Lately I’ve sensed a changing of seasons for myself. Not with the weather, but for the future. I don’t know what it looks like or really what it all entails, but I sense change coming. I have plenty of ideas of what I’d like the next season to look like—I’m really good at coming up with grandiose and detailed plans in my head, but rarely do they make it to reality. Sometimes a portion of them does, but more often than not something totally different happens. And not in a bad way, either. In a “God has something differently better up His sleeve” kind of way. I don’t always think it’s better at the time though!
But despite completely believing and knowing that God’s plans are best, I still have the incredible urge to plan plan plan. And I’m really good at it! I create spreadsheets for everything. Holiday dinner coming up? Spreadsheet the heck out of it! Yep, let’s make a list of the menu, the guests, potential activities, grocery lists, and food prep to do in the days leading up to the event. I love it! Somehow these spreadsheets energize me and tap into a stream of creativity that has to get out before I explode…
Plans are great. Great plans are even better. But something I’ve had to learn over the years is when to back off from planning. It’s so hard because all my little brain wants to do is focus on the project and solve it like it’s some sort of puzzle that was created just for me to put together. It’s like telling a kid “don’t look over there” so then all they want to do is look where you told them not to.
I found myself in that situation recently. I was so intrigued by certain future possibilities that I couldn’t sleep one night. I was so physically tired, but my brain was wired. I couldn’t shut it off. I don’t think I fell asleep until close to 3 am. The worst part was the plans I was fabricating were not remotely helpful. This was not a party I knew I would be throwing in a couple of weeks—I was mentally creating a layout and decorating a fictional house on a plot of land who knows where. I was organizing a laundry room and then planning 10 years into the future of a house that is not even a twinkle in an unknown architect’s eye. Slow down, Amy! My “planning” wasn’t planning at all—it was total daydream. Or middle-of-the- night-awake-dream, rather.
It’s really fun to daydream. I enjoy it immensely. However, when daydreams take over and grow like weeds then there is suddenly no room for actual fruit-bearing plants. I knew I had to reign things in. Even the potentially excusable things like the “hypothetical 2019 budget” spreadsheet needed to be paused before I turned into a daydream zombie slave. Again, planning for the future is a good thing, but not when it completely distracts from surviving today.
So I decided to go on a planning fast. I highly recommend fasts of various kinds. They are a great way to refocus back up to God instead of ourselves. One time I even did a “yahoo fast” (like literally from the website Yahoo!, because I had gotten into a time-wasting habit of scrolling through poorly written and useless articles). My planning fast had only a hazy time limit—I chose somewhere between 10 days and 2 weeks, just to kind of see how things went and reevaluate as needed.
That was about a month ago. The first couple of days I was really tempted to start drawing floor plans or crunching hypothetical numbers. But when the urge would hit I would just pray that God would send direction. I prayed for wisdom, I prayed for patience, I prayed that God would prepare a path before me. And like I said, that started about a month ago. In these last few weeks I’ve actually started to get some glimpses of next steps and a potential future. I’ve been shown things that have kind of clicked and made sense in my brain to the point where I actually don’t want to be in planning-mode anymore. I’m enjoying listening-mode.
I have so much more to say and so many more stories to tell! However, I am also extremely tired since I didn’t sleep well last night either (but for very different reasons—that story coming soon!). I have a cold, a pregnant belly, and it’s the Friday night after a long week at work. God was good in getting me through writing the above, but now it’s time to say good night. I have some actual stories coming in the near future, so stay tuned!
One thought on “A planning fast yields a faster plan?”
Always happy to see your posts, good writing…I definitely stay awake until 3 o’clock with my wheels turing about things I can’t control or I won’t end up doing…I can’t relate to the spreadsheets, planning is not my strong suit, but I applaud you, love how you are always reevaluating…