Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Bad Case of the "Plan-To's"

My name is Missy, and I have a bad case of the Plan-To’s. I guess I’ve had it all my life. You know how it goes… I plan to study for the algebra test at least a week beforehand. I plan to have that paper written well before the deadline. I plan to go visit my high school friend who had the terrible car wreck—6 months ago. I plan to volunteer at the homeless shelter if I can get someone to do it with me.

And more recently… I plan to send a sympathy card. I plan to go visit that home-bound member as soon as I get a free moment. I plan to go to the funeral home right after I fix dinner…right after I clean the kitchen…right after I change clothes into something more appropriate…

You know, when I look at all the things I plan to do, and then see how many I don’t do, I feel like a failure. And it gets worse when I look around me at all the unfinished projects and messes and piles. It’s hard on the self-esteem. And it can be overwhelming. (Those of you who have the same “disease” know how overwhelming a mountainous pile of dirty laundry can be!)

Life is crazy: We get busy. We mess up. We fail people we love. We forget appointments. We wreck cars. We hurt feelings. We get hurt feelings. We get angry. We get depressed. We get stressed out. We lose sight of what’s important.

But through it all, God remains constant. God is always faithful. God is always there for us.

One of my unfinished projects is a cross-stitch of one of my favorite Bible verses. I’m sure it’s stored away in a box somewhere in the basement along with the single sleeve of a sweater I planned to knit for my husband. It’s from Romans 8:38-39 and says:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God. NOTHING. No failure, no broken relationship, no death, no betrayal, no disappointment, no grief, no disease. Not even a bad case of the Plan-To’s.

What about you? Do you ever feel separated from God even in light of this Bible passage?



  1. Yes. I think I feel most separated from God when I get all caught up in what people do and say. Their expectations of me versus the real me. God sees the real me. I want to be and feel like the person He knows instead of the person people think they know.

    Here's a prayer/blessing for all of us:
    God, see me. Help me to see me the way you see me.
    Sometimes, just help me even when everything around me feels like I'm useless, invisible and lost. Finally, please show me You.

  2. Missy,
    I'm the queen of plan-to's. It drives me crazy. I think I've been working on it a long time....I'm not sure I've gotten much better. But I think I'm trying. (Uh, maybe not. I have a card in my purse for my sister-in-law who had surgery 3 weeks ago. It's a get well card. Hmmmm...I think she's doing really well now. Maybe I should buy another card---glad you're well...hey that's a thought!)
    Anyway I know what you mean.
    And the verse you have started on the cross stitch--i was reading that the other day. I so need reminding now and then that no matter what I do---he is still loving toward us.
    Man, that's hard to grasp. But it's true.
    Thanks for the post. And dig out that cross stitch---I did after about 15 years and I did okay..even framed the stuff.

  3. I'm the "Queen of Plans". I wanted to graduate college early to save money and get married. I had Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, and Plan D just in case the first few plans failed. I did it, but not without an ulcer and a few other "things" that could have been avoided.

    I don't know why I do this to myself. We women think we are superheroes. I have felt abandoned by God many times when I had done all I thought I could, and things still didn't happen the way I wanted to and I wanted to blame God for not "fixing" it for me or taking away the problem to "deliver" me out of it instantly.

    When I saw the movie "Love Comes Softly", made from Jannette Oke's novel, I realized something. Marty was asking Clark how he could love a God that would allow bad things happen to good people.

    I'm going to paraphrase his answer, because I can't remember the exact words, but he said something similar to: God doesn't make bad things happen. He's like a father to us. I watch my little girl fall down and hurt. I feel her pain and I help her get up, dust her off, and love her through it so that she's never alone. That's how God is. He goes through every pain, every heartache, every situation with us and He never leaves us.

    I sobbed. Because when my little baby girl of a few days old laid in the neonatal intensive care unit, struggling for life, I thought God had abandoned me. Her life was out of my control. God hadn't abandoned me. He gave me the strength to keep eating, to keep getting up, to keep praying, to keep hoping--even when I was so afraid I thought I'd die if she didn't make it. Children can make us love that much. And I realized that is what we are to God, His children.

    We cannot control everything that happens to our children. That is why God gave us free will, to love Him freely and unconditionally, in return that is what He does for us, no matter what we've done.

  4. I think we have a lot of Queens in our group :-) I like to think I'm spontaneous, but I'm a planner at heart. Hmm, so why doesn't that translate into being a plotter? That's fodder for another day.

    I don't know how would make it through a day without knowing that God is always there for me, waiting for me. It took some deep valleys to teach me to turn to Him, though. But He's always there for me. Whether I'm happy, sad, angry, depressed, or feeling abandoned. I can talk to Him and tell Him exactly how I feel. He already knows anyway. God is always there for us. All we have to do is meet Him and say, "Here I am, Lord." Fall into His embrace and allow Him to carry you when you can't go on.

    "What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privelege to carry everything to God in prayer. O what peace we often forfeit, o what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer."

  5. I can relate, Missy. I have a stack of new-baby and sympathy cards on my desk right now that I've been planning to send. (Maybe today, huh?)

    Your post reminds me of the corporate confession we make in church every Sunday morning: "...we have sinned against You ... by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. Praise God that we are forgiven even for our botched good intentions!

  6. Thanks, ladies, for the great comments and the prayer. Also the hymn lyrics, Mindy.

    And Myra, I've always been struck by that confession, too. Because I'm much more likely to be guilty of what I've left undone. Thank goodness he forgives us!

  7. Great post Missy. While I hold a crown for Planning, I also share that crown with Should've Done this, that, whatever...

    I've got sympathy cards I bought 3 months ago. It's a little late now to send them out and I feel really bad that I didn't follow through. I hate that guilt that I feel when I planned to do something and then got side tracked.

    I don't think I've ever felt that God abandoned me. There have just been many times I've asked WHY? And, I've clung to him so tight during those times, I didn't want to let go. And I didn't. I've literally asked God to take the Wheel for me and He did. It's amazing how I still felt like He was with me, even when I acted in ways I know didn't please Him.

    But I am far from perfect and lately I've realized there is so much more I need to be doing for others. I wonder how many opportunities I've missed, but I still see prayers answered and blessings happening all around me.

  8. Great post, Missy! I guess I can join all the "Queens" here because I also have great intentions but seem to "fall behind" on accomplishing certain fact, I often go around with that nagging feeling of "there was something I was supposed to do today, but I can't remember what it was!" I do much better when I write things down and have them taped on my coffee pot-LOL! ~ I had to laugh when I read the part about the single sweater sleeve--I can relate!! Thanks for reminding us that no matter what, God is ALWAYS here for us and with us. Hugs, Patti Jo :)

  9. Patti Jo, I ended up giving that sleeve to my husband for Christmas the year I had planned to give him the sweater. I wrapped it up with a card that had 101 Things To Do With a Sleeve. It took forever to think up all those things!!! LOL

    Hey, I love the idea of taping notes to the coffee pot! Never thought of that. :)