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Extreme Planning

So, a couple weeks ago something sad happened to me. I bought a planner... during the summer. The sadder thing? I actually use it.

I thought summer was a time to be free and not plan and just fly "by the seat of my pants" as I usually do. If you knew me in high school you would remember the planner that I kept that planned out my day down to the very hour from 6 or 7 am to at least 6 or 7 pm.

If you knew me in college you'd say, "Sarah? What planner?" Or as my friend once put it kindly, "Sarah, sometimes getting you to plan stuff is harder than pulling teeth."

What very few people know is that despite my lack of immediate planning (especially this past year), I am great at extreme planning. Sure, I don't know what I'm doing tomorrow, or even in an hour or two. But if you ask me what I'm going to do when I'm exactly 25, I'd have an answer for you. Because I did have my life planned out for the next 10 years. Yup, 10 years.

As of the beginning of this summer I had my life planned out from exactly 18 to 28. Not details of course, but the general idea of the big things I wanted to happen.

18-22 I would be at UCCS finishing my undergraduate degree in nursing. 23 and 24 I would be working as a nurse, preferably spending at least one of those years overseas with an organization like Doctors Without Borders. 25 and 26 I would go back to graduate school to earn my Master's degree so I could become a family nurse practitioner. 27 and 28 I would work as a nurse practitioner, kind of get in a little bit of my career in before having kids. And somewhere during that time I'd meet the man of my dreams and get married at 28 or 29.

Yep, so that was the plan.

Which I told my Dad at the beginning of this past summer. And he just started laughing, a reaction that may be a little similar to my Heavenly Father's reaction. He asked me "Sarah, do you really think your life is going to go exactly like that? Exactly how you've planned it?" And well, no, I realize that my 10 year plan is probably not realistic. I have everything planned out, but who knows what God has planned for me in the next 10 years? Who will I meet? Where will I go? What will I do?

And that feeling of uncertainty drives me nuts. I panicked a little bit at the beginning of this summer when I was talking to my (earthly) Dad. Sometimes, I just wish that everything would go my way, because even though it may not be a great plan, at least I'd know what's coming up next. But then again, if I'm so focused on my own idea of how my life should go, how many great things am I going to miss out on that God has planned for me?

And this is where the take home message comes in. I was praying about this whole situation at the beginning of the summer- you know, planning my life for the next 10 years. What I call "extreme planning". And one morning, God just told it to me straight- the answer that I'd needed.

He said:

"Sarah, the only plan you need to have for the next 10 years, or even the rest of your life, is to love me with all your heart , soul, and mind, and to search after me with everything in you.

Be prepared for the moments to come, but live and enjoy the moments you are now given."

Sure, it's still hard for me to be completely at peace about what's going on in the next 10 years because, despite popular belief, I am a planner and I don't like uncertainty. But now I'm focusing on one thing at a time. If I get to be nurse practitioner by the age of 26, great, if not, well that's okay too. If i get married earlier than 28 or 29, well that'll be wonderful as well. If I get to go overseas at 23 or 24, awesome, if I don't well I hope one day I'll get to. In the meantime, I'm focusing on living my life and loving my Lord... one day at a time.

So go out and love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind. Search for His face with everything in you. And remember...

Be prepared for the moments to come, but live and enjoy the moments you are now given.

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