And my husband, my counter-balance, has been helping me to “take a break” and be a little more spontaneous……pretty much since the day we met! In college, Solomon found that sometimes, the only way he could spend time with me, was to “study” with me. Only about 30 seconds into a book, he’d say, “You need to take a break.” You could say, we definitely balance each other!
On the first day of our honeymoon, I was ready to efficiently find out what there was to do in Lake Tahoe and make a plan for the rest of the week, so we wouldn’t miss out on anything. That would be the logical thing to do, right? But when I let him know my plan, he simply said, “Nah, I don’t think so.” Trying to be a respectful, newly married wife, I just said, “Okayyyyyyy.” And can you believe where that got us?! Mountain biking around Lake Tahoe, a spontaneous trek to San Francisco, riding a tandem bike over the Golden Gate Bridge, running into Ikea, eating at amazing restaurants, and making adventurous memories together! Six years later, I’m still learning to be more spontaneous!
Obviously, planning has its place. And actually Solomon is now using his passion for helping people and his brilliant mind to help people through comprehensive economic advising with Peachtree Planning of Tennessee. He works harder than anyone I know! But his flare for spontaneity and fun is growing on me.
I’m enjoying the freedom I have as a SAHM, to fly by the schedule set by my son’s naps, meals, and my own interests and commitments. Yet, it’s always flexible, depending upon priorities. And the greatest priority that I can think of is people. I’m learning that letting my personal agenda be replaced with the Lord’s agenda always involves people. You can count on my planner being filled with chores, reminders, and goals for each day. Tracking my mental “to do” list here, helps me to accomplish what I set out to do. I love the feeling off checking tasks from my “to do” list. But the most important goal for everyday, is to be available for people. Even if it wasn’t planned. Even if it interferes with the original plan. People are the priority!
My summer morning routine involved,
Walk, with Little Man in the stroller and the puppy on a leash
Fill the watering can, and let the puppy take a drink while I brush his coat
Water the plants
Playpen time for Little Man
Well, you get the point. What can I say, I like schedules! There was a particular week this summer that our routine was beautifully interrupted. Each morning, two boys, their dad, and their dog, named Katie, crossed our path. Drawn to our puppy, and accepted by Little Man, the boys adopted my boys into their hearts. As we grew more acquainted, I learned that their mother would soon give birth to a baby girl, a little sister. Each day that week, we’d cross paths. I’d ask how their mom was doing, knowing she must be ready for the baby to come. And I was delighted to hear the surprise in “big brother’s” voice, when I told him that I was praying for his mom, “You Are?!?!”
It’s so much easier to be available for people when I set my own schedule, and there aren’t added pressures. The real challenge begins when there are expectations set by others, pressing deadlines, or enforced schedules. Is it possible to be available for people when your free time is limited? I believe that no matter how much time is shared between people, that the priority can be felt and sensed.
I was reminded of the importance of people and relationships upon hearing about a friend’s experience in a third world country. She had an extended stay in a remote place, ate grubs, and had all kinds of crazy adventures. But one of the most surprising experiences that she shared with me, was the way they honor people. For example, if someone had a commitment, such as speaking at church, but a friend came by their home, they would stay with that friend and visit for hours, even if it meant skipping the commitment! While I’d never want to skip out on an important commitment, I was encouraged to be more flexible with my own plans, to spend more time giving a friend my full attention!
I think it’s great to have plans and routines. But what if each day, my planner included:
Be aware of the people around you.
Strike up a conversation and really listen.
Be physically available to help.
Be mentally available to pray.
Checking the chores off of my lists is rewarding.
But being available for people, just might be life-changing.
joy: Each time a friend makes me a priority and really listens.