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Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

Planning not to plan

Sunday, May 20, 2012

When I laid down my Wonder Woman persona, I recognized a conundrum. I've lived a life making plans, setting goals, and dedicating myself to them. What is my destiny? How can I earn a promotion? How may I earn more money? If interviewed, I always had a ready answer for 'Where do you see yourself in five years, ten years?'

All of a sudden, I found myself without a plan or a goal for life, and that was unsettling.

I talked about this with a dear friend, a successful businesswoman, and she said, "Never had a plan. Never set any goals." She seemed very content with this. Might look like dumb luck, she said, but God had just always organized her life in a fashion that it never occurred to her to worry about which rung of a career ladder she'd achieve next.

James 4 addresses this, "Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away."

Now that I think about it, many of my well-made plans took a turn along the way. I didn't end up exactly where I thought I was going from year to year, but once there, I found the result better than the vision I had created.

Some folks neglect to plan because they want to always remain open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. I'm somewhat inclined this way -- my life has unfolded and come together so spectacularly in the last year or so, I've given up the notion that I am in charge of any of it.

I accept that my life is completely in God's hands. From his vantage point, life is very uncertain.

That said, the scriptures support planning. It admonishes the 'sluggard' (Proverbs 6:8). Perhaps the missing piece for me has been that I didn't include God in my plans, and I wasn't ready to be flexible to his leading.

Lord, where do you want me to go? What would you have me do? Those are my primary questions now. I've laid down the worry and the striving that used to occupy (too much) space in my brain. I trust, rely and lean on my Savior.

Wherever you want to take me next, Lord. I'm ready.

-- Tracy Simmons is a features writer for the Times-Gazette. She may be reached at (931) 684-1200, ext. 217, or by e-mail at tsimmons@t-g.com.

Tracy Simmons
Spirited Scribe