15 Ailments of the Church #4: Planning Too Much

Read Genesis 11:1-9

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT)

tower_of_babel.170113154Well, Happy New Year! It’s 2015 and we’re half-way through the second decade of the 21st century! Isn’t that just mind-boggling? Well, whether we are blown away about that or not, time keeps on moving and so must we. As such, I find this to be an excellent time to take a look at the 4th of 15 ailments that Pope Francis I has addressed with his curia, in order for us to reflect on how the universal church falls into “dis-ease” over these problems.

Ailment #4: Planning too much. How many of you are planners? You know who you are. How many of you spend your days trying to make sure that everything is in order and that all gets done? How many of you plan what time you wake up, what time you eat breakfast, what time you do your daily chores, what time you run your weekly errands, what time you eat dinner, and what time you go to bed? Planning is such an important part of our daily routine and, if the truth be told, without planning life would simply be too chaotic. So, why is planning an ailment of the church?

Simply put, planning is NOT an ailment of the church? In fact, it is not one the 15 Ailments of the Curia that Pope Francis I addresses either; rather, PLANNING TOO MUCH (aka over-planning) is the ailment we are addressing here. There is no sin in having a routine to follow. Structure never killed anyone; however, having an overly cumbersome and top-heavy structure has killed a good many people. Like the Tower of Babel, such a top-heavy and over-reaching structure is bound to come tumbling down.

The church is notorious for over-planning. We’re just pulling out of Advent…a season where there isn’t enough spaces on the calendar for all the planning that gets done. What’s more, we’re quickly approaching Lent…yet another time of crazy planning. But it’s not just the church calendar that gets planned for. Have you ever been to a church administrative council meeting? We get so caught up over our finances (or lack thereof), over capital projects, over parking issues, and over a host of other things. Who will cover for this person when that person is out? What have we got planned if only 2 show up to youth group? What happens if 400 show up to youth group? And on, and on, ad infinitum et nauseum.

Now take that down from the church level to our own personal lives? We plan so much that we barely have time (or so we think) for anything else in our lives? Between work, school, church, family, etc., we are literally all booked up. The question for us, on all of these levels, is this: “What room are you leaving for the Holy Spirit in your life and in the life of the church?” Do we have such of a lack of trust in the Holy Spirit that we feel we must have everything figured and planned out? Are we a people of faith or impeccable planning?

Today’s challenge is for us to stop planning too much and leave some wiggle room for the spontaneity of the Holy Spirit in your life and in the life of the church. It is true that the door will open wide for things to not work out as planned, but that is exactly the point. Things don’t always need to be planned, nor do things always need to work according to our plan. Let’s face it, God is the one with the plan and God is inviting us to join in on the plan, but we have to be willing to trust, follow and obey…and we can’t do those things if we constantly see ourselves at the helm. So, step back and allow God to do some of the steering. It’s okay to have a plan, so long as you know whose plan you are ultimately following.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Earthly wisdom is doing what comes naturally. Godly wisdom is doing what the Holy Spirit compels us to do.” – Charles Stanley

PRAYER by St. Augustine of Hippo
O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams. Amen.

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