The 5 Year Plan

— Dana

Control Freak.

That’s what I am.

I partly blame the teachers in school…for my control freak tendencies.

They were the ones that forced me think about my “5 Year Plan” every year…every single year…from elementary school through college. I understand that we need goals, and the “5 Year Plan” can help us see that we have goals…and perhaps achieve them. I on the other hand used the “5 Year Plan” to define actual, concrete events that will take place in my life…and plan them out to the exact day that they are going to happen.

The problem with this thinking is that my life is not predictable and things change…often.

Everything except my “5 Year Plan”…

I had this plan that I would be married for exactly 5 years to my loving husband Aaron, and then I would have my IUD removed. Get pregnant. Have a child by the end of March of 2008. It would be a boy…we would have 4 children total…and it would go: boy girl, girl, boy. Then, I would go to school to get my Graphic Design Teaching degree (BA in Graphic Communications and then a Masters in Teaching), but only after all 4 kids were in school full time. That was my “5 Year Plan”…well, actually, it was really my “Life-time Family Plan”.

Don’t worry…it gets better. Or worse. I can’t decide. I’ve been in such an anti-Holiday mood ever since July…and I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling this way. And then it dawned on me. There was this little unspoken part of my “5 Year Plan” that was causing this anti-Holiday feeling…

This year, I imagined dressing myself up in an oven costume for Halloween…and when people opened up the front, there would be a “bun in the oven”…to signify that I was pregnant. That picture was going to go with our Christmas letter this year. I just realized today, not only was I wrong about being 6 months pregnant during Christmas, like I thought I would be because of the “5 Year Plan”, but I also don’t get to have my funny Christmas picture that I envisioned.

Can you see why I think I am a control freak?

Maybe I can just get over myself right now and quit being such a Scrooge this year. I haven’t decorated for one holiday since July…because I’ve been in this funk (except for the Christmas lights that are on the outside of my house…but that doesn’t count…we left them up all year…I know…tacky).

So, as I was processing the fact that I need to let go of my expectations and my “5 Year Plan”, the Lord brought a verse to my mind…

James 4:13-17 (The Message)
“And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, ‘Today–at the latest, tomorrow–we’re off to such and such a city for the year. We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.’ You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, ‘If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.’ As it is, you are full of your grandiose selves. All such vaunting self-importance is evil. In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don’t do it, that, for you, is evil.”

The Holy Spirit really knows how to cut right through all the crap and go straight to the heart of the matter. I have made my “5 Year Plan” into some sort of idol that I am worshiping and checking up on daily. It shouldn’t be what defines me. The Lord should define me.

I have lost sight of what’s really important in life and have desperately tried to live up to this phantom life that I had created in High School.

Screw the “5 Year Plan”. It is putting me in bondage.

I think I am over the fact that I am not pregnant. I am pretty sure I was feeling that way because I was failing at living up to the “5 Year Plan”. No more living the phantom life. It’s time to break free from the chains and live a life that is full of the freedom that Christ brings.

I am going to start living the Christ Life and not the “5 Year Plan” life.