“Hi, my name is Lynn, and I’m a compulsive planner.”
That’s how I would introduce myself if I found a support group for people like me who believe they simply must plan everything. (I basically have to plan to be spontaneous.)
I told my husband (a compulsive impromptu person) that I was thinking of blogging about planning. His reply with a slight eye-roll: “So you’re planning to write about planning?”
I feel badly for him living with a compulsive planner, but the handwriting was on the wall–literally–when we started dating in college and he saw my day was scheduled in 15-minute calendar increments.
God is a God of plans, but I know that His plans and mine are not always the same. And more importantly, I’ve learned that sometimes I need to ditch mine so I don’t miss out on His good gifts.
I’m so rarely spontaneous that when I do have a spontaneous thought, I’ve discovered it’s often God speaking. Like the day I was doing my brisk, 3-mile neighborhood walk and coming up the big hill where I always go straight on that route. But that day, I “felt” as if I should turn on to a little cul-de-sac that I normally take on a different route.
I hesitated, veered right, and shortly saw a woman who is part of the same, large church as we are.
I slowed slightly to say “hi” and inquire how she was.
“I’m recovering from cancer surgery” was her reply, which stopped me in my tracks–literally.
I listened to her story, prayed with her and later dropped off 50 Days of Hope. She was so appreciative and marveled that I “happened” to walk by just before she planned to go inside.
I’ve had many similar moments when an unplanned idea pops up.
Like the time our daughter Bethany was playing junior high basketball at a school an hour away so we didn’t plan to attend. But while at work, the clear thought came to me: “Go to Bethany’s game.” We drove to the school and joyfully witnessed her sink the winning basket. Afterwards a beaming Bethany explained she told herself “I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength.”
Another day at work, I spontaneously thought we should drive to daughter Lindsey’s fast-pitch softball game despite the distance and the cold spring day. Wrapped in winter coats, gloves, and blankets, we cheered like crazy as she struck out the side three innings in a row–her best pitching outing ever.
I’ve never heard God audibly, but many times I have sensed Him urging me to:
Pray for a certain person.
Send a card to a specific friend.
Do something difficult (like start a support group!)
Love someone who doesn’t “deserve” it.
Trust Him when it doesn’t make sense.
I can’t promise how you will “hear” God’s voice–it could be a Scripture verse, a friend’s wise counsel, or an impromptu idea–but I can promise He is speaking.
Listen carefully to what God the LORD is saying,
for he speaks peace to his faithful people. Psalm 85:8
Your own ears will hear him.
Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,”
whether to the right or the left. Isaiah 30:21
I’m planning to listen for God each day to direct my steps–literally and figuratively. Seems like a good plan for a compulsive planner. 🙂
Enjoy this peaceful 2 1/2-minute music video, “Open Our Eyes” by Steffany Gretzinger.