Many people, including myself, tend to just run in circles when a problem arrives. If we aren’t running circles, we are making decisions by what I like to call, “flying by the seat of your pants.”
Through experience I have learned making a plan and being somewhat organized in our approach to problem solving may provide the best shot at solving problems. Even though my father’s recent unexpected stroke and my mother’s rare brain disease are very serious and are taking major focus, God is using this time to teach me more about being organized in my approach. Taking my emotions, which can be all over the map, and realizing I need to put them aside to think more clearly and make wise decisions. And, of course, I am learning much from my “older” sister Marcia. (Sorry in advance for calling you older, Marcia, just slightly sorry. LOL!!!)
My sister Marcia has worked for and now runs our family owned business and lives near our parents. She is teaching me to divide and conquer. From making plans to solving multiple problems at one time, some of which have no quick remedies, we are handling all that lies before us. She pulls out her pad and pencil or has me pull out paper and we start taking some notes. Together we are making plans on paper to help us keep a grip on the many issues related to my parents and the business. All done with the help of many hands, including our children and our spouses, extended family and friends.
Making a written plan helps us align ourselves with reality. It helps one monitor progress, be accountable and have security in knowing you are working your plan. Checking your plan over a number of hours or days breeds confidence, knowing you are taking steps forward. Problems and issues that strike suddenly can throw anyone off. I am so thankful that I have been reading, studying and now applying firsthand all that I have been learning.
Do yourself a favor and don’t wait until problems strike to know or plan how you will react. The one thing we all know for sure, problems will come. The other sure thing is to decide in advance what your system will be for managing the unexpected.
Brainstorming for solutions is something that has worked like a charm for my sister and me. We both know the importance of bouncing ideas off of one another and other people who we have called on for their experience and expertise. In the process, one of us will think of something the other had not considered. Putting our heads together has really helped us cover a ton of ground. All the while finding comfort in the prayers sent up on our behalf and our parents.
It has also helped us to consider all of our options. For us, it was creating a plan to help care for both of our sick parents and making important decisions about their care and well-being (a huge responsibility and we both want to do a good job). We never wanted to think about the heart wrenching problem of having our parents become ill, but working a plan has helped to keep our emotions in check so that we could act and make decisions that were best for them.
We have found that it takes effort to set goals, establish a time frame, set deadlines and execute a plan, all the while knowing we have to remain flexible and make needed adjustments. Life is never perfect and neither are plans made. Always remember to stay flexible and prayerful!! Proverbs 16:3, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Using these problem solving skills in small things that didn’t require a lot of emotion have certainly helped when larger, more serious problems have come up especially ones that evoke strong emotions.
Even if you are not 100% sure of the plan you made, no plan is perfect. Stay prayerful. Devise a plan, take action, take steps and pull the trigger. All the plans on paper….stay on paper unless you take the first action step and move forward. Whether it involves taking one step per week or multiple steps per day…. take action and move forward….always being willing to adjust. God is there guiding. Stay prayerful and never be shy about asking others to pray. The power of prayer is easily felt when problems arise. Our parents are a joy, do not at all interpret that they are a problem to us. But working through providing the best medical care and comfort for them is challenging and has required much time, thought, all the while daily executing an ongoing plan.
Remember……problems DO NOT GET SOLVED BY EMOTION or SPONTANEITY ….They get solved by taking the time to pray and work on a well thought out plan. Strategy beats spontaneity a large part of the time….. Just like planting, watering, fertilizing and growth…..then harvest…..problem solving with a plan…..taking the steps, trusting the steps will eventually lead you to solutions. God’s work happens over time, not all at once. Sometimes we have to just keep “working the plan” trusting He is at work and the harvest is coming…..just like when planting seeds, we don’t see the daily growth but we know it is happening, this can be summed up by saying, “take one day at a time!”
Realizing that problems/trials are in God’s plan for our lives and He uses them to mature and complete us. He also promises in Hebrews 13:21 that He will “equip you with everything good for doing His will.” That is so reassuring to know that in seeking God’s will when facing problems, He will equip with “good” in taking the appropriate steps.
Remember, “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
“Failing to plan means planning to fail”………MAKE A PLAN.
Psalm 20:4, “May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!”