Truth: I am a big nerd.
Let me back up. If you ask the people who know me well, they would tell you that I like a plan. A good, solid, thought-through, forward-thinking plan. I pride myself on being a very steady (albeit nerdy…) person. For example, I usually don’t commit to things unless I am positive I’ll keep it up for the long haul, I don’t really buy into fads like extreme crash diets or overly intense exercise regimens because I know they aren’t completely long term solutions, and I am loyal to those I love with my whole heart. BUT. With Steady comes it’s evil twin: Control Freak. I like a plan; I like a calendar; I like a list. Maybe (definitely) a little too much sometimes. My family enjoys teasing me by quoting the following back to me:
“To me, having a plan is like having a warm, fuzzy blanket wrapped around you.”
See? Nerdy. 😏
Most of my life, I have been a planner, an organizer, a person who keeps multiple calendars that cross reference each other. When I taught Senior English and was the Senior class sponsor, my kids would tease me about the excess of calendar in my classroom. One calendar the size of a white board on the wall keeping track of Senior events; another wall-sized white board calendar for British Literature lesson plans and due dates; a third calendar by my desk for any extra to-do’s that didn’t fall into the previous two calendars’ categories; a lesson plan calendar booklet in my desk to cross-reference what I wrote up on the huge board for the kids to see; and a fourth virtual calendar on my laptop. Oh. And the calendar on my iPhone. Forgot that one. Did my kids make fun of my anal-ness incessantly? Yes. Did they ever have an excuse to “forget” to finish a project or get their homework in on time or lose track of a meeting? NOPE. Bam. Calendars are cool, kids. Super cool.
Anyway, my love for order, for planning, and for control has been around as long as I can remember. (Did I mention I’m a first-born? Yeah.) And, as with most things that I feel I need to handle on my own, God seems to find it humorous to mess things all up. Usually (read: always…at least eventually) for my good, but still. He really thinks He’s funny like that.
If I look around my closest circle of influence, I am surrounded by go-with-the-flow, laid back, carefree folks. My husband, some of my closest girlfriends, my sister, many in my husband’s family. Don’t get me wrong. They have plans and are organized…just not bordering on OCD levels like someone we all know. Ahem. Ahem.
I don’t think it is an accident that God placed these people in my life. Not at all. My husband balances me perfectly. When I get all twitchy and angsty and demand Excel spreadsheets detailing every, well, detail of the next five, ten, 250 years of our lives, he calms my nerves. He reminds me that we need to slow down, to breathe, to enjoy what we have right now in this moment, instead of planning away every free minute of our existence and then wondering where all the fun went. When I get bent out of shape because I’ve over-thought some aspect of my plans, my sister is quick to just shrug and blow it off. I admire how easily she can allow frustrating things to roll off of her back if they aren’t really that important in the first place, and this skill is developing more and more the longer she is out in the world living her grown-up life. When I become overwhelmed with the many and ever-changing tough stages of motherhood, my girlfriends nod their heads, hand me coffee, and soothe my soul with stories of how they had to learn to let it go. Everything has it’s season, turn, turn, turn, and all of that, they say. These women have no idea how they act as a balm to my weary Mom-spirit, and I don’t know what I’d do without them.
When I get all anal and calendar-y and overly angsty, my people balance me out. When I lose sight of the forest because of one tree that is frustrating me to no end, my people nudge me in the back until I learn to bypass that annoying tree all together and go have some fun in the forest with them. No matter how detailed my plans, how color-coordinated my lists, how scheduled my days may be, my people remind me Who makes my plans, Who structures my existence, Who orchestrates my days.
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 27:17
My people, my wonderfully laid-back, perfectly easy going, and lovably less-anal-than-Erin people. These people are the ones who continually challenge me to be the best version of myself, work on the areas that are lacking, and, as a result, point me back toward dependence on my Lord, a hard place to be when you’re a natural planner. But…He’s the best Planner of all.
And, you know, I bet my people don’t even know they’re doing it.
What about you? In which category do you fall? Angsty yet lovable over-planner? Laid-back lover of all things unpredictable and fun? Somewhere in-between? Can we still be friends now that you know of my calendar addiction…? Pretty please? 😬😂