We started easing back into our rhythms and routines this week, as well as creating fresh ones, and I’ve been so encouraged by the work of the Holy Spirit in my heart through this process.
You see, I love a plan. I love structure. And I fully believe we do well to have plans in place as a starting point. However, God is teaching me how to move through my plans with fluidity and a sensitivity to His leading in each and every moment of my day. I can tell He’s growing my heart in these areas, and I wanted to share a few things He’s been teaching me lately.
Proverbs 12:20 tells us that “Those who plan peace have joy.” I’ve always found such guidance in this truth – it is GOOD for us to make plans for peace…to think through moments in our days that may be repeatedly chaotic and to try to make plans for peace. Although peace should not be our idol, we do well to walk through our days with purpose and intentionality. Joy is there, too!
Proverbs 19:21 also speaks of plans – “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
I think it’s important to understand these two verses together, and not being contradictory, but complementary to one another.
It’s good to have plans and make plans moving forward, especially ones we pray through and desire to have to promote peace and joy in our homes. This is not a bad thing, and it’s something to be encouraged!
AND…it’s important to do so with an understanding that sometimes (often?) those plans won’t unfold exactly as we envisioned them…and maybe that’s not the point.
Perhaps the point is the process of sanctification and character development that happens in us when we take the time to prayerfully ask for God’s guidance in our plans, and then the act of trusting HIM in the process as the details unfold and we follow His leading throughout the actual living out of our days.
Let me share a few areas where God is helping me specifically in this.
For about 6 months, I’ve noticed the need in our home for a chore/job routine in our family. We’ve needed a system, but I’ve repeatedly tried to simply claim that we could function well on it being more organic – me simply telling my children in the moment what to do based on what needed done.
But, after months of trying it this way…the result has largely remained the same – and it’s not a peaceful one. There tends to be chaos more times than not, and I’m exhausted at the decision fatigue of telling my kids what to do, as well as towards their steady resistance to what I’m asking.
When I began to consider why we didn’t have a system in place yet, the answer wasn’t hard to find. I was allowing the idol of perfection to cause me to hesitate. I’d looked at a few chore charts before, but didn’t think I had quite perfected what it should look like for our family, so I can’t concluding that “it just isn’t ready yet.”
Again, as if the goal is a perfect chore chart? Goodness, God convicted me of that.
I felt God whisper to me, through the midst of a chaotic Monday morning this week, that we simply needed to begin. I had a system someone had given me…I could make a few minor adjustments (like change the names of the kids at the top of the chart, haha), and simply begin. I remember doing this with our school schedule when we first began homeschooling, and how much freedom the Lord gave me once I JUST STARTED.
It doesn’t have to be perfect for us to begin, friends. Let’s sketch a plan, and simply start, knowing that there is not rule that says we can’t change our plans as we go, and edit and tweak here or there.
Isn’t that what life is? Isn’t that what homeschooling is? Aren’t these children entrusted to us steadily experiencing growing pains? What works in one season may not work for another. But we take a step forward with the plans in our hands, holding them loosely, and cultivating a greater dependence on the Lord to show us how to adjust and adapt things as we walk through it day by day and moment by moment.
Our chore routine is not perfected yet. We are only a few days into it. But having that plan in place has already brought more peace to our home, and I feel like God is blessing the efforts to move forward despite the lack of perfection. Let’s be faithful to do that in our chore charts, school schedules, family plans, goal-setting, resolutions…all of it.
Have a plan. It’s good and fruitful. Don’t let fear of lack of perfection stop you from implementing your plan. And trust that ultimately, we are being guided by the purposes of the Lord, and he will lead us in the direction we should walk.
So, then, when our plans don’t unfold as we anticipated, we can continue walking with our good God and trusting that he’s simply redirecting us, and that’s the best place for us to be.
Oh, and if you’d like to see the copy of our chart, you can grab it here and make your own copy to edit. I simply laminated each of these and put them on a clipboard so they can use dry erase marker. My friend who I got the chart from creatively make clipart pictures of the tasks and velcro’ed the backing so the kids can show their completion that way. I planned to do that but never took the time and knew we just needed to begin already, so I simplified it to this for now. Hope it helps if you are brainstorming your own ideas!