LACK OF PLANNING
Like most people these days, I try hard to make ends meet.
My contribution to the household income comes partly from my work
in Aldershot, and partly from additional freelance work on my
own account. I had worked out some time ago, that I needed to
clear something like 10 –15 hours of freelance work each
week, to balance our budget, and our other income being fixed,
if we needed extras, then I had to work more, and when we had
holidays, I had to work overtime again to catch up, so my life
was pretty well driven by work, and any free time I took, depended
upon how we were fixed financially.
“So what’s new?” you say. “Practically
everyone on the planet, in a position of responsibility, has the
Well, I’ll tell you.
I used to keep a tight check on my daily timetable. If I didn’t
write stuff down, I forgot it. I’d record all my hours,
and review the month to date regularly, so I could see I wasn’t
slipping behind. I watched TV maybe once a week, for an hour or
so, if there was a decent film on – other than that I rarely
sat in the lounge at all. My brain hardly ever stopped working,
unless I was asleep.
On joining Holy Trinity, and becoming ‘in Christ’,
there was a fairly sudden shift in my perspective. I no longer
lived to work, or worked to live. I would spend long periods reading
the Bible, and of course Sunday morning working was out, as also
Tuesday and Thursday evenings, for my fellowship groups. The odd
Saturday was taken by a wives group, the odd Wednesday by the
Vision Team group, the odd Monday by PCC meetings, and of course
a fair amount of random time for the church accounts!
Now any sensible person would have said that you can’t
take a full timetable, and add more to it, without taking something
away. Ordinarily, I would agree, but what happened initially,
was that I simply slept less – not every night, but a few
times a week, I’d work late, or get up through the night
and work, and thus I managed to limp along fairly satisfactorily,
without my income dropping too much. My fellowship groups will
testify to the fact, that they prayed for me several times, just
for guidance to help me get organised.
Eventually, worn down by tiredness, I just stopped, took God
at His word, and listened instead. He had finally broken my rigid
pattern of working.
I began to incorporate prayer into my general planning, and
noticed that work would usually arrive just as I needed it. This
happened time and time again, so I began to trust more. Some months,
though, it didn’t happen, but instead of worrying, I determined
to leave it to Him, and made best use of the free time by catching
up on other things. I felt that God was telling me to slow down.
Sure enough, after dealing with those other priorities, another
job would arrive! I began to pace myself better, and to trust
these directions He was giving me.
Over the months, I relaxed more, and my freelance income, as
a result of these changes, first fluctuated, but then started
to drop away. In lean periods we used savings – something,
which before I’d always resisted, but then it became more
serious, as we had to resort to extended borrowing. While I was
convinced that I should continue to trust in the Lord, at this
stage, I began to feel that something else had to give. I looked
at the options.
‘Cut your cloth’ I thought to myself. ‘He’s
testing you. He wants to see how much you will trust. He wants
you to take a day at a time. He wants you to be flexible, and
hand Him the reins completely’.
So, after consulting with family, we reduced some of our outgoings,
and consolidated some debt, to ease the monthly burden.
It was at this point that someone said to me – ‘Are
you sure it’s God who’s leading you in this? Be careful.’
I thought about this, but was convinced and comforted by the
fact that month after month, it always just seemed to work out
right, and I knew that I hadn’t found myself doing anything
reckless or irreversible.
I did however notice that my hitherto slavish attitude to work
seemed to be waning, and that I might go two or three days without
feeling the need to sit and work at the desk at home. There seemed
to be plenty of other stuff coming my way, and I looked for any
hints He might be giving me, as to what HE wanted me to do that
day. Quite often, I would have a tentative plan, but find that
things didn’t quite turn out as expected, but it didn’t
seem to matter anymore! In the long run, I was still getting done
what I really needed to do.
Not only had God given me a new life of faith and joy, new friends
and responsibilities, and new things to do, He had freed me from
my desk! He had taken away, almost completely, the fear of failure
and burden of responsibility, which was crushing my life.
These days, I do maybe half the freelance work I used to. I
am happier, and my family are happier. I do notice one thing in
particular though – I used to ignore a fairly large part
of the housework, and God also seems to ignore it!! At least I
was getting that bit right!
Yes, despite a sincere lack of planning on my part, things in
my new life were working out.
It’s a bit like going through life with your eyes closed!…………..
(Just don’t let go of my hand, Lord)