The word CONSIDER has been coming up frequently in my life lately. The books I read, the notes I write, the blogs I read, the seminars/webinars I attend, all seem to mention this word. So, it seems I need to CONSIDER a CONSIDERATE life for now.
I appreciate the heartfelt encouragement shared in the two recent webinars that Mystie, Jen, and Dawn held online. The first was a basic introduction to the way these moms go through the planning process. The follow up webinar was a wonderful extension and more details were shared concerning the way they each fine tune their days. Each of them spoke to me with regard to different aspects of planning. Taking note of their individual planning styles and ways of utilizing those plans helped me to identify my own strengths and how I can develop my weaknesses in areas that are attached to goals for our family.
Mystie definitely helped me realize that I just do not work well with high tech gadgetry, no matter how thoughtful the programmers have been in creating software to support my plans. Learning curve? I don’t think so. Just not my style. That’s something to consider. I’ve spent too much time and money on trying to make online planning tools work for me. CONSIDERING that, I need to unsubscribe to a couple of online tools and put that time and money back into the resources that actual help me get my job done well.
Dawn opened my eyes to some critical paper planning deficiencies that I just couldn’t pin point. I have too many forms and too many calendars that take up too much space. While her consolidated forms aren’t an exact fit, I was able to identify the two, or three things that I haven’t been able to manage because I don’t have them right in front of me during the week. Intentions left off the plan never end up accomplished. And, my biggest plans are too generalized and need to be more detailed for me to utilize. CONSIDERING this eye opener, I will be able to move forward with the tiniest of tweaks.
Jen’s use of CONSIDER in its various forms triggered my fixation on this word. Her blog has been such an inspiration for so long, yet, I just couldn’t get past the choice of fonts and stickers and planners meaning I just couldn’t make myself purchase, or pursue embellishing my plans. Her plans are pretty, no beautiful, but not practical for me. Pretty and beautiful tend to distract me from the topic at hand. Short, to the point, and organized similarly are sufficient for me. Black and white, let’s move to the books and activities and life are the jumping off point I need. I hadn’t understood this prior to these webinars and Jen’s post on planning temperaments. CONSIDERING my new found awareness of my strengths and weaknesses in the area of planning and acting on those plans, I need to choose wisely as in the area of comparison and contentment.
CONSIDERED book lists, CONSIDERED days, CONSIDERED needs of others, CONSIDERED plans all need my CONSIDERATION. But, I seem curious as to how God uses the word CONSIDER. Of note is this dot connecting that seemed to take place overnight while CONSIDERING all I’ve gleaned from these three moms in such a short time. While I’d like to tell you which mom spoke specific words that made things click, I cannot. I really know that God used all three (and many others throughout the years leading up to this epiphany) to point me back to Him. I pray before, during, and after planning; don’t get me wrong. I listen before, during, and after planning; but usually based on how I can make someone else’s format outline the resources I’ve come to realize He’s led us to for the time being. It’s never about the books, curriculum, things, or activities that we’re going to use/do/attend. It’s about keeping on top of them logistically. So, I sat for a bit over the last
24 48 hours and realized that there are some other things to consider in question format once I have a clear definition of CONSIDER.
I enjoy learning the various definitions that Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary provides as it ties Scripture to each word and has careful, thoughtful definitions that help me to truly understand words. Consider! Various definitions that stand out to me:
To view attentively, sit by, observe, examine, attend to, relieve, have regard to, respect, examine the subject with a view to truth or the consequences of a measure, reward, think seriously, maturely, carefully, to reflect, deliberate, and even to hesitate. Hesitate? That gives me pause. So, I go to Scripture.
What does The Word have to say about CONSIDERING? The verses that usually comes to mind when I hear the word CONSIDER are concerned with birds and flowers…two of my favorite things to study in nature.
“CONSIDER the ravens, for they neither sow more reap; and they have no storeroom nor barn; and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds!” Luke 12:24
“CONSIDER the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these.” Luke 12:28
And, while the word CONSIDER is not in this verse, it is also about birds and the care they are shown by God. “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” Matthew 6:26
These three verses have something in common when they are read in context. They all deal with curing anxiety. I know these verses and believe them, yet I tend to forget an important aspect of their message. I don’t usually feel anxious about planning. I tend to feel anxious after the plans are written down. What if there’s an interruption? What if the curriculum is too hard? What if it’s boring? What if I spent too much money on it? What if we don’t finish it? What if we can’t keep up the pace for some reason?
So, to CONSIDER the birds and the flowers in planning, I must sit back and observe them for a moment, even if only in my mind’s eye. What do I know based on observation and the truth of these Scriptures?
Birds and flowers follow the plan. God’s plan sets the number of their days. His plan chooses their color, their size, their scent, or song. Not much of their beauty, or how they spend their days is up to their choosing how to spend their time…although, I suppose in the birds case, they can choose whether to eat the seeds, scraps, or worm first.
Because He gives us the job of stewarding our time and resources, I have the blessed opportunity to choose various details for our days, based on what He brings to my table. I get to organize them and then choose to act on these decisions based on the time He provides. CONSIDERING this, brings me back to learning more about temperament. During planning mode, I tend to be Martha minded. In my head I hope to have a place for everything and for everyone to remember to keep everything in its place. But, on a daily basis, I actually think I follow through more like Mary. Sadly, I’ve seen this mostly as a negative. But, with light shed on temperament, I’m realizing that God planned for me to be this way and I just need to accept how He made me and learn to appreciate the circumstances in which He places me each day and not fret that I can’t pull off a Martha day very frequently.
During the follow up webinar, Jen pointed this out when she talked about putting people before plans, but also shared a reminder that planning is an extension of hospitality. I’m not sure I’d really thought of planning this way before she threw it out there for me to consider. I think I had hospitality compartmentalized into “what you do for visitors, during a party/meeting, or for strangers who could use some compassion.” CONSIDERING that planning for our family is an extension of hospitality caused me to see days more like celebrations with a sprinkling of mini meetings. Perspective changer to say the least!
Parties and meetings are filled with laughter and positive comments, smiles and lively discussions, and usually something to eat and drink. While I plan meals, I hadn’t seen them as much of a celebratory type event for most days. Now, with a CONSIDERED mental shift, I hope to keep them on the same page with other plans in order to celebrate them more during the day. This will hopefully be a more hospitable way to treat my family and make the days flow more happily across the calendar. Meals, calendar dates, chores, and studies have been so chopped up in the form of various excel checklists, but I can see them possibly flowing more smoothly when a reorganized planning page is put in use to accomodate our entire life. Having a list for chores, a list for meals, various school and appointment lists and calendars keeps my brain scattered enough that our days just seem methodical and robotic. Mostly because I haven’t been able to see the entire picture.
Actually, because I rarely take pictures, the word picture always makes me think of the word ponder. You know. Right there in The Word where He says, “she pondered these things in her heart.” Pondering is like capturing pieces of a picture puzzle in your heart, but not necessarily putting them together to be able to see the whole picture, YET!
Continuing the process of CONSIDERING…
This verse offers security. “How blessed is he who CONSIDERS the helpless; The LORD will deliver him in a day of trouble.” Psalm 41:1 CONSDIERATE planning will help me help my family through their days of work, play, and study. No, they aren’t completely helpless, but this gives me the opportunity to demonstrate helping to them. Hopefully, we will all be motivated to help the helpless we meet, or find out about just because I’m considerate in planning hospitably for our days.
Here’s a reality check from Ecclesiastes 7:13-14!
“CONSIDER the work of God, For who is able to straighten what He has bent? In the day of prosperity be happy, But in the day of adversity CONSIDER-G0d has made the one as well as the other so that Man may not discover anything that will be after him.” Hmmm. This leans toward financial matters, but it can also speak about time. If we have loads of time to study, or complete chores, even play, God provides it. If He interrupts the day with things He has predetermined to be more important than the plans I’ve made, I’m to be happy anyway and see it all as from Him with our best interests in His heart.
A motivation from Hebrews 10:24.
“…and let us CONSIDER how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” Encouraging my family through CONSIDERATE planning means more opportunities for us to show love to one another and to do good deeds with and for each other and those around us. Being CONSIDERATE should be our habit to work on for the next while in order for us to bear this kind of fruit!
From the Triumphs of Faith chapter, Hebrews 11.
“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin. CONSIDERING the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.” Hebrews 11:24-26 This just jumps off the page! When we are committed to Jesus, the rest doesn’t matter. With His guidance, distractions like the phone, the computer, games, etc., just cannot get in the way of the plans that He helps me write down. I’ll be looking forward to the rewards He offers through diligent implementation of CONSIDERED plans that will bear the fruit of hospitality, love, and good deeds. Grades and transcripts aren’t the most important end goal as far as the plans are concerned after all.
And, lastly, comfort found through CONSIDERATION.
“I have CONSIDERED the days of old, The years of long ago.” Psalm 77:5
In this Psalm, David is recalling all that God has done for him in the past and it brings him comfort while he is in trouble. God’s might deeds aren’t just for the Old and New Testaments. They happen on a daily basis. I know this to be true, so when I feel like I’m in trouble with planning, or with acting on those plans, I will CONSIDER God’s Mighty Deeds and find comfort.
I will not be anxious as I CONSIDER the birds and flowers, which are there to remind me that God’s plans take precedence over my own. He has given me the authority to follow through on plans when the time He provides is right. When He interrupts the paper plans with a people need, He will use that hospitality, love, or good deed time to bear more fruit than what I had written down on paper. The paper plan will be given time, by God, when He determines that it’s time to get back to it. I just need to follow through with the plan during uninterrupted study time. Any ill treatment, bad moods, or criticism from others will not cause me to fret because I will CONSIDER the reward that comes from following His lead. No comparison. Just celebratory hospitality that will offer us a joyful, CONSIDERED life!
What an awesome thing to CONSIDER!