So this book I’m reading? It’s rocking my thoughts about relationships. Kinda like a subtle earthquake shaking the rockland so that what is not quite true tumbles down and out. The solid rock truth stays. But the rest…it’s being rolled away.
I’ve always been a planner. Part nature, part nurture. I guess in recent years somewhere I learned planning is a negative trait. Our culture pairs being a planner with a control freak, OCD, a worrier, someone who is inflexible. So I’m reading this book, and the author is saying how it’s healthy to have a plan for a romantic relationship. Um…what?! That’s the last thing I am supposed to plan. Everyone tells you, “It happens when you least expect it,” which is not helpful either since then you try to plan on not expecting it. Oy. So the author is saying make a marriage plan, like you would a business plan. Give it a vision, some goals, some specifics. How do you want to serve your spouse and other people with your marriage? Um… really? He is giving me permission to think about these things? To…. plan?
“My friend told me, ‘All relationships are teleological. It means they’re going somewhere. All relationships are living and alive and moving and becoming something. My question to you is, where is the relationship you’ve started going?‘
“If you’re coasting, you’re going downhill… If there is no plan, the chances of success are limited.”
-Donald Miller, Scary Close
So you mean to tell me, Don, that I should plan? Like it might be an aspect of a healthy relationship? A healthy… me? Revolutionary.
So this word, “limited.” Meaning only part of what could be, will be. But that’s not the life Jesus died for me to live. He came that I could have life limited? No. A life of abundance. So if I can have a fuller, freer life by planning…
“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” -Proverbs 21:5
This, this, is the key. Diligence implies hard work paired with patience, God’s timing. And yet, still a plan. Not on our own, but welcoming God into the plan, inviting Him to participate, alter, and be King over it, over all. Asking for His plans to prosper us. Planning + prayer + patience = abundance.
With the fast pace of our culture, no wonder planning has been assumed as a negative need to control. We so often lack the patience and even the prayer that must be paired.
Hasty leads to poverty. Ouch. And yet, this clicks. Not poverty monetarily, but poverty relationally. I’ve made some dumb relational decisions. I’ve rushed things just to learn that it actually wasn’t what my heart desired. Spur of the moment stuff. And afterward, I felt empty, poor in heart.
But, God. He is the lover who knows my heart. He comes and restores, filling me full of Him, and I receive the grace of His Son Jesus again. It was his plan since the beginning, that Savior of mine. God has made a plan, and I’m made in his image.
So what if putting into practice this planning trait is actually a characteristic way I am like my God? I’ve been believing I had to not plan so I wasn’t stepping on God’s plan, choosing my eyes over his all-seeing own. In work, relationships, travel, living situations, friends, money, so many aspects of my life. But now as I read, I feel this invitation to be who He has made me to be. To think, to plan, to dream, to imagine, to clarify goals and move toward them.
Somehow I can build goals without feeling the need to control. I can dream on the future without worrying. I can project and be flexible, but not get bent out of shape when things don’t happen that way.
Am I going to plan out my life with my future husband? No. (Well, let’s be honest, what girl doesn’t?) But I do have some marriage goals in mind, and I think that’s healthy. What I can do now is look at the aspects of my life and ask God where He is inviting me to plan, where it would be good to exercise that gift He gave me.
So that lie about planning being a negative thing? It got shaken. Let’s just let it roll away. Because the solid rock truth about it? We can plan with patient prayer and be Christlike.
“Commit your ways to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.”