Can I be too scheduled?

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I started writing this last night (Sunday night) and finished it today (Monday afternoon).  I figured I would go ahead and leave the beginning as I originally wrote it.

Well we have gotten through our first ‘work weekend’ and have Monday and Tuesday off this week as our ‘weekend’.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and I am looking forward to seeing what it’s like to have weekdays off.  We are going to the zoo tomorrow, and that should be nice, no big crowds.I’m thankful for the Lord’s strength to get through this.  It’s still a work in progress, but it’s nice to get the first work weekend under our belts.

I have come to quite a few realizations in the past few weeks, with so many of them swirling through my head.  I need to get them written out, but one of them is what a rut my family has gotten into, and how that really isn’t a good thing.

Let me break into this regularly scheduled entry to preface all of this with saying this is what I have seen and realized in my own family.  What the Lord shows you in your family, I’m sure, will be completely different than what He shows me in mine.  So please don’t take this as me thinking this is how all families should be.  Ok, now back to my entry.

Schedules are a good thing, and believe me, I’m a schedule/routine person.  Just to let you know how scheduled I am, I’ve cleaned my house (a thorough weekly cleaning) on Mondays (only Mondays) for the past almost 16 years.    I do laundry on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays, again been doing that for years.  And if I did a load on a different day, like washing bathmats or something, my kids would instantly say, “Why is the washer on?  It’s not laundry day.”  That’s just a couple of insights to how much I like my schedules and routines.  Routines make me feel secure, comfortable and most of all, in control.  Then when we started having kids I read all these books, articles and magazines (that was before blogs ) about how you should put kids on schedules.  That was such a plus and easy thing for me.  Then when Paulie was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum, I read even more things about keeping them on a schedule.  So we went into the schedule/routine thing full force.  And we’ve stayed that way, for the most part, our whole marriage.

When Paul and I started talking last summer about him getting back into customer service I knew our schedule would change, but I don’t think I really thought about how much.  When it started getting closer to a real possibility, I really started to pray earnestly.    I’ll admit my biggest issue was the possibility of him working the night shift.  I prayed hard about that one, trying to be open to the Lord’s will.  Then when this position opened up we talked and prayed a lot about what this would mean to us as a family, schedule wise especially.  I was so thankful that he doesn’t work a night shift (who knows what the future holds), but knew this change was going to be hard on all of us.  We knew from the beginning that we would want to have the same days off as Paul.  I really couldn’t see us trying to fit lessons in those days, when he’s home and we want to do things as a family.  We talked to the kids and though it’s hard to think of doing lessons and such on a Saturday and Sunday, they knew it had to happen, no real choice.

But through this time, this past week or so, that our schedule has changed, I’ve realized a few things.  I’ve made my kids, especially Paulie, into a scheduling machine.  And though schedules are good, the fact that I never really changed them, never tried to do things in a different way, never shook things up a bit, has made it very hard for them to make changes.  It’s been hard on all of us, but truthfully, I didn’t realize how much of a rut we were in.  How much things just always flowed around here, not much different happened.  And now when we wanted needed things to change, it’s become clear how much of a rut we were in.  And in being in such a rut, I think I lost sight of the Lord’s presence in my life at times.

It’s like when you have so much money, and you can get things easy, you can forget your need for the Lord.  You can forget your dependence and complete need for the Lord in your life.  But I think for me having such a schedule, which made me feel in complete control, also made me forget my dependence and complete need for the Lord in my life.  Things were running smooth, and that was what I ran to when other things in my life felt completely out of control.  Ran to my schedule, ran to my ‘control’, ran to what I thought would comfort me.  Not even realizing I was doing it.  But the Lord should be (and is) my comfort.  The Lord is who I should be running to.

And truthfully, for how schedulized (is that even a word? lets pretend it is ) we had become, I think we are adjusting pretty well.  And I pray that somehow through this time, we see the Lord’s hand more and more in the things we do.

We’ve also been realizing how much fun it can be to do things differently.  I somewhat envy those of you who are a spur of the moment type of person, and non-scheduled type of person.  The type of person who can throw the schedule out the window and do things differently, just because.  It’s not who I am right now, and I’m ok with that.  We are all different, and I know that.  But there was a time in my life when I was a ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ type of person.  When I was single, I wasn’t nearly as scheduled as I am now.  But I think I was probably too undisciplined when I was younger, and like I’ve done before, I went out of balance the other way, and became over scheduled.  Have you ever done that, got out of balance opposite of what you were doing?  I’ve done that many times, and this was one of them.  I was out of balance being too unscheduled, and then I went out of balance being to scheduled.  Now I’m trying to allow the Lord to get me in balance.

I’m praying that through this time the Lord will guide us in the directions He wants us, whether they are ‘scheduled’ or not.  And I’m also noticing, that we are a bit more focused on what we want to accomplish during our days.  When things change week by week, when I don’t know our complete schedule more than a week out, it makes you more focused on what you are doing.  You can’t just fall back on the though, well I can do that next weekend, because your next day off might be farther away than you thought.  It also has made me more aware of the clerks, cashiers and all the other retail people that work on the weekends (and nights) just so I can run to the store whenever I want.  It makes me more thankful and appreciative of the fact I can run to the store when I want.

So since I started this yesterday, and I’m finishing this on our first weekend day, I will tell you it was a great day.  Pictures to come in another entry, either later tonight or tomorrow.

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