"You must therefore zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption, 'My time is my own.'
Let him have the feeling that he starts each day as the lawful possessor of 24 hours. Let him feel as a grievous tax that portion of this property that he has to give over to his employers, and a generous donation that further portion that he allows to religious duties.
But what he must never be permitted to doubt is that the total from which these deductions have been made was, in some mysterious sense, his own personal birthright." ~C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
In the past, I really haven't liked this quote because I quite frankly don't like the idea of my time not being my own.
Yes, I purposely structure my day to be able to be generous with others, particularly those close to me personally. (Last weekend was a wonderfully refreshing time with my family!) But I really like boxes, order, and knowing how things will fit together.
It's given me a lot of comfort and security over the years to have a plan and stick to it.
But this summer, I really felt like God was giving me orders to step away from my plans and to be more open. Open to change, open to people, open to Him, and open to my own needs. To find the true center between planning and being spontaneous.
As I've navigated that process into previously uncharted territories, I've noticed some positive changes:
- I'm gentler with myself: I've always prioritized some self care but I'm noticing to an even greater degree that I'm listening to what I feel I need instead of driving ahead just because something was on my daily plan.
- Less frustration: I don't tend to be an easily flustered person. But sometimes when there are things that don't go as smoothly as I would like--such as traffic, long lines in stores, or tech problems, I can get annoyed. I noticed since I've been less ruled by my plans, I'm less prone to impatience and more trusting that everything is working out just right.
- More gratitude: As I expand beyond what I can always carefully control and plan, I feel so much more grateful for the way that situations come together beautifully instead of being prideful that I made things happen by my own strength.
- Deepening relationships: I'm more intentional than ever about who I do and don't invest time with. And I've been letting go of many activities that weren't truly fulfilling. But with the individuals and groups who I do feel called to invest in, I feel a deepening and openness and security in those relationships in new and wonderful ways.
Most importantly, and I think most humbling to say is that I'm no longer trying to play God.
By letting go of control and a false sense of entitlement, my life has even more love, joy, peace, and connection than before.
Do I still plan? Yep. But instead of making my plans and asking God to bless them. I'm seeking God's plans and allowing my days to be more fluid and flexible.