The Dangers of Overplanning

Lists are wonderful, beautiful organizational tools. They make life simpler and keep us from having to remember and rehearse things in our head. Or at least that's the idea, anyway.

I'm a list-maker. I love seeing everything that I need to do or get or see all in one place, and I love to cross things off my list when they've been accomplished. There is personal satisfaction in that to me.

But, like anything else, too much of a good thing can be destructive. As much as I love lists, I'm learning that relying on them too much - and going overboard - can actually make things worse.

On Friday morning, I made a list that would get me through the entire weekend. On the Saturdays and Sundays that Danny has to work, I close myself up at home to get some major things accomplished. It's my time to be productive and do some things that I've been putting off.

So here is this entire weekend ahead of me on Friday. My list included getting caught up on some blog posts, methodically cleaning my way through the house and finishing up a special order for Etsy. I filled an entire page of a yellow tablet in my enthusiasm - I was all ready to get started early Saturday morning.

But when Saturday morning actually arrived, I couldn't walk on my left leg. That's what Fibromyalgia is like. You'll feel fine one night and then are basically crippled the next morning. I've been like this since I was 16, so it's not so big of a deal anymore, but it meant I wasn't going to be able to accomplish several of the things on my list. It's very, very difficult to sweep when you can't put your full weight on one side of your body, for example.

So there's one whole chunk of my list that I couldn't accomplish. That's enough to put anyone in a funk, but especially me when my plan gets changed without my permission.

I decided to tackle the other parts of the list - I put meat in the slow cooker, I put a couple of new cards on Etsy and I made several pieces for my special order. All of that was feeling pretty good.

But by the time I sat on the heating pad for a while and made it through those few things, it was supper time. Only checking a couple of items off my list didn't look like I'd accomplished very much at all.

And then the voices started:
Well, that will teach you to plan ahead.
How lazy can you be?
That's a wasted day.
Is that really all you can do?
People are going to be so disappointed.

So I cried a little. And I prayed a lot. And I figured out something very important.

A list, a plan or an idea are all good, helpful, needful things, but that's all they are. They're not written in stone or a measurement of my worth. In contrast, they're also not so important that not accomplishing them makes me a terrible, horrible, unChristian person.

Sometimes the things I plan in my head are easy, like when you do something and add it to your list just you can cross it off. It makes you feel good for a moment, but you've not really accomplished anything you set out to do. It's just "stuff."

I can write things out, assign a task to every hour of the day and even gather everything I need to fill a day with "doing." I can even have the best of intentions, but in the end, my performance is not the measure of my standing with the Lord.

So here's my plan for the moment, just so I'm not beating myself up or feeling like a failure. I'm not going to let my plans go beyond today. I'm only promised this one moment, so I'm going to make the most of it. I'm through being overwhelmed by my own overly high standards.

Oh, I'll still write things down - otherwise I'll forget my own name. And I'll still cross things off and smile because it's one more accomplishment for the day. But I'll not let the enemy's lies tell me that I should be more than I am or better than I am.

God's truth says that He will bless the work of my hands that is done in His name. That's better than getting through a to-do list any day. And it should be.


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