Planned, Prepared and Creative

I was asked how I keep myself and my time organized enough to get everything done. At first I thought that it might have been a joke and then realized I just might have something (useful) to say. I am the sort of person who would have made up an answer that sounded good enough anyway so I had a little think about it and realized: I’m one of the more organized ‘creative’ people that I know.

It weirds me out too.

I’ve had an addiction to day-planners and planning things since the young age of about 10 years old and was always the one to organize going to rock shows. I’d text everyone the information, ticket prices and see who was going. I’d purchase tickets in bulk as well as assigning the ‘under 16s’ to drivers so that we maxed out our environmentally friendly hearts and not-so environmentally friendly cars. This odd obsessive planning didn’t stop with my school and work schedules – I like to write in coffee dates and writing sessions and would get very bothered if someone disrupted my beautiful black ink (screw iPhone calendars).

I’ve gotten over the NEED to write everything down and I’d like to think I’ve grown up and matured in my use of to do lists and agendas but I still find them heaps helpful for getting crap done. A few helpful things I’ve found out about time and scheduling:

  • Time is a resource very similar to finances – I have a conviction of stewarding my money and time well, which involves a budget. I budget money and allocate a percentage to different things so that at the beginning of the week I tell my money where it’s going instead of getting to the end and wondering where it went. My time is the same, I budget in order of non-negotiable like Jesus time and commitments like school and serving. I make sure that I’m thinking through resting and homework alike and moving into coffee dates with intentional relationship I want and need in my life. I like to plan where my time will be valuable to go because heaven forgive if I get to the end of my time and wonder where it went. There is always room for flex and flow in my schedule now that I’m not so obsessive but I’ve actually found heaps of freedom inside of knowing when I need to rest, when I need to be WITH people, and when I need to write or do homework.
  • People these days sort of suck at focusing – I think in an article I read ages ago it said people can only concentrate fully engaged for around 45-minutes and then we begin to shut off. I’m afraid that number has probably gone down with our microwave culture. I’d love to think that I’ve maintained that discipline or hopefully increased it with my schedule. I allocate 45-minute chunks of “WORK ON THIS” time and give myself a 5-10 minute break. I then move on to a different 45-minute chunk of life to work on. I don’t set out with a task to ‘finish the project no matter how long it takes!’ because I KNOW that wont be my best. My best is accomplished when I’m forgiving on myself and give myself a few time slots working on things (like assessments or writing a song).
  • GIVE YOURSELF A BRAIN BREAKDo things you love. Do things you LOVE. DO THINGS YOU LOVE.
    Colour!
    Take a short walk outside!
    Listen to music!
    Eat a snack!
    Read a chapter in a female comedian’s autobiography!
    For the love of everything holy do SOMETHING good for you. This is where the ebb and flow of scheduling comes in – mate if you’re mentally exhausted and you cant study for another minute then MOVE. Do something refreshing for you.
  • Bring it all back to Jesus – I don’t get how He adds to your time but He does. I heard of a preacher being asked the question, “How much time do you spend with G-d?” he replied, “on normal days about 2 hours. On busy days when I don’t really have time to get everything done, I’ll spend 3 hours with Him”. Get your priorities focused and figure out how to keep Jesus at the center and I promise you’ll never regret it. My black ink is always trumped by His.
Huh. I guess I have learned a little something in my time here… teehee. I’m glad I think I’m funny.

Scrabit : Need

G-d has taken me on a beautiful journey of being healed of anxiety, sometimes I have my hiccups but then I remember what He did on the cross was enough for me then, now and for the rest of my life. Coming to Aussie from America was one of the smoothest transitions I’ve had in my life which surprised me. I’m a little upset to admit how shocked I was that I was actually ok. But I am. G-d has been with me every step and thats a really remarkable thing.

Please enjoy this #ThinkBackThursday from November 2014 just before I came.

Love you all


“Those days will come when you cannot articulate what the matter might be, but there IS a matter. I feel it resting on my heart and making me wonder. It’s irritating me, not as dramatic as a thorn in my flesh, but it’s still pretty obnoxious. So I’m left completely at a loss as to how to explain my heart condition to even You. And, all the more irritating is that You know what the matter is. You already know and You wont tell me. Why? I cannot say I appreciate it, but here I am. You know my heart better so I guess for lack of me knowing what to do – You can deal with me accordingly. Here I am. If You will, use me in the process.

Well, I tried to go to sleep over an hour ago but this has been literally sitting on my heart for almost a week and my anxiety kicked in tonight so sleeping isn’t happening. This is just about all I can think about, so I’m not sure if that makes this a prayer request or just a download, but here it is.
Recently I was able to catch up with a friend about life. One of her questions for me was about Australia and if I was ready and had everything I needed. Now, I leave in two months… (actually less but it’s easier to say two months) – I have a lot of things to sell or put in storage or give away, I have a lot of people to say “Hasta Luego!” to, and I don’t have all the finances I need while I’m gone. But her question comforted me rather than sending me down panic lane. I simply responded with,

“No, I don’t have everything I need while I’m done but I have everything I need for now”

I am taken care of. I don’t have what I need for tomorrow because, guess what? It’s still today.

But I woke up and was in no need for today. I had enough food, I had enough sleep, I had no bills I couldn’t pay, I had laundry to do that I had clean water for. Now, while those resources are temporary and once I used them they were no longer good for the same purpose… I HAD what I needed. I have this great big habit of being a worrier and stressing out over the plans. I had ALWAYS been pretty bad about trusting that things will simply work out. I want to know when we are leaving, how long the trip will take, I want to leave earlier than I have to because if I don’t I know I’ll hit traffic – and then I will be late. I want to know what will happen when I arrive and where I need to be and even when I have all of that information I’m stressed thinking about what’s coming. This has gotten better in my late(r) age; I’m comforted knowing that I don’t have to have all the details. A long time ago G-d reminded me that my walk with Him needs to be a daily waking up and realizing that I need Him. Now, I’m positive that I’m not the only one who He has reminded about this but it stuck out like a sore thumb to me and if I don’t try to remember so often then some of you lucky ones are left with a mid-panic Laina rambling on about things that don’t need to be stressed about.

I am held in His hands and because of that my fear of failure, my anxiety of the journey, my weight of worry that sits on my chest all gets a lot smaller. I was overwhelmed with assurance when I realized, “No, my plan ISN’T going how I saw it play out” ((EVER)) But, when I woke today and got through the day (quite well I might add) because I’m still His and He loves me.

“I don’t have everything I need while I’m gone, but I have everything I need for now.”

I’ve been overwhelmed with the support I’ve seen so far in sharing my story, honestly I started a gofundme account and wasn’t sure I’d really get that far with it. But, every time someone simply reads my story I’m thankful to G-d because of what He has done with me. I’m so very much not even close to “The End” of my story but I’m in awe of what He has done in and with my heart. Thank you isn’t enough to each of you who have said a prayer over me in the last 2 years but it’s what I know how to say. Please know though, my prayer for you, whoever may be reading this, no matter when you decide or are bored enough to do so, is that I would be a small part of your story. I want to learn from you and grow with you. I want to see a group of people so free from hurt and fear that they begin to boldly live out love in the way they’ve been given love. Even I’ll admit I sound a bit cheesy but I mean it with my whole being.

I crave freedom because I’ve seen so many glimpses of what boldness feels like. I  wouldn’t consider myself as someone who walks in boldness but G-d, how I want to be that person.

I remember being bold.

          “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Way to go Paul and Timothy, you’re better than us. “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do al this through him who gives me strength.” Mmm, context is such a beautiful thing. (Phil 4.11-13) It’s not just that I can throw that last verse around and do anything I need to because I have this supernatural strength to call on. But, I’m going to learn how to live in every situation and I’m going to accomplish this by a strength that is now my own. Boom, I don’t have to be enough.

May I learn how to LIVE in every situation, G-d, may I learn how to REST when anxiety creeps up over ridiculous things. I’ve had all I could ever need at every point in my life and I’m YOUR kid so I expect nothing less than to have exactly what I need. Nothing more.

I have a great thought process on packing for trips… Once I leave, I’m done. IF I don’t have it in my bag it clearly didn’t make a big enough impact for me to remember so obviously I can live without it. Lord, I’m not condoning my forgetfulness, but, if I find myself awake, and I don’t have something help me to realize it might NOT be a need. If I needed it, I’d likely have it. You’ve been so good to me and you know whats up more than I do anyway.

So, chill my heart out, its’ doing that thing again.

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread (and peanut butter and bananas and honey)

I was very recently asked my opinion on the “10 year plan” which at this point in my life is comical because my plans always change. Always. But they asked me, so now I’ll share my thoughts.

I’ve always been a ‘planner’ type and loved carving out those 5 and 10 year plans when I was younger. I’m sure if I remember correctly my 7th grade year would have looked something like this:

·      I want to be a Junior High Pastor (Grade 6-8)

·      I want to be a Christian Music Artist

·      I want to be an assistant to a youth pastor

·      I want a puppy

·      Be a racecar driver

  ((All Of The THINGS))

Contemporary music artist… this is fun, lets fast forward a bit to my 5-10 year plan at around 17 years old:

·      I want a Bachelors Degree in Business Management

·      I want to write a book

·      I want to be a worship leader/in a band 

·      I want to work at a church

·      Be a racecar driver

 

Now, have any of these ended the way I thought they would?

Absolutely not.

My “Junior High Pastor” experience was formed into 7 years of leading WIRED (The Monday after school fellowship/message/game event for 6, 7 and 8th graders between me being 15-21 years old. My “Christian Music” experience was lived out in writing songs and helping to lead at youth, college ministry and various house churches; and continues here in Aussie. I ended up being Assistant to the Youth Pastor and got a puppy so I did that right!                                                                

((madpropsLaina))

            My “Bachelors in Business Management” was learned at Chili’s in Broken Arrow and Pryor, Oklahoma by actually BEING a manager. My writing and publishing has increased to a consistent weekly process for the last 12ish weeks and I have a goal set to outline my book soon. My racecar driving ended up looking like more speeding tickets than I can count or care to remember. 

            My last 10 year plan started with my management position at Chili’s – I had every intention of working management for 5ish years (between 21-26) then move to Ireland and be able to pay for three years of theology school AND travel a year on top of that (I was going to save a LOT of money in those 5 years). I honestly was never expecting to end up cutting that short by 3 ½ years to move to Australia –

 Like, flip. What?! I live in Australia.

What is incredible is that all these dreams I’ve been given and desires I have had were lived out in such a way that they were all far greater that I could have imagined. They WEREN’T what I was expecting but as I’m living through my planned out days realizing how foolish black ink can really be I see that 5/10 year plans kind of suck.

            I function better in “I like this, I enjoy doing this, I’m going to take the open doors that are in line with this thought and direction” I think it’s good to set achievable goals and things you’d like to accomplish and give timelines and due dates, but to say “I’m going to be living here with this job and this much responsibility on my plate and this much free time and this much income” well, that (for me) isn’t practical.

            It doesn’t make sense. Maybe it works for some people but I pretty much have an agreement with G-d whenever I fill out a week of my planner than whatever He wants and whenever He wants to interrupt with whatever He wants me to do or say or path to take – He has permission to alter my schedule. I’ve just had far too many plans fail because they weren’t big enough.

            You see, I was raised in a culture of abundance and G-d has done entirely too much for me. The potential fall here is to see the abundance and somehow assume it’s deserved. At this point we pervert it and it becomes EXCESS. This has been one of the more difficult mindsets to break in my life if we are being totally honest. I am learning and training myself to realize that I have been given enough for today. My blessings and abilities are there to be used in my waking and before I go to sleep. I have EVERYTHING that I NEED so why would I let ANYTHING that is sitting in my hands to use – just sit.

I was given today my daily bread but what happens when I see the bread and think, “Yeah, naturally there is bread because I need it, I’ve earned this bread… so on top of this bread I think I should have some peanut butter and bananas as well. After all if I could have provided the bread than somehow I can make these delicious toppings happen as well” But you see, this is where we start to view our gifts and talents as excess… we see it as something earned and more than we need. What if we believed that G-d answered our prayers for daily bread and then we looked at our blessings and counted them as that instead of looking at all we have and seeing the ‘cherry on top’ mentality?

Your ice cream is sweet enough.

Recently in a pout-fest with my housemate via texting I was wondering what on earth I was doing here. She graciously reminded me,

“You prayed for this, you paid for this and now you are here. Isn’t that enough? Even if you never know isn’t this answered prayer enough?”

I’ve gotten to do everything I’ve ever wanted to do it just hasn’t always looked the same. I got here by doing well with what I was handed; and it is my daily prayer that I continue to see everything I have as daily bread. As something to be used today because tomorrow I’m going to need more and it might not look the same.

Proverbs 16:9 “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”

So, do what you will… but good luck with that.

I hope I live in a way that sees my blessings as abundance and something to be used, I’ve been given a lot and my heart has had loads of fulfillment in the seasons I’ve walked through. But, it was only there to build upon and not to see as “Oh check out my awesome toast that I bought”. Get over yourself.

but also, I love you all.