Saturday, March 11, 2017

Planned out, or timed well?

Something that I enjoy very much is planning. I plan out every day on google calendar, I plan out how I'm going to study for a test, I plan out the following semester, and I'll try to plan out as far as graduation. I've learned that there are things that are good to plan and consider, and there are things that become frustrating and difficult when we try to plan them. For example, planning classes for a proximate semester and setting goals is necessary and encouraged. However, trying to plan too far into the future, such as planning the exact job we want or the income we'll receive, is something we can't totally control and can cause stress if we cling onto these impractical plans. it's the same with dating and marriage. I can (and should) plan out a date (if I didn't, there wouldn't be the possibility to plan for another, if you know what I mean). But, I can't (and shouldn't) plan out how a relationship is going to be established and the timing of courtship and marriage. It simply is not in my power and trying to control it or force it to comply with such goals will only cause emotional and spiritual irritation. I mention these things because I recently watched an old BYU devotional by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, where he discussed the importance of timing. He stated that it always important to do the right thing, but that it is more important to do the right thing in the right time. Someone that does the right thing with the wrong timing will question their actions and feel frustrated, and possibly wonder if they did the right thing. Ecclesiastes 3 teaches this principle well:

 1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

 5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

 6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

This singly scripture teaches us that God has his own timing. We consider his will, but we must also consider his timing. We cannot say, "Thy will be done" and then under our breathe say "...right now." We must strive to say, "Thy will be done...in thy own timing." Besides the Lord's timing, there is the agency of others. This is another element that we cannot control, and therefore shouldn't plan on controlling. There are many things that occur in life that are unplanned, and many of these things happen because of the agency of others. they aren't necessarily bad (they can be) nor necessarily good, they're just not able to be controlled or predicted by our plans and goals.

With these principles in mind, we should find comfort in not having to plan out every aspect of our life. That would be a hassle, but it would also leave God's will and timing, as well as the actions of others out of play. These elements will make a life worth living, and are part of our learning process on earth. The daily things need to be planned (I went grocery shopping today without a list, and I'm pretty sure there are some things I missed) but somethings shouldn't be. Those long-term events in our lives are best approached one step at a time.

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