This post is by Dana Sitton.
My husband and I recently got a wild hair to plan a beach trip and surprise our three young children by embarking on this secret journey the following day. Our firstborn was a baby the last time we had visited the beach, and since he was so little, he didn’t remember the experience. We were really looking forward to this trip and seeing the excitement on the faces of our little ones as they experienced the sand between their toes and the clap of the waves for the first time.
I tried to pack as many things as I could the night before to prepare. Yet the morning we were to leave, I found myself frantically swirling around the house with children underfoot. They followed me from room to room, asking a laundry list of questions and trying to guess where we were going. The anticipation was almost like a punishment to their curiosity. Soon, they became upset and anxious to leave while I was still buzzing around grabbing last-minute items and packing the car.
We finally loaded everyone in the car and set off on our adventure. It took a bit of time to unwind as we had just been racing about. The kids continued to play a guessing game regarding our destination, but the thrill of guessing was waning. As we neared the coast, we hoped for squeals of excitement at the first glimpse of the ocean, but we were met with a mediocre response. Have you ever anticipated a certain reaction or chain of events, only to be disappointed by the response?
The trip ended up being a nice family getaway where our children jumped in the waves, built sandcastles, and enjoyed the sun as it kissed their faces. However, I think if we had included them in our plans, the expectancy and joy achieved would have been much greater.
When I think back on the morning we left for our trip, I can’t help but think about the planning and preparation involved in leaving. I was flippantly moving from task to task with my children shadowing my every move. They desperately wanted to be included in the plans, but I moved forward with my personal agenda, with the idea I would share the details later in a somewhat selfish attempt to pack without the involvement of little hands and little hearts.
The pace and rhythm of our society often applauds being busy--as though there is merit within continual work in this Martha-focused world. We pursue a life of constant activity to earn a badge for being busy. So often, we attempt to plan the details of our days based on our personal wants, desires, and dreams, and we neglect to include God within those plans.
God doesn’t call us to make perfect plans and share them with Him when the plans are complete. In contrast, God deeply desires that we plan with Him.
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21
We are called to surrender the idea of preoccupied perfection and embrace the spirit of Mary.
God wants the focus of our attention so we may dream and plan together, from the small daily tasks that seem monotonous, to the larger life plans formulated with goals.
Planning with God is truly engaging in His heart and setting our to-do lists at His feet.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do and he will establish your plans” Proverbs 16:3
This act is simply placing faith-centered planning over task-centered preparation. We must faithfully call on Him to walk with us in order to help us be good stewards of the stories that He has written for our lives.
Dana Sitton is a wife to her best friend and favorite dancing partner, James, and mama to their fun-loving tribe of three children ages 7, 5, and 1. She is a former educator, who now enjoys spending her time seeing the world through the eyes of her own children, cooking, decorating, and writing. Dana has written several pieces for the platform, The Mighty, and is currently working on writing her first book. Dana enjoys fostering relationships and encouraging women to join in community with one another. She faithfully facilitates women’s ministry opportunities within her home church and seeks to support and inspire women with her writing via her blog and social media presence. Connect with Dana on through her website www.cultivatetheheart.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cultivatetheheart, or on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/cultivatetheheart.
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