The Plan

“Cora, what’s tonight?”

“My special night!”

“What do you want to do?”

“I don’t know, Daddy. I haven’t figured out the plan.”

::

Every Thursday night Cora comes up with a plan.

Thursdays are her special night; her night to spend time in Mommy and Daddy’s bed singing, reading or playing games before she falls asleep. Her night to sleep all night sandwiched in-between us, without fear of being moved back to her own room. Her night to be an only child in the eyes of her parents, with no distracting brothers to get in the way.

Usually the plan goes something like this: “Tonight we will sing two songs, read a book and play I Spy. Then we’ll pray and you’ll cuddle me till I fall asleep.”

She’s got it all worked out. She knows what to expect. And she wants it to happen in just that order.

She never forgets to make a plan.

::

“Melissa, what time is it?”

“My quiet time.”

“What do you want to do?”

“I don’t know, God. I haven’t figured out the plan.”

::

We, the church, like to make plans:

  • Today we will sing one fast song and two slow songs, do announcements, preach a sermon for 30 minutes, and then we’ll all go get some lunch.
  • This morning I will read my Psalms and Proverbs, write a scripture, observation, application and prayer, and then go on with my day.
  • This evening we’ll do prayer requests, discuss the chapter we read, answer the questions provided and then chat over coffee.

Sometimes I wonder if we get so caught up in The Plan, that we forget the importance of The Relationship, The Connection and the Be Still and Know.

::

Our agenda can cause us to miss the thing God has on His agenda.

What if we went to church and the pastor said, “This morning we’re going to spend time in prayer and meditation, then we’ll share the things God has said to us, and we’ll follow that up by a time of praise and worship in response to God’s interaction with us?”

What if we approached our quiet time by asking God who He would have us pray for, what He would choose for us to read, where He’s already working and how we can come along side Him?

What if at our Bible studies we all suddenly felt led to take that coffee out and pass it around to the homeless in our community?

::

I’m not spreading guilt.

I’m not condemning or judging.

I’m definitely not bashing the church.

I’m questioning — because I pretty consistently have an agenda and I want to be more open to laying it aside for what God wants to do.

The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.
(Proverbs 16:9)

Today, is God asking you to shake up something in your plans or routine?

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22 Comments

  1. dearliv says:

    Couldn’t sleep . . . was blessed to find you as a result. Keep writing. Very encouraging stuff.

    1. Melissa says:

      Sorry you couldn’t sleep, but glad I was able to fill a need. Haha! You’re the second person this week who’s told me they read my blog when they couldn’t sleep. Does that mean I tire people out. :) Just kidding.

  2. Kelly Sauer says:

    I will have to try your idea with Cora for Pip – I think she would find it so special.

    As for the plans? My kids are constantly rerouting me, so that when I talk to God, we just rather ramble together. All over the place. It’s rather fun, actually, letting the Spirit lead. A bit risky, but then, He *is* trustworthy. If we let go of our plans, He has room to be Himself. Which is, really, the best thing for us, so we can get to know Him as He is.

    1. Melissa says:

      We started doing special nights with the older two when Ezra was born. It was an opportunity for each kid to get some quiet, alone time with us that they were missing out on. They love it.

      And I love your thoughts (as always). It really is the best way to get to know Him, because then He’s Himself and not who we make Him out to be.

  3. Haley says:

    Well, I have to admit that my whole idea of “plan” and “routine” is going to drastically change in 3 days. ;-) It has actually been really hard for me to adjust to the idea of a non-scheduled time ahead of me. I like my routines. I like my plans. You can’t plan a newborn. However, Luke and I just spent a long time talking about our plan for the weekend and for Monday. Whether or not this plan actually happens, though, is up to God and this little girl! Haha! So, we’ll see.

    I think God brought me children at the perfect time. The purpose behind my previous plan/routine was…non-existent? God threw me into an unpredictable world. It has challenged my previously-structured life in a way I didn’t plan for. Haha! It’s hard to talk about this without using the word “plan.” I am working on being more flexible. Finding the freedom to release stress when things don’t go “as planned.” It is a stretch for me. One that hurts, but God knows and keeps me protected. :-)

    Thanks for making me think this morning. I was just about to plan my day. ;-)

    1. Melissa says:

      Leave it to kids to mess up the itinerary, huh? :) You definitely have some unscheduled days ahead of you. Praying for you in these days of waiting and trusting God’s plan for you and that precious baby girl.

  4. Levi says:

    This post kicks ass! I’m pretty much in favor of any discussion that reminds us to be Mary rather than Martha. So much of our focus can be dominated by what we should DO that we forget to “Be still and know…” I love it! Really missing you guys right now (eyes tearing up as I write this). You are such dear friends. I don’t know when it will be, but I eagerly anticipate the next time we can all be together.

    1. Melissa says:

      I am constantly having to remind myself to be more Mary-ish. And we REALLY miss you. Josh and I were just talking about our plans for January. I’m really counting on that working out…

  5. craig says:

    First, in answer to your question, my plans are already so shaken up they need no further time in the blender. nuf said.

    Now for your stuff. I have not once asked God in recent memory to remind me of a person that I had forgotten to pray for – or do something good for. It’s been weeks since I asked him – “any ideas God?”

    and…

    I go to a Southern Baptist church that is (sad for me) firmly set inside the Southern Baptist box. But they are good people and “do” the love thing well. Anyway – if the pastor did as you suggested a good many ambulances might have to be called – which I’m sure would interrupt the experiment – and the ensuing chaos might get in the way of the spontaneous praise music you suggest – so I’m thinking I might ease my church into that idea. :)

    God Bless

    1. Melissa says:

      Haha! Craig, your comments always brighten my day. :)

  6. jasonS says:

    Sometimes we miss the joy God has planned because we want so badly to stick to our schedule. And you’re right, that negates the need for relationship and ‘abiding in the Vine.’ The only problem is that we don’t truly believe that we can ‘do nothing apart from Him’ as Jesus declared in John 15. If we are reaching to express the eternal, there has to be more to our listening and following.

    Good questions and good post. Thanks Melissa!

    1. Melissa says:

      Oooh! Pointing out the heart of the matter: “we don’t truly believe that we can ‘do nothing apart from Him’ as Jesus declared in John 15.” Thanks Jason.

  7. apesydaisy says:

    I love this post! We go through our lives with a plan; a calendar. I have one in my computer that syncs to my cell phone and I have an old fashioned calendar that I keep in my purse. Without it, I wouldn’t make it through a day. Being a single mom though I have had to learn a lot of flexibility in my daily schedule, which sometimes makes me more determined to hold onto what little I do control, leaving me with my plans. How true that we need to be more open to what God might have planned for our days. Thanks for the gentle reminder.

  8. Great post. I am so mechanical. It seems like I have to plan every step out to the t then fill God in on what is going on to see if he can be there at this specific times to do this thing. Thanks for your thoughts and challenge.

    1. Melissa says:

      Haha! I love the way you put that. I do the exact same thing. God is teaching me to follow His lead more and have less of an agenda set up for Him.

  9. Tricia says:

    Once again, excellent post, Melissa! Plans. If I haven’t made a thousand plans, only to have them go completely awry. I am all for a less plan-centered life, and a more God-centered existence. it’s so hard, I feel like planning is so intrinsic in our nature as human beings. But we will continue to feel like He failed if we make plans without asking Him HIS plans first.

    I really want to implement the “special night” once our Ezra gets here in less than four weeks (wow, is it really time already?). That way, Henry won’t feel like a baby has taken away his parents, and he’ll feel like he’s got something special….just for him. You are so full of inspiring and powerful advice, Melissa. Thank you again, for a phenomenal post!

    1. Melissa says:

      One of the passages I always think of regarding plans is James 4:13-15: “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.'”

      I don’t think this passages warns us against making plans. Instead, I think that it shows us we need to remember that all of our plans our subject to the Lord’s will.

      I didn’t know you were going to have an Ezra! :) I love that name (obviously). Congrats on the upcoming birth, and I pray that God blesses you as you go through this transitional time in your family. The special night has really been a great time for us. It helps us to still be able to connect with each of our kids, regardless of the size of our family. :)

  10. Eyvonne says:

    Thank you for this. We are so quick to tell God our plans instead of letting him lead.

    I love how your words always point us to Him.

    1. Melissa says:

      What a compliment, Eyvonne! I need to save up this comment for those days I feel small. Thanks. :)

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