I’m sitting here on the porch underneath a blanket in the middle of June. And no, I don’t live in a part of the world where it is supposed to be this cold in the summer. Somehow the weather forgot to check the calendar and line itself up according to plan. Hmm, sounds a lot like my life during the summer months, too.
My summer plan for our family and our actual experience never seems to line up.
Is that because my plan is unrealistic?
Is it because we prefer spontaneity over predictability?
Or is it because I’m not actually in control of any plan in the first place?
All of the above.
My plan would be fine if we were all emotionless robots immune to every illness and inclined to follow every set of instructions. Alas, we are in-the-flesh sinners in need of a Savior. So, of course a plan is going to falter, right?
With our family mission to make the most of every moment (Ephesians 5:16), we’re definitely inclined to spontaneity, too. When the sun is shining and the weather is oh-so-inviting, we’re going to ditch the schedule and head to the beach. That’s where our family likes to make memories. It’s not like anyone is going to pipe up and say, “Wait a minute. We’re supposed to be scrubbing toilets and practicing grammar today!” I don’t think so.
Our plans don’t become reality unless it is God’s plan in the first place.
Proverbs 16:9 NLT
We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.
Because of God’s grace, we get to make schedules, set goals, and plot out a vision, but ultimately, each day belongs to the Lord. He determines how we’ll walk through it. Sometimes, we get to delight in the blessing of seeing the schedule work out in the fullness of what we intended. Other days, well. We just have to throw up our hands and declare, “Lord, your will. Not mine. Apparently my plan isn’t happening. Show me your work clearly, that I may join you in what you’re already doing!”
So is it worth making the plan in the first place if God’s plans prevail?
Yes. But not because of the result.
Planning is really about the process.
A process of casting vision.
A process of surrender.
A process of worship.
The Lord tells us that without a vision, a people perish (Proverbs 29:18). Our plans cast a vision for our families — whether that vision is how we hope to spend the next 6 hours during a rainy day or 6 weeks of summer vacation.
And in the process of casting a vision for our time, we also create a pattern for which our children can follow as they mature into adulthood. With each passing year, they will need to think further ahead and plot their course — as they choose classes and college destinations, friendships and a life-long spouse, career and even raising children. They need to learn how to move beyond the moment, but into a loosely held, surrendered-to-God plan for their lives.
Creating a summer schedule, marked by fun and responsibility is a gift we can give our kids, even if it doesn’t turn out like we planned. As they watch us move through the Lord’s will, hopefully with grace and flexibility, they’ll begin to really see what living life as a spiritual act of worship looks like (Romans 12:1-2). Praising God when things don’t go our way is something we can all stand to do better, right?
Yes, our summer schedules may fall through, but God may very well use the process as a wonderfully sanctifying experience for our whole family with long term benefits on faith and perspective.
So will you cast a vision for your children in the form of a summer schedule, knowing full well that the way God plans to use it may not at all be how you planned to move through it?