When my children and grandbabies arrived the house was clean. The Precious Moments nativity set was all in place with Mary and Joseph looking over their newborn son and the shepherds watching over their sheep.
Food was prepared and in the refrigerator, and beds had fresh sheets ready for a refreshed sleep.
When my family stumbled out on Christmas Eve morning to go to their other families or to their own home, Joseph and Mary were under the couch, and baby Jesus was nowhere to be found.
Food was scattered under the high chair, and fresh sheets were on the floor. Baby toys were in the tub, and a bucket of dirty diapers in the garage.
The night before eight strong adults were whipped as one baby cried, waking a second, who woke the third in increments throughout the night. Somehow one grandbaby slept through it all. In the morning we all emerged bleary eyed, looking for coffee, but excited for the day.
Perhaps nothing went as planned, but it was the unplanned moments that made Christmas the most fun.
If you joined me from Encouragement for Today, welcome! If you read today’s devo, you’ll understand how overplanning can make a special memory dim as our plans go awry.
There’s nothing wrong with planning. Because I was hosting 12 (four of them babies), planning had to be involved. There was food to prep. Special foods to buy for the little ones. Sheets to wash. Gifts to wrap. Pack and Plays to set up.
But I couldn’t plan the outcome.
If I had held tight to a rigid set of expectations, I would have missed those special unplanned, messy moments. I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate 18-month old Luke holding my face in his and kissing me one time, ten times, twenty times over. Or 13-month old Jane waking up crying in an unfamiliar bed, but ready to snuggle with me in mine. I would have missed how amazing it was for these tired moms and dads (once my sweet babies, all grown up) to wake up ready to enjoy the day when everything had gone awry the night before.
How does overplanning limit us?
There was a time when the messy moments would have been less fun because I would have planned it, but worried if my to-do list didn’t all get checked off.
It’s surprising where overplanning shows up. It can show up in our ministries. In our relationships. Even in our faith.
Perhaps after the holidays is where it’s so glaringly clear. You struggle because someone or something didn’t live up to your expectations. It can show up in our need to have everything perfect (though perfection is rarely all it’s cracked up to be). It can show up in our inflexibility when people or things don’t do what we think they should, or when your well-laid plans disintigrate.
What might happen if we set aside our planning from time to time to enjoy the moment? To build in flexibility and a heart to find the surprises and miracles in the unplanned moments of our day?
One of my miracles came as I sat in a chair with one-month old Audrey asleep in my arms. My children sat around the table, laughing, sharing old memories, telling stories. Little ones in all states of undress played throughout the living room. Blocks and toys were scattered from one end of the livingroom to the other.
It felt good.
I was wrapped in family. Cocooned in memories in the making.
What if we learned to simply do what we can, and let the rest play out as it will? Would we find treasures just waiting to be discovered. . .whether in us or all around us?
In today’s devo I shared a quote from Sarah Young’s devotional that stopped me in my tracks, reminding me that overplanning can be less about being Martha Stewartish, and more about a lack of trust in God.
Share one way that you overplan, or what God has shown you in this area for a chance to win a copy of Jesus Calling, my gift to one of you today.