A Guest Blog by Gleniece Lytle
I am a list-making woman.
A woman who simply loves to schedule things.
A woman who needs to know ahead of time what she is doing on any given day—and with confidence jots down the best way to go about it.
I love the usefulness of planning ahead and the control I feel when I fill the monthly squares and weekly rectangular slots in my pretty floral planner.
But despite my best efforts at organization, there always seems to be a snag in the plans I make.
Either the rain washes away the roads the day before I need to drive them, or at the last minute, my husband can’t take off time from work.
Snags take the form of financial strain, vehicle breakdowns, or sickness we didn’t expect.
I’m a list-making woman and yet my lists are as uncertain as papers flung in the air—where they land and in what order is anyone’s bet.
Isn’t that the way life goes?
Is there ever a plan we conceive that isn’t subject to some sort of holdup or disruption that’s out of our hands?
The unpredictability of life touches everyone.
There is nothing you can do about a rainstorm, or your whole family catching the same cold right before Thanksgiving.
There is nothing you can about do about the effect that the four or five dominoes behind you can cause—changing your daily plans, your monthly goals, or even your long-term hopes and dreams.Even the most well-meaning plans can become an idol when we are unwilling to surrender them to God.
List-Making Women Crave Order
Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain,
overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. Proverbs 6:6-8 (NKJV)
With this much uncertainty in life, why do we list-making women even bother?
Like the ant in Proverbs 6, many of us are wired to create efficiency and order.
Arranging things a certain way on a certain day with our multiple lists and virtual clipboards gives us pleasure and a sense of control and blesses those around us.
Who better to file that pile of receipts your husband gives you all at once?
Who better to bring harmony to your child’s cluttered room?
Who better to take a disarrayed life and smooth it to near perfection?
We are the coordinators extraordinaire, conceiving the menus and arranging the schedules of the people we love.
I believe that God made us orderly, list-making women for a reason.God created some of us as orderly, schedule-loving women for a reason. But we must get past the desire to control.
Getting Past the Desire for Control
There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12 (NKJV)
For list-loving women, nothing quite surpasses the neat and tidy rhythm of a well-thought-out plan and the execution of it by our own hands.
Ordering my day and knowing “I’ve Got This” (whatever THIS may be) gladdens my heart.
My love of order came from God—but the desire to control my life did not.
The many arguments I’ve had with my husband over the years attest to this.
You see, I always had it all worked out.
I had the answer to any problem that popped up using my meticulous, multi-faceted, feminine superpowers of orderliness.
“So why are we doing it your way, dear husband? This doesn’t fit my methodical ways. Can’t you see the logic of my fabulous plan, dear man?”
Yep, that was me. (Except not quite as polite.)
I defended my way of thinking and I didn’t accept there was a better way.
Or more precisely, I didn’t accept the order that God had already established.
Tidy, organized, orderly me, refusing to acknowledge the righteous order that comes straight from God.
The darker side of loving control comes out when we try to manipulate people and circumstances to fit our ideals, and when our love of order supersedes our love of God’s guiding hand in our lives.
Our unchecked desire for order and control is as harmful as when Eve saw what seemed right to her and picked it.
When we choose our own wisdom over God’s, nothing good will ever come of it.My love of order came from God, but the desire to control my life did not.
When Plans Become Idols
Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”
But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. James 4:15-16 (NKJV)
When we fill our calendars with our best ideas and clench them tightly with iron fists, we are often insisting on “My Way” rather than offering them with the open hands of “Thy Will Be Done.”
We must write out our daily, weekly, and monthly to-dos as guidelines that sail down the river of expectation, releasing every flower petal idea of what we think is right for ourselves and our families, to God.
Otherwise, our plans become muddy idols stuck in that river that block the goodness God has preset for our course.
An idol is:
- anything we run to first
- anything we make more important than God
- anything not fully surrendered to God
- anything we put our hope in other than God
As a list-loving woman, I’ve been guilty of turning my plans into idols.
Wanting desperately for things to go according to my wisdom, my limited understanding of what is right. Not willing to let go of my plans for His.
And all that did was make a mess of my life and cause the mud to pool in tears of frustration at my feet.When we fill our calendars with our best ideas and clench them tightly with iron fists, we are often insisting on My Way rather than offering them with the open hands of Thy Will Be Done.
Releasing Our Plans to God
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in him,
And He shall bring it to pass. Psalms 37:5 (NKJV)
Whether you use a bulletin board on the fridge, a pocket-sized appointment book, or an online notebook app (or dare I say, all three!), we planner women are compelled to write it down and stick to the plan.
But we can’t see what’s coming from behind or what looms ahead. Only God can.
That’s why faith and trust in God are the first things we need to write down.
I’m a list-loving woman
But rather than using a pen to declare my intentions, I fill in the lines of my pretty floral planner with a pencil, ready to erase at the first sign of God’s intervention or my husband’s request.
I write out my plans standing under the umbrella of God’s counsel for my life, knowing that everything is under His control.When you let go of your plans to the Maker of all, you can be confident writing down your yearly goals, your monthly schedules, and your daily to-do list, knowing without a doubt that God’s Got This.
When you let go of your plans to the Maker of all, you can be confident writing down your yearly goals, your monthly schedules, and your daily to-do list, knowing without a doubt that God’s Got This.
– Gleniece Lytle
Gleniece Lytle is a wife of 35 years and a mother of five. She lives in Arizona overlooking a lonesome desert valley. She’s been known to scribble in a task she forgot to add just for the sheer pleasure of crossing it off. Gleniece writes on her blog, Desert Rain, about godly marriage, contentment, loneliness, and biblical truth. Connect with Gleniece on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.