This blog was originally posted in November, 2001
I belong to a local writers group and a few months ago, we decided to divide the group into those interested in writing fiction and those interested in writing nonfiction. Because I am attempting to write a nonfiction, I was put “in charge” of that group. The goal of each meeting is to write, write, write.
The nonfiction group met this past Monday at my home and we talked, talked, talked! We discussed writing topics, we critiqued stories that members had brought and shared writing information we had learned. We didn’t write a single word. And that’s okay. Sometimes a detour from the agenda is what we need.
This makes me think of how God changes our “agenda.” I am a Type A personality and I live by my lists and my calendar. Before the holidays arrive, I’m planning and writing menus, writing out shopping lists, I make a list of serving dishes to be used and what food will be served in what dish, the Christmas card list, the Christmas gift list. You name a holiday list, and I can guarantee I either use said list now or have used it in the past.
And because I’m Type A, I go absolutely nuts when I’m pulled away from my list(s) to do something that is not on said lists. God excels in pulling me away. Because I am focused and “list-driven” there have been times when God had to use major, attention-grabbing methods to get my eyes off of the task at hand and back on Him. After several of these instances, it occurred to me that God didn’t care whether or not I had a list. He cared about whether or not I was doing His will at that moment.
One of the writers attending the meeting Monday night addressed this issue. “I don’t make to-do lists,” she said. “When I get up in the morning, I ask God what He wants me to do first. When I finish that task, I sit down. I quiet myself before God and I ask Him what He wants me to do next. I do this all through the day until it’s time to go to bed. This way I am assured of always doing what God wants me to do.”
By the time she finished talking, I was going into withdrawal. Stop using lists? No calendar? I began to hyperventilate. Okay. Easy girl. Deeeep breath. Deeeep breath. In and out. There you go. All better, now? Just because she schedules her day that way, doesn’t mean I have to do it the same way. Does it?
After the ladies left, I thought back over the conversation. If I agree with Psalm 118:24 that states “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it,” and I do agree with it, it makes sense to also acknowledge Psalm 31:15a “My times are in your hands.” Am I so ignorant to think that relying on God (rather than lists) to order my day would cause me to have an unsuccessful day? God has my (and your) best interests at heart. It is humanly impossible for me to complete what’s on my to-do list every day. “But with God all things are possible.” Does that mean he’ll help me conquer my to-do list every day? No. It means that I will accomplish that which He directs me to do.
How do you plan your day? Lists, calendars, Blackberry, iPad? Or perhaps you’re a “panster.” You “fly by the seat of your pants” moving forth with no plan. Or maybe you’re like my writer friend who always consults God on what to do before starting any task.
I have challenged myself that I will do this for the next 30 days. Every morning for the next 30 days, before I start my day, I will ask God what he wants me to do first. And I’ll do that first; when that is completed, I’ll ask him what’s next.