knew that I could go no further in it, and I got the opportunity to go to college in a state that I had barely visited, let alone ever thought about living in. 

I would have never guessed that last night of 1999 that on the last night of 2011 I would be married, with three children, have a college degree, and be a pastor's wife.  That was not in my plan...but it was God's plan.

I know that I would be a lot happier in life if I could get past this need to know exactly where I am headed and just enjoy the ride, but this is something that is going to be one of the hardest things for me to let go of. 

I want to, don't get me wrong, because I hate the feeling of being disappointed if things don't go my way.  I hate being disappointed ALL THE TIME.  I want to be surprised.  I want to feel the excitement of something new happening in my life...not dread knowing that something I WANT to happen is not going to happen. 

I just realized that while I have been sitting here blogging, I have also been going back and forth in a game on FACEBOOK called CountryLife.  I love these games.  Time management games are my favorite.  These are the ones where you kind of play "god".  You tell the characters in the game to do something, and they do it.  In country life, I plant things, and they grow, I then give the things I grow to animals or machines and they make different things.  There are no disappointments, what I tell it to do, it does.  There are no tornadoes that take out crops, or dry spells that kill the animals.  There is only pure, heavenly, bliss.

That is how I wish my life was...instead I am here trying to make it all go the way I hope, and trying not to be so disappointed when it doesn't work out.   Please God, help me to give up the control and let you have it, I don't want to feel this way anymore.

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