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Plans involve the margins

Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and prayerful always. (Romans 12:12 TLB)

Ever notice how well you can plan things when you are really motivated by the thing you are planning? I don't get much time away from the house, especially to just relax and fish, or hike. I am a caregiver to an elderly mom during all my 'off hours' and work a full-time job. That means the things I 'plan' are for my renewal and overall well-being. It means I plan pretty much all I can so as to really make the most of these times away. Even the best laid plans don't always go as they were designed because there are just some things we cannot plan - like the weather, the fish biting, or the mosquitoes leaving you alone. You have to trust God with the things 'not in your control', while you plan well what you can exercise control over. Know this - God is always planning on our behalf. His plans are bigger than our plans and he has a way of orchestrating them to the very last note!

We all know plans don't come without some difficulties. These are hurdles we must overcome if we are to see the fulfillment of the plans. I am planning to finish a backyard flowerbed 'remake' I began with my grandson's help a few week's back. The concrete block is in, but the 'top' finish is not. I am torn between solid tile, broken mosaic tile finish, or pebble rock finish. The issue isn't that I don't have the money or time - it is that I don't want to have to fill all the holes in the block with sand, gravel, or mortar in order to accomplish a smooth surface to allow adherence of whatever I put on top of those blocks. I am trying to create as I go and when I do this, I often have to take a week or two between project phases to just think things through. It is often the 'thinking through' phases in life that bring us the greatest clarity and help us to recognize the next steps we are to take. These times cannot be discounted or discarded unused - they are important to the process.

Part of planning is this 'patience' thing - something I don't always excel at, especially when I am eager to see a project through to the finish. The longer I wait to finish this current project, the hotter the weather will be, making it less and less enjoyable to complete! There are times the 'planning' puts is smack-dab into 'timing' we didn't count on, right? The things we don't 'count on' are ALL in God's hands - so don't get all up in arms about them. The moment we turn them over to him, the more we begin to enjoy the moment, even if it comes with a little bit of a 'delay' in the fulfillment of the entire plan. Part of patience is prayerful contemplation. I put it that way because I am not a big "pray on your knees" kind of gal. In fact, I often just sit and contemplate God's plans, shoot him a question or two, and just listen. Sometimes my contemplation takes on the form of 'out loud' conversation - at others it is silent conversation (yes, inside my head, and no, I am not 'hearing voices').There comes clarity in those moments - something we can never take for granted. Prayer (or contemplation) is never to be bypassed in the interest of 'seeing the plans fulfilled'. We need these times, or we might just miss out on something beautiful he has planned for us!

As I was putting together some of that 'build it from a box' furniture for my grandson's room makeover, I was given a rather large instruction booklet. Each page had the 'plans' for how it was to be assembled. Follow those plans and you ended up with a pretty nice entertainment center. Leave out some steps and I am pretty sure you wouldn't have either a stable piece of furniture, or one that would endure the wear and tear of teenage boys! What I appreciated most about the instruction booklet was the moments that just made you pause and chuckle a little. At the top of some of the pages, after you had just completed some major step in the process, it would tell you to go make nachos! Yes, that was actually in the instruction book! I wonder how many people miss that because they are so intent on the plan to build the object in front of them that they discount the stuff written in the margins! We can go through life just focused on the plans and miss all the 'margin' stuff we might just get a kick out of along the way! Just sayin!

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