I was never much of a natural planner.
When I was younger, planning meant coming up with wild ideas, taking a leap, and waiting for a net to appear. (“Let’s put on a show!” or “I’m going to start a new business!” or “Let’s go to Disneyland this weekend! I’ll drive!”) Oh, the things we can get away with when we are young and have boundless energy.
But that same impulsiveness did not serve me well as a mom with two kids who needed to be at school and dressed all on the same day.
So instead of impromptu wild adventures, my days were filled with trying to catch up on the life that other women seemed to manage without all the drama. They were able to shop for food and cook on the same day. They could get to work wearing clean clothes.
I was the woman who broke speed limits to get my son’s Lincoln costume to the first grade Civil War presentation, (then threw his stovepipe hat on his head from across the room as he was walking onto stage).
Planning ahead always felt like a waste of time because there was so, so much that needed to happen right this minute and so many things I was already behind on.
I used to think that being prepared was just for the hyper-vigilant, super-organized, on-top-of-it people in my life. None of those terms were ever used to describe me.
But I’ve learned that when you plan things in advance (sometimes, what feels ridiculously so…), there is a lot less catching up that needs to happen. Almost every area of life starts to feel less panicked, less worrisome, and less fear-filled.
Some people like to do a lot of advance planning because they love knowing that things are taken care of or it brings them great comfort to know what their lives will look like a year from now.
But I’ll tell you the only reason I really ever learned to plan in advance:
By planning in advance, I can avoid a last-minute scramble to make plans work, which usually involves galvanizing my team (or my family) and staying up late at night to avoid missing a deadline.
Five years ago, my husband and I moved from Silicon Valley, where the seasons almost never impact day-to-day life, to a red house in the middle of a forest in the Sierra Nevada mountains, where the seasons are real — and if you don’t plan ahead, they’ll try to kill you.
Living in the red house made it easy to see that planning and being ready could not only help us avoid pain, but also give ourselves some of the greatest gifts.
Want vine-ripened tomatoes in July and August? Put “start tomato seeds inside” on your March calendar now.
Want to avoid an extra hour-long trip to the feed store? Buy more chicken scratch when you’re down to just one bag; don’t wait until you’ve run out (and have grumpy chickens staring you down).
Want to secure the best vacation instead of settling for whatever times are left over? Planning in advance lets you reserve the good RV spot next to the river instead of the one next to the public bathrooms.
And here is the beautiful thing — all this planning allows more time for dreaming.
I had to squash down my dreams for so long because I was never in a place to make anything out of them. But now, dreaming mixed in with a little bit of wisdom is my new recipe for planning; with enough planning, so much of our lives stop being limitations and start becoming a reality.
It is great to dream. Necessary, in fact, to do anything big. With the wisdom we get from God, committing our plans to Him, not only can our dreams happen, they can flourish.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”
As someone who tended to play catch-up most of the time, I never let myself dream about what I wanted because I was so busy hustling for what I needed. Now, I’m living my dream in a big red house in the mountains — who knew that learning how to plan would result in me being an accidental homesteader?
Join Kathi Lipp and explore her new book, The Accidental Homesteader. You’ll uncover the unexpected joys of homestead living – no matter where you call home! Through gaining wisdom and hard-won lessons, Kathi will guide you to find peace, joy, and contentment in your own home. Whether you’re starting a new adventure or seeking growth in your daily life, this book is a heartfelt invitation to embrace change with a little bit of self-grace and a lot of humor.
Pick up your copy of The Accidental Homesteader… and leave a comment below to enter to WIN one of five copies*!
Then tune in this weekend for a bonus episode of the (in)courage podcast as Kathi talks with Becky Keife about The Accidental Homesteader!
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