Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Plan It - Wing It

Apparently the theme of my blogs this month has been to encourage you to take time to focus, plan out and savor the moments of life you are experiencing right now. I'm sure that at some point or another you have thought or told someone how you feel moments of your life going by very quickly. And even though we are constantly being controlled by the aspects of life that demand our attention right now, we seldom pause to actually enjoy those moments or plan to make those moments a more positive experience for ourselves and our children.

I have come across an idea that we can put people into two different categories according to this dilemma. Most of us are either a "plan it" person, or a "wing it" person. What I have noticed about myself is that my natural tendencies are to "wing it" because I enjoy the amount of energy it takes to make these moments happen (very little energy). But I far more appreciate the outcome of planning (more energy but very positive and memorable experiences).

So, what are you? A plan it person, or a wing it person. I would like to give you some homework and hopefully challenge you in your tendencies. If you are a wing it person, like me, try sitting down for a moment and thinking about the upcoming festivities for this Christmas and New Years holidays. What would you like your children to take away from this time with you? What will it look like to achieve this? What sort of activities will be necessary? What sort of attitudes? How, when, and how often will you affirm and love your children? Will you create memories with them or for them? Will you reflect with, pray with, and encourage your family?

If you are a plan it person, have you thought through these previous questions? What will your children experience if things don't go according to plan? (what attitude or response will they see from you?) Are your plans meaningful or beneficial to them? Do you need to plan out some "unplanned" time?

This type of evaluation was a major part of the life of Jesus (Mark 1:35) and has even been widely embraced by the business world. If you would like more on this subject, check an excerpt from Charles E. Hummel's book Tyranny of the Urgent in this post's comments.

1 comment:

  1. The modern businessman recognizes this principle of taking time out for evaluation. When Greenwalt was president of DuPont, he said, “One minute spent in planning saves three or four minutes in execution.” Many salesmen have revolutionized their profits by setting aside Friday afternoon to plan carefully the major activities for the coming week. If an executive is too busy to stop and plan, he may find himself replaced by another man who takes time to plan. If the Christian is too busy to stop, take spiritual inventory, and receive his assignments from God, he becomes a slave to the tyranny of the urgent. He may work day and night to achieve much that seems significant to himself and others, but he will not finish the work God has for him to do.
    A quiet time of meditation and prayer at the start of the day refocuses our relationship with God. Recommit yourself to His will as you think of the hours that follow. In these unhurried moments list in order of priority the tasks to be done, taking into account commitments already made. A competent general always draws up his battle plan before he engages the enemy; he does not postpone basic decisions until the firing starts. But he is also prepared to change his plans if an emergency demands it. So try to implement the plans you have made before the day’s battle against the clock begins. But be open to any emergency interruption or unexpected person who may call.
    You may also find it necessary to resist the temptation to accept an engagement when the invitation first comes over the telephone. No matter how clear the calendar may look at the moment, ask for a day or two to pray for guidance before committing yourself. Surprisingly the engagement often appears less important after the pleading voice has become silent. If you can withstand the urgency of the initial moment, you will be in a better position to weigh the cost and discern whether the task is God’s will for you.
    In addition to your daily quiet time, set aside one hour a week for spiritual inventory. Write an evaluation of the past, record anything God may be teaching you, and plan objectives for the future. Also try to reserve most of one day each month for a similar inventory of longer range. Often you will fail. Ironically, the busier you get the more you need this time of inventory, but the less you seem to be able to take it. You become like the fanatic, who, when unsure of his direction, doubles his speed. And frenetic service for God can become an escape from God. But when you prayerfully take inventory and plan your days, it provides fresh perspective on your work.