by Jennifer Duncan
The Christmas I was ten years old, I received a gift from my aunt that I did not really like at all. I’m sure she thought it was a perfect idea for a ten-year-old girl, and maybe it should have been. My thought patterns have always been a little unusual, so it was probably just me.
What she gave me was a “Five Year Diary” almost identical to the one pictured here. Most girls would squeal with delight over that gift, I suppose, thinking about the years ahead when they might want to record exciting tidbits about boyfriends and girl drama. What I thought when I saw that diary was this: “I enjoy being a child. I don’t want time to pass. I’m not really excited about moving toward adulthood; it looks difficult to me. And I really don’t want five years to pass so quickly that I can still locate this book to record anything!” That’s what I thought.
I half-heartedly recorded some entries in this book over the next few years, trying to get in the spirit of the thing. But recording that I went to the library with my friend, or that I got an “A” on a test, just didn’t strike me as that noteworthy! I became much more interested in thinking about what I wanted to do in the future, than what I had just accomplished that day.
Now as an adult, (and by the way, I was right about adulthood…it IS more difficult than childhood!) I have held on to that reluctance to see time pass. I grieve over fast-moving family life, over children growing up too soon. But I also have learned an important principle: that “my times are in God’s hands” (Psalm 31:15). The memories of yesterday, and the joys of today…all are in His care and in His control, and He is very, very capable.
So now the challenge for me is to avoid over-planning. Ironically, though I often dig in my heels when life is propelling me forward, I also LOVE to plan ahead! I figure, if you can’t keep the train from moving, at least you can find out the exact schedule, and make a list of things to do on the ride! I tend to over-do this.
I think planning helps me feel “in control” and I like feeling “in control.” Yet, life has taught me that neither refusing to acknowledge life’s swiftness, nor planning out every detail, really puts me in control. God didn’t intend for me to take charge. He wants me to trust Him, not my own plans.
This led me to wonder if He wants me to plan at all! But I believe a reasonable amount of planning is a good thing, if it is done in consultation with Him. My “reasonable amount of planning” must always leave room for Him to interject a change that I might never have considered.
In His continual efforts to keep me straight-thinking and balanced, God is teaching me two things about this issue:
- Be at peace with the swift passage of time. There are joys in every season.
- Relax as He guides the plan. He’s even in charge of detours.
“Time marches on,” as they say. And that’s okay…as long as I let my heavenly Father lead the parade. Now, if I could just find that “Five Year Diary,” I could write down some of this wisdom!
Jennifer is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is mom to two grown (twin) sons, two wonderful daughters-in-law and four granddaughters. Her late husband, John, pastored two churches in Barry County, Missouri, and one in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Jennifer serves in teaching, music and lay counseling through her church, Arnhart Baptist Church, Purdy, Missouri. She also enjoys leading retreats and Bible studies for women.