Making Plans

I’ll admit it. I’m a planner.

”Spontaneous” is probably the last word my family would ever use to describe me. I like to anticipate every possible scenario when making any plans, never leaving anything to chance.

Perhaps I am afraid of being caught unprepared, but that concern served me well when my kids were younger. (I’m sure other parents can relate.) I was always in “mom mode”, and had an emergency stash of “extras” on hand for every trip we took, whether it was a vacation, or just to the soccer field.

Today, I often wonder what unplanned adventures I may have missed over the years. Has fear kept me from pursuing some amazing opportunities in my past? That question has popped into my head more than once as I have watched my two independent and very spontaneous children grow into adulthood. Neither of them are planners and they both seem to thrive on spontaneity.

It’s taken me many years to realize that there is nothing wrong with making plans, as long as I wait for the Lord to bless them. I’ve learned that sometimes He blesses our plans while they are already in progress, but other times He forces a change in direction mid-stream.

In the past, a sudden change in course would have unnerved me, but now I know it’s all part of life and learning to trust in God. That’s not always easy, but it sure does give me peace of mind knowing someone else is making the plans.

Approval Seekers

There are so many days when I wish my dad was still with us so I could ask him for advice. I am grateful for my memories though, and I often think back to the lessons he unknowingly taught me while growing up. We didn’t have long, meaningful conversations, but I learned a lot by simply watching how he lived.

My dad didn’t follow trends or the latest fad, and he tried to raise his two children to think the same way.  He was a fiercely independent Jack-of-all-trades, and could build or fix just about anything. These talents came in handy, when at the age of 51, he and my mom sold almost everything they owned, and bought 136 acres of land in rural Maine to build a homestead off the grid.

Family and friends told my parents they were crazy, but they were not deterred by their disapproval, and forged ahead with their plans. My father was never a people-pleaser or a n approval-seeker. He sought only to please his Creator.

Even though their life in Maine was full of challenges, my dad began each day reading his Bible and praying silently and intently. I know he loved God and looked to Him alone — not to his friends or family — for approval of the way he lived. He understood that pleasing God was much more important than pleasing people.

One of the most valuable lessons I learned from my father’s example, is that when we seek approval and validation from the world around us, it prevents us from serving one another as Jesus called us to do. We must be generous, compassionate, kind and thoughtful to all . . . even during those challenging times.

Thank you, Dad. I hope I can continue to live out your lessons every day of my life!