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A SINCERE 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 same problem!”

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)


27/10/06

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