I am a planner (aren't we all in some capacity?). I like to know where I'm going, how I'm going to get there, and when I'm leaving. Not making plans is terrifying. My younger sister is on Spring Break this week, and instead of going to the beach with friends she came to visit me in LA. So I started to plan: nice dinners, pedicures, pool sessions, biking on the beach, and so on. All of that seemed great, but also too stereotypical. I wanted to coordinate something special, something that she would remember for years to come. My sister, Delaney, is a brilliant song writer, so I also planned to have her meet with this up and coming producer to record a demo. I went back and forth with the producer for a couple weeks, we worked out potential instrumentation, which studio we wanted to record at, which song would be best to start with, and many more details. When Delaney finally arrived, most of my plans fell into place. However, when Monday rolled around, not even an hour before we were supposed to meet at the recording studio, the producer postponed our session. She'd had a family emergency and needed to push everything to Friday. Needless to say, I was annoyed. Then I was worried: what were we going to do with our day? Was Delaney going to be bored? Would she feel like I failed on planning her spring break?
Quickly, I pulled myself together and decided to just show her two of my favorite things: food and LA. We went to this adorable cafe where we got brunch and then went to Griffith Park where we hiked to the top part of the trail that overlooks LA with picturesque views of the downtown skyline, the Hollywood sign, and the ocean in the distance. Hiking up we chatted and laughed and before we knew it, we were at the top. After taking in the scenery for a few minutes, we started the trek down. Unfortunately it was down an entirely different trail than we started on. So we went back up the trail and decided to take the left fork in the road instead of the right. We ended up on yet another wrong trail. For an hour and a half we wandered trying different roads, staircases and trails. Eventually, we used Google maps and tracked our way back to where we started. It was slightly terrifying, but also funny, awkward and amazing. Out of my failed plans for an epic memory-making experience, came an even better story.
James 4 talks about not making plans because they are vapor in the wind. That seems scary in a culture when we're supposed to be constantly working toward something: the American dream, the bigger paycheck, marriage, children, the next investment, the newest venture. Planning is a way of life for our society. However, when you constantly make plans, you're sticking yourself in a box and limiting your potential. Sometimes the days that you don't make plans are the days that Jesus works the most, because He has room to do so.
So for me, I'm learning to leave room for God to work. Plans are necessary, but they are not the end all, be all. Because of this I'm coming to understand that having less plans can lead to an excitement and freedom that I've previously not experienced. The less precisely you plan the easier it is to improvise, to go with the flow, and to be open to the opportunities that come your way. So this week when you least expect it, I hope you get lost in the mountains or end up discussing life over coffee with the ones you love.
Until next time,