I am a paper planner kind of girl. I love the concept of a digital planner, one that fits in my pocket and is readily available, but it’s never really worked for me. I need paper, a fresh page for each day, and my favorite pen. I like to block out All The Things. When I feel prepared, I feel capable. This works really well for me except for when my carefully thought out efforts fall like a puzzle being swept off the coffee table.
I try to re-arrange, fit the pieces another way…but then the stomach bug hits, the kid gets new braces, there are big issues at work, and all of the carefully set goals fall away and the day becomes one of Just Getting Through.
Stress, distraction, a migraine and unexpected tears catch me by surprise. That wasn’t part of my plan. I tell myself I can slow down, rest and re-set just as soon as I get X, Y and Z done, but a voice inside of me is calling me to something else….to get quiet and be still right now, in the middle of the mess. So, I turn off the car radio, close down my phone and just stop. And, funny enough, God doesn’t need me to keep the world going, so it’s okay to just stop.
“The silence serves as a colander, helping me discern what I need to hold on to and allowing what I don’t need to fall gently away, making space to access courage and creativity, quieting to hear the voice of God.” ~Emily P. Freeman, in The Next Right Thing.
These words from Emily’s new book help me to remember that silence and stopping are needed for me as much as air and food. Planning is a good thing, but I need to be reminded to hold those plans loosely and allow time for quiet and stillness. I never regret the time spent just listening, because that is when everything starts to make sense and I know what The Next Right Thing actually is.