I love new beginnings. Especially after becoming a mom, I’ve learned to savor each new morning and the few minutes of quiet that (usually) come with peeling out of bed early in the still-dark morning. I tiptoe to the living room and sit under a cozy blanket in an arm chair like a hobbit — I lack only a pipe 😉 I sit here preparing for the day ahead, soaking up the slowness and stillness of it all before my kiddos wake and need all the things all at once.
I love a new year too — the ultimate new beginning as it were. After wrestling through a whole year of victories and losses, it’s nice standing at Day One with a shiny blank canvas to be filled.
And you guys, I love day planners. Don’t believe me? The picture above shows all three of the planners I’m currently using. One specifically for setting and tracking goals, one for big picture yearly and monthly overviews and the other for the every day don’t-forget-to-take-the-trash-out kind of stuff. Also, stickers… I really love peppering my planners with stickers. Basically I’m 12 but I need to remember to take the trash out and raise other humans so this is how we get it done.
But I’m noticing something about myself and my love of planning, organizing and well — controlling all the things. It’s easy to believe that if I just plan carefully enough and have my day plotted out just so, then everything will be fine. Meaning, the success of the day depends almost entirely on myself (my planning and ability to execute said plan) and little on the grace and help of God — His enabling, directing and even His throwing a wrench in my carefully laid out plans in order to test my heart reaction and not just my ability to get stuff done.
There is a lesson about balance and surrender here. Obviously there is nothing wrong with having a plan and trying to stay on top of things. In fact, it is this very practice that helps me chisel out time each day to dig into God’s word and fellowship with Him in prayer. Discipline and order are both Biblical and practical tools to living as we ought. But like so many good and right things, just about anything can become a god if you let it.
I noticed this first when I found myself irritable and short-tempered every single Friday and often through the rest of the weekend. Why Friday? Because my husband, Darren, works 10 hour days Monday through Thursday and is home on Fridays. Which, don’t get me wrong, is fabulous. But it also means that the kids and I go from our normal day planner routine to a hodge podge day of working around the house and nothing is very predictable. I never realized how much I idolized my plan, my routine and my being in control of things until I persistently struggled with my attitude every time those things were taken away.
I find myself too believing that if I have a super productive week where all the little boxes get checked and all my carefully planned activity is accomplished then that can easily be equated as a “good” week — even if I was grumpy with my family, selfish with my time or whatever else the case may be.
My point is this: Sometimes the most “successful” days and weeks are the ones that don’t go according to my plan at all but where I learned to let go, surrender and obey as God led. Sometimes I learn more by a frustrating day dealing with heart issues (my own and those of my children) than I ever will by writing all the posts, submitting all the work or getting the whole house clean top to bottom. Those things are fine and well, but not if I’m idolizing them or sacrificing what really matters most for the sake of check boxes and productivity.
We are only two weeks into this shiny new year and in that, I wanted to stop and remind myself today of what really matters most and where success really lies. All the planning and accomplishing is fine, but only if done with the right heart attitude, enabled by the Lord and done for His glory and not my own.