July 10, 2018

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I remember getting my first planner when I was little. It was a Lisa Frank, pink/purple calendar that had a side panel for notes. I was so excited! At age eight, a girl doesn’t really write much in a planner except for the fun things—having a sleepover, going to a movie, and really just doodling because it’s fun. In third grade, there was very little planning I was required to do, but I always loved to organize, make lists, and make timelines for myself of when things would happen or get finished (all of which had lots of bright colors, stickers, and drawings). Making the big checkmark with my purple glitter pen was always fun and flipping the page to a new month or section of the planner was just as exhilarating. 

I have written in a diary for 25 years and have kept a planner for 23. Anyone who knows me well knows that I do like spontaneity and just going with the flow, however there’s a good amount of structure and organization that I find necessary in many areas of my life.

I remember planning my first party with my sister and neighbor friend as a small child. We put on a “carnival” for the neighbor kids. We had snacks, games, prizes, and water balloons in the backyard. We even had one of those fishing “ponds” for people to fish for prizes. It seemed to be a hit at such a young age, but one of the things I remember most was the party planning. I remember eating snacks in the backyard and writing things down as we talked. It was a blast!

A couple years later, we planned a Star Wars birthday party for my youngest brother, with a striking game of “Pin the Saber to Darth Vader”. That was when I was ten. Since childhood, I have loved to plan. Throwing parties, showers, and coordinating weddings are still so fun for me. Sometimes when I’m not planning something, I feel as though I should be.

These last three years, I have been a teacher and a coach, both of which had enormous amounts of planning and organization attached to them. These two jobs weren’t in my “plan”, however I adjusted very smoothly because of the natural planner/organizer that I am. Work rarely felt like work, because it was all just part of what I loved.

Like I mentioned earlier, I have written in a planner for 23 years of my life—77% of my life. More actively, I have written in a diary for 25 years–81% of my life. Many of the entries are of my own plans not working out, but God’s plans prevailing. The majority of my life is documented and is nothing what I thought it would look like. God always shows me how great His plans are, and He has blessed me immensely.

Over the past five years, one of the biggest things God continues to teach me is that no matter how much of an organized planner I may view myself as, His plans for me prevail, and make the most sense. His plans are the ones that are best for us, even if we can’t see it at the time. I have learned to let go of many of my own life plans, and trust that God will bring things about in his perfect time. He is always faithful to do that.

At the beginning of summer, I went out shopping for my new planner—it was tradition, and the thought never occurred of that tradition changing. I looked at two places, and even online. I didn’t find a planner that I liked. Normally I find “the one” rather quickly and spend the next few days on a fancy pen and paper high filling in the new information. I knew this summer I would get a little different of a planner since I didn’t need one with lesson plans, however as I continued to look, the urge to find a new planner went away. In an odd way, it made me sad for a moment. Why wasn’t I excited about this? Yes, for most people, it’s just a trivial planner, but not for me.

Jeremiah 29:11 kept coming to mind that day and throughout the summer. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

A couple of people who have known me for many years asked me a couple weeks ago if I had gotten a new planner. I told both of them that I hadn’t, and I was ok with not having a new one. They were shocked. Could a planner be helpful for scheduling appointments, friend dates, and family get-togethers? Sure. Do I need it for lesson plans, teacher meetings, and cross country meets? Not right now. Do I really need one at all?

Not having a planner right now has been a good thing. It brings me back to Jeremiah 29:11, and the reminder that God’s plans fall into place at just the right time; there is no need to worry about what went on yesterday, what may happen today, or where we will be tomorrow. Have I felt a little disorganized or insecure without the planner these past few weeks? Yes, but it’s worth it. It forces me to surrender a part of my life that at times is consuming-planning. It’s a daily, weekly, and monthly surrender that God is helping me with. His plans prevails over our own. His calendar is perfect.

The picture above is the stationary I found tonight at home. I thought it was really pretty, and naturally I wanted to do something with it. As I sat, I thought about writing a number of things on it, I did use one piece for a letter, but decided to leave the original piece blank. I don’t need to write anything, and I don’t need to even have the pen in my hand. The pen doesn’t belong to me, and neither does the paper. God has all of his plans for me written down. He has shown me many plans, but so many more of those plans are unseen and have yet to be revealed. I am thankful tonight to leave the pen down, and to look at a blank page with only His words.