Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why do we bother planning?

Plans often fall apart. Last night, I had a committee meeting at church. I’m the chairman of the committee, so I tried to have all my ducks in row. I sent out an agenda before the meeting. I printed out copies of the biggest thing we were going to discuss. I thought I was ready. We had three items of business—or so I thought. We made it through the first two and someone brought up something that I didn’t know anything about. It was appropriate to handle it, but it took me by surprise. Then we got to the “big” item. I had been thinking about the best way to handle it, but the strangest thing happened. The need to handle that piece of business vanished. The meeting went much differently than I expected.

So why do we bother making plans when they fall apart on us anyway? While it may feel like we never accomplish what we planned, we almost never have a situation in which nothing we planned is accomplished. Plans give us a place to start. Plans give us a goal to reach. It’s like planning a trip using a paper map. You might draw a line from point A to point B and then find the roads that follow that line most closely. The line is your plan, but the roads don’t follow the plan. They go off one way and then the other. You may go several miles from the plan line, but you follow roads that keep bringing you back. Eventually, you’ll get where you wanted to go.