Monday, March 24, 2008


I have a fear that if I plan and schedule my life and my activities, I will become a captive to my schedule and continually be bound against my will by my own doing. The theory being that I am happiest when I am doing the thing that at that moment I am most inclined to do, and therefore that the best course of action is to avoid planning at all costs, living each moment by my greatest inclination. This theory I have found experientially, intellectually, and scripturally to be foolishness, yet I find myself clinging to it with my fingernails and teeth, while true happiness, effectiveness, and productivity drift by unachieved. The happiness and joy that come from discipline: from denying myself the whim of the moment when it is in conflict with my deliberate and considered intent, is the result of the training of my instantaneous desires. If I wish to be able to desire what it is that I know that I want to do, then I must first put my other, short-sighted desires to death. I must not fulfill any momentary whim except that which is in line with my goals. If I do this, no longer will my desires grow up in contradiction to my goals. My actions will not be a wild patch of brambles, producing bird-eaten berries here and there, but a cultivated field, producing row upon row of fruitful delight. Oh, that I would walk in this manner with regard to time management, finances, Bible study and prayer, to meeting the needs of my friends and family! How delightful it would be to excel at these things! I would be a fool to believe that I would not think the tasks worth doing; that I would not find joy in them. And yet that is my fear. I pray that it may be so. That I would not look in the mirror, and the next moment forget what it is that I saw. Only by walking in the Spirit can I put to death the deeds of the flesh. I pride myself in self-reliance, but that pride must give way to the humble realization that of myself I can do nothing: it is only through Christ: through my connection to the True Vine; only as I yield to His Spirit who lives within me, that I can do what I really want to do.


  1. Congratulations! You are now officially a Seattlite: unable to commit to events in advance.

    I find that when I plan ahead I do well. I don't necessarily say "yes" to everything (I certainly don't), but I do try to decide a head, and sometimes I find myself wishing I hadn't, but once I arrive at the destination, I end up very glad that I did say "yes".

  2. Heh. And again I say, heh.
    A certain nameless uncle of mine has been known to tell me on many occasions that anything is possible with a disciplined mind. How depressingly ironic that he should be the one to tell me this.
    I say one disciplined mind plus one submissive will to our Lord equals one fantastically fulfilling life.

  3. Hi Tim,

    This is totally unrelated to your post. I heard that you are having a So. Cal. reception possibly in July. We would love more information when you have it. I would hate to miss a Zwicker wedding, so this would be the next best thing if we could pull it off. Thanks!

  4. I'm not sure why, but this post bothered me. I think perhaps it is that we are focusing too much on one particular virtue (being prepared). Anyway, here are my thoughts.

    I believe you are correct that the bible teaches us to be wise and plan for the future. I also know the bible is pretty clear that our plans are not perfect. I think spontaneity comes in when God gives us a chance to enjoy something which we didn't (or couldn't) plan for.

    So with that in mind, I think that we be can become a slave to our schedule/plan for the future. I do not think that God ever wants that for us. In many ways I think it can become an idol to which we cling for our confidence, rather than God.

    On the other hand I do not think the solution is to forgo planing. I think that, rather, we should keep all our plans in perspective. Our plans must always be subject to God's plan. Knowing this, I think it is reasonable to plan for the unexpected. When that doesn't work, be must be willing to forgo our plans and recognize and thank God for not always giving us what we plan for.

    That I think brings us back to what brings happiness. Planning does not bring happiness, nor self-denial nor living life on a whim. The only source of true happiness is living a life according to God's will.

  5. Mike, I think you're right. There are always two ways to swing the pendulum, and both are wrong.

    I also think that my temptation lies much more often in the area of under-planning than over-planning. I suppose to someone who lives by their PDA, and schedules everything religiously, this post wouldn't make much sense. But then, I wouldn't identify very much with their struggles to lighten up, and alter their schedule on a moment's notice for the unexpected blessings and opportunities that the Lord sends our way.

    This post is an expression of my frustration with seeing opportunities missed, not because I didn't know they were there, or was too busy, but because I simply didn't plan to accommodate them.