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Sometimes You Just Need a Plan

One of the great blessings of marriage is that you and your spouse either compliment each other or at least make up for each other’s weaknesses in so many areas of life.  It’s the areas where you’re way too similar, however, that can really hold you back if you don’t do something about it.

Celia and I aren’t the most proactive planners. Our natural tendency, most often, is to keep the schedule free and decide what to do in the moment.  Some of this has its benefits--we can stay flexible when unexpected things come up, we don’t feel obligated to do something if our mood or energy levels aren’t where we expected them to be, and we can often join in some fun on our own or with others on much shorter notice.  

The Need for a Plan

But what about the deficiencies, the weakness of this behavior that we both share? If we don’t do any purposeful planning of our lives, how can we expect do get anything meaningful done? Even more, how can we expect to get things done consistently, intentionally, and fruitfully?

The beginnings of our Minimalist lifestyle and philosophy began for me when I first started making a plan with my finances, and with my family’s finances.  The plan wasn’t spelled out to the last dime and detail--it still isn’t. But without a basic, but purposeful plan, we would still be aimlessly or, at best, inconsistently, making progress in paying back our loans, or saving for retirement, and or living within our means.

For most of my days as a high school teacher, I’ve noticed that the better planning I have done, the more enjoyable and fruitful that day of school is. Even when it comes to fun and fruitful leisure time, my wife and I need to have at least some plan for the weekend and especially for longer breaks.

What plans have I been neglecting?

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed that my prayer life has become inconsistent and minimalistic (the negative sense of the word, or course!).  Ever since I made the difficult decision to step away from seminary life and priestly formation, I occasionally experience a stretch of inconstancy in my prayer life.  My academic, human, pastoral, and especially spiritual formation was so structured for four years that coming back into the “real world” has caused occasional growing pains.  I keep hearing God urging me to make a plan. Plan out some content for your prayer, plan the setting, plan the time. Don’t just plan it in your head, but write it down or type it out.

What “plans” have you been neglecting? Take 5-10 minutes to prepare and commit...but stay flexible, too.