I am a planner. I love to plan. I love to make lists; I love to check things off of lists.
Nick and I got engaged in August of 2016 and married in March of 2017. Six months to plan a wedding was plenty of time, especially since I wasn’t working and I was living at home with my parents in Austin. I had a lot of time, and a lot of help.
About a month into the engagement and wedding planning, we had a date, we had a venue, and I had a list. The only problem was that I couldn’t stop thinking about my list. I couldn’t sleep. As soon as I laid down at night, after a full day of wedding planning and decision making, my mind would fill up with all of the things I still needed to do. I felt anxious and frantic. I clicked my phone on and off as I added more items to an ever-lengthening note in my phone.
Finally, one night, I thought enough is enough. I told myself, I cannot plan this whole wedding tonight. I have done what I can do today, and tomorrow will come soon enough.
That night my posture toward planning the wedding changed immensely. I found I was able to tackle a short list of things each day and as I did so, slowly but surely, the wedding was planned. Not only that, though, I discovered I had more space to really enjoy each day and the time I had with my family and friends before I got married and moved across the country.
I didn’t really expect to be formed and changed by the process of planning a wedding, but I was. As I reflect on this, I find myself thinking about how other aspects of life—big and small—are forming me everyday.
I’m trying to lean into this formation more intentionally, and notice where God is present and moving. So, in the mornings lately, I’ve been praying a prayer that goes something like this:
God, thank you for this day, please give me enough grace to live it well.
This prayer helps remind me that God is present and providing for all of the moments leading up to each morning, and God will be present in the day to come, and all the days after, too.
God gives the grace; I simply receive it.
Like with wedding planning, there is still only so much I can do in a single day (no matter how many things I put on my list), but if I am truly present to those things and paying attention to where God is guiding me, it is enough.
I am still practicing living each day fully and leaving tomorrow for tomorrow. This practice is instilling in me a greater sense of flexibility and urging me away from always striving to be productive and check off all the things.
As I’ve prayed some version of this prayer each day, I’ve seen growth within myself and I’ve found that I rely on God a lot more. I’ve noticed that my days feel fuller of meaningful things. Which is interesting because there’s really nothing different in the days; I still write, I still do dishes and laundry, I still meet with friends, I still hang out with Nick, I still spend time in silence and nature, I still watch T.V. and read…but it feels like enough. It feels less like striving and more like savoring. Life feels less frantic and more intentional.
I’m not perfect at it, though. This prayer practice and posture is challenged when big projects and trips make their way onto my schedule. But when I find my mind spinning over details and returning again and again to my lists, I take a couple moments for silence and say my prayer again. It helps. I’m finding that God is faithful to reorient me.
I probably won’t ever stop making lists or planning, I don’t really see a need to since it is part of the way God made me, but it is interesting how shifting these habits just a smidge each morning through prayer is making a significant difference in the way I move through life with God.
I think this is the way of discipleship. We turn toward God a little bit each day and notice the ways we become more like Jesus and more fully ourselves in the process.
What do you think?