My one and only Christmas present that I asked for this year, without anyone asking me leading questions, was a day-by-day journal planner. I really want to get more into my writing this year, and having one of these planners will help me prioritize and lay out what exactly needs to get done.
Several weeks after Christmas, I’m still obsessing over this cute, purple planner! I have different colored pens that I use to write my tasks in order of urgency. Each month is also represented by a uniquely colored page. Also, after watching my friend Christa’s workshop on time management, I’m ready to boss my time around in 2018!
But quickly after beginning to organize my planner, I felt a deep sense of emptiness. Where was my family in this multi-colored book? Where was my time with my husband? Where were the fun outings and the vacations and the free time? Time management is a beautiful thing, but it cannot replace what I have prioritized and what gives me life.
The point of life is not to plan. The point of life is to enjoy. The wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, concluded in Ecclesiastes that life’s purpose is to enjoy life and to obey God’s commandments. After seeing the meaninglessness of everything else in the world, that was what Solomon concluded had the most meaning in life: joy and obedience.
“Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.”
We plan so that we can enjoy life. We save up money so we can go on vacation. We get fancy planners so we can make time to do the things we love.
Do not fall in love with the plan.
Do not fall in love with saving money.
Do not fall in love with the fancy planners!
I plan so that I can make time for my family and husband. I plan so that I can be prepared and not be anxious when unexpected events come my way. I plan so that I can feel like I’m in control. For those who struggle with anxiety, we all know how scary it can feel to not be in control. Planning helps me feel like I have some grasp on my life, at least with the free time I have.
If you have anxiety, it’s okay to plan. But don’t let the planning distract you from the tasks that you enjoy. Plan time to relax. Plan a budget that causes you to save for activities you love. Dream and be optimistic instead of expecting the worst to happen in the future. Do all of these things, but realize that ultimately, our lives are in God’s hands.
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
-James 4:13-17, NIV
Fall in love with life, because that is what gives our plans meaning. At the end of the day, if our plans fail, we still have each other. We still have hope. When you live your life, don’t focus on the plan. Focus on enjoying life and obeying God’s commandments.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.