For the Free Spirits: Why Making a Plan Isn’t Such a Bad Thing

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These northern winters, I’ve watched a lot of snow fall. I’ve sat for long amounts of time, just gazing up into the sky, seeing which way the snowflakes go. Did you know snowflakes don’t fall straight down? Each one of them is born on the wind, so they tumble this way, at first, and then they swoop up and twirl around a bit, before wafting slowly, slowly down to their resting place.

I read the whole book of Galatians this morning because I was so hungry for it and utterly captivated and it spoke to me a lot of following the Spirit. I learned once that being born of the Spirit is kindred to the ways of the wind. (John 3:8) You can’t see the wind, where it comes from or where it’s headed next, but you can hear the movements of the breeze. The way it lifts the branches and rustles through leaves. The way it whistles through screened in porches and tussles meadow grasses.

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I like that description, because I consider myself a free-spirit and an artist, so for a moment, I imagine that I’m a snowflake abandoning myself to those wintry gusts in the atmosphere. Sometimes I drift and sometimes I’m blown, but always I’m carried till I find rest.

Here lately, following the Spirit has caused me to cultivate some daily rhythms. Now, being a free-spirit, I’ve always rebelled against rigid itineraries and schedules. Once I went nearly the whole working day, setting a timer for every 20 minutes so I could stay on task and the next day, I didn’t want to get out of bed. I was so depressed.

So, I’ve discovered that rigorous schedules are not for me. But rhythms, yes.

It’s a big deal that I’ve come this far, actually. Through trial and error I’ve learned that my children do not thrive in sporadic, chaotic days and neither does my soul. There are good things that I want to accomplish in this life and need to accomplish each day, and my life just doesn’t go so well unless I’ve got some intention and put forth effort in a plan.

The other day, I sat down with a friend, a kind friend who is organized and good with rhythms and structure, and she helped me to come up with a plan and offered accountability. By jove, I think this has already begun to change my life.

Annie Dillard says in The Writing Life:

What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.”

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I want to actually live this life, not stumble along on a string of accidents, so I’ve removed some things that have been stealing my energy and causing distraction. I’ve got set times for “unplugging” from all things internet, and certain times that the kids and I sit down for “school” and work on cleaning up the house and though I’m only a few days in, I’ve got more space and energy for creativity than I ever thought I would.

I’ve even got this time and space to write. To do the thing that God has tucked down into my heart–that creative, artistic thing that makes me come alive.

And I never thought I’d hear myself say this, (and won’t my momma be so proud of me) but this living with a plan, and working the plan, and sticking with the plan, well, it has helped me to be free. Like, there on my insides. I’m not so frustrated as I was.

Following the Spirit, it’s a beautiful thing. Like, being carried on the wind.

I’ve got intention and purpose, keeping step with my Creator in these daily rhythms. We are co-creating here. And I feel secure and wildly free.

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25)

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)

2 Comments

  1. by Karen G on February 19, 2015  1:14 am Reply

    I love this post! I love your word...rhythms. I am probably the opposite of you...super structured, super scheduled...There is a pitfall in that because I am not wanting to bend with the Spirit like I should. I need to think in terms of daily rhythms. That sounds more melodic. More apt (as I should) to bend with the Spirit. Thank you for that word picture:).

    • by Maggie on February 19, 2015  10:58 am Reply

      Karen, I had no idea that you were so structured. But, I like what you said, "Bend with the Spirit." That's a good word picture too. love you!

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