Today has been one of those days where every time I read one of my devotionals or study books, there was something that hit me right between the eyes ... like a V-8 Juice smack down ... or Gibbs smacking Tony on NCIS.
It began with this sentence from my Jesus Calling devotional ... "Your fear often manifests itself in excessive planning."
I've had this devotional for almost two years. I have read today's page at least once before, maybe even twice. I don't know why today those words hit me the way they did. I do know that I've always been a planner though. I used to get my calendars as soon as they appeared in the store, then I would go through them and mark all my plans for the coming year. In ink.
The very first time something did not go as planned, I would throw away the calendar, buy a new one, and plan out the remainder of the year. In ink.
To say I was mildly obsessive compulsive about it would probably be an accurate statement. To be honest, it was probably more than just a "mild" compulsion. But I realize now it was probably due to the fact that my life never really felt like there was anything solid under my feet. Nothing I could count on.
My father was military, so we packed and moved about every two years from the time I was born until the time I was fifteen. Just when I felt like my life would have some ... solid ground ... my parents divorced. We moved again. And again. I moved. Married. Divorced. Married. Moved. Divorced. Moved.
You get the picture. I was like a rolling stone ... without the music.
All along, I was planning away my life on calendars ... as if writing out my plans [my hopes and dreams] in ink would give me a sense of security or make me feel safe. As if that ever elusive "tomorrow" was guaranteed. I should have bought stock in White-Out for a few years, but then began writing in pencil when I saw that my compulsive planning was becoming expensive buying new calendars every three months.
I grieved for friends and family who passed away. I grieved for relationships, friendships, and marriages lost. I ... matured ... and realized ... there was no tomorrow that was guaranteed.
These days, I don't plan on my calendars. I record what I did yesterday in ink, but I pencil in appointments and important dates just for the month or a few weeks ahead. I haven't yet looked at July, or even December.
But now I make lists of things I want to do, or "plan" to do. Yesterday I got disappointing news that completely disrupted long term plans I had written "excessively" the day before. I was crushed. Those old fears came crashing down on me and I felt lost ... hopeless ... helpless ... afraid.
Until this morning when I read those words and recognized the old pattern of planning my life away.
So I spent the day facing that fear. Challenging it.
I know that there will still be days when I slip. But today, I feel stronger for letting it go. I can rejoice in the gift of this day. And if I'm lucky, I will rejoice in it again ... tomorrow.