There is a certain, debilitating phenomenon that takes place in my household every Saturday. And occasionally mid-week as well. It’s a paralysis that takes over my kids every time they step into their bedrooms to clean. It happens without fail, suddenly their world comes closing in around them because the mess is just too big and their young brains cannot process where to even begin to clean it. The task is seemingly insurmountable.
I’ve been a mom for nearly 16 years and it took 11 of those years to figure out how to snap a child out of this particular and traumatic paralysis. It all starts with a plan. There are steps. There is a process. But it always starts with a plan of how in the end, this Herculean chore is going to end up finished. Done. Successfully completed! My kids have learned that victory can and will be attained when they follow the plan!
Sometimes I have found myself as the child in this scenario when looking at a destroyed kitchen after a particularly exhausting day. I have groaned at bedtime when I’ve been Mom-tired, only to see the mound of laundry heaped upon my bed. I’ve looked at a budget and wondered how on earth I could possibly make it stretch. I have listened to a mid-tantrum-screaming child with no clue what to do next. I have put my arms around a weeping teenager and felt too small to understand how I could adequately provide comfort. I have looked at myself and been too overwhelmed by my shortcomings to think that there could possibly be a way for me to measure up in this life. I have been lost in tasks, chores, errands, responsibilities, self-doubt and hopelessness! I have slumped at the seemingly insurmountable nature of all that is expected of me!
But I am always reminded that God has a plan for whatever ails me. He has a plan for me, He has a plan for you, and He has a plan for that crazy driver who cut you off on the way to school this morning. And do you know what?He had a plan for our Savior. God is a planner!
He created the heavens and the earth and everything that in them are, and He did it using a tried and true, 7-day creation plan. Complete with animals, trees, sand and a rest day. He created man with a plan to make him just like Him. Then He planned and created a woman using the same model but with some super awesome upgrades.
He planned for Adam and Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit, and for what came next. He planned thousands of years in advance because he knew Martin Harris would temporarily be a knucklehead and lose some BofM pages. When Joseph’s brothers threw him into a pit and sold him, it was no problem because God had a plan for that. Columbus wasn’t some lucky explorer, God had a plan for him too. Moses with his speech issues? That plan was called Aaron. Naaman with his leprosy? Go ahead and plan to bathe in the river Jordan 7 times. Having trouble with your faith? Listen to the prophet when he challenges you to read your scriptures…or challenges you to do anything really!
Got a mortal body that gives you trouble and will insist on dying someday? Plan on the resurrection. All of us imperfect people who keep messing up even when we’re trying super hard not to? That plan is our Savior and his Atonement and it was designed with you and I in mind. God really, really wants us to make it back to Him one day and He made a plan to make sure that happened. This effective, step-by-step course even has a catchy name, its called The Plan of Salvation. Has a sweet ring to it doesn’t it?
God plans for everything because it’s all much too important to leave to chance, or to Satan. So should we. He plans for success. So should we. He plans for failure. So should we. He plans for discouragement. So should we. He plans to send help. We should plan to accept it. He plans to send us to help. We should plan to go. He plans. So should we! Of course, since we are imperfect beings just now this means our plans will not always play out like we so perfectly intend. That’s fine, the point is that we try. In fact, that’s really the whole point. The trying.
So when—not if—you have discouragement in your life, however big or small, just breathe. Think carefully and make a plan to overcome. It can have 14 steps or 2 steps. It can have old steps or new steps. But the important thing is that your plan has Yes-You-Can-Do steps!
God really wants you to succeed and be happy, and He’s laid out a perfect recipe for you to do so and be so. That recipe is for you to make a plan to follow His plan.