I have a confession to make.
Of the New Year sort.
I have planner commitment issues. Serious planner commitment issues. As in, I have a pile of almost ten fresh, brand new planners sitting on a chair, each with different features, covers, bindings, and layouts.
All but one of them will need to go back to the various stores I procured them from, return receipts bulging in my wallet.
Which means one will become The One. But I just can’t decide. Because that will mean I might miss something one of the others has. What if I decide partway through the year that I really needed that ‘International Holidays’ section in that planner I took back? What if the spiral bound feature that seems to make a planner more user-friendly decides to unwind?
Sidebar: I also keep a Google calendar. I know. I know. I told you I have commitment issues with where I log my commitments. But I need a central spot that any of our big crew can log in and see what all is up in Carr Universe. So we’ve got the digital thing going on.
Yet, I still like to write. As in, with pens. In various styles of handwriting and print. It seems to help me remember things better. And it makes me look industrious in meetings. And I still like to write lists. And I have a slight addiction to office supplies and cool paper and smooth pens. And don’t even get me started on the envy that I carry when I see awesome Instagram and blog pics of a beautifully curated planner laid across a table of weathered pine, a bouquet of peonies artfully placed at the edge of the shot. “That person,” I think. “That’s someone who’s got it all together, whose pantry is alphabetized and who knows where the nail clippers are and who lines her drawers with fabulous decorative paper. That person is making the most of every moment.”
And therein may lay my calendar conundrum.
I keep thinking the tool is the solution to my weekly mayhem instead of thinking of the tool as just that…a tool. But somehow, I’ve let it creep into my subconscious that if I don’t pick the perfect planner, then how will I plan the perfect year?
There it is. That notion that somehow, if I can just get myself organized enough, planned enough, caffeinated enough, I can keep all the plates spinning in a synchronicity that will hide the fact that I’ve taken on too much, accepted too many commitments, have tried to please too many people, that I’ve let the kids add too many things to the extracurricular circus. It’s the same thing I do when I set out to ‘organize’ my house, that if I can just get enough cute containers, I won’t actually have to edit all my stuff.
But what a beautiful thing creativity within constraints can be if I will just embrace it.
Cut down the collection. Edit the extra. Make the most of the least, and trust God that less can be more than enough. Let my plan, let my schedule, let my kids’ schedules, be subject to the Planner.
It’s like Jesus knew what He was talking about when He said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27, NIV).
The calendar was made for this mama, not this mama for the calendar.
It’s not about picking the perfect tool, it’s about learning to wield it well. To know the no, to vet the yes. To embrace some white space on a page and to see what God will write there, whether or not I’ve chosen the ultimate calendaring system.
So that’s what I’m going to do.
Right after I pick a planner. And schedule a time to return all the other planners.
Baby steps, people.
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