I am in a place right now in life that is unexpected. I had a vague outline of where I wanted my life to go, but didn’t know how I would get there. I wanted to be a youth pastor! I am now that, and much more than I ever expected. God knew the specifics. He had the big picture understanding from beginning to end and only required daily faithfulness where I was at the time.
It’s so easy for us to get bogged down with wanting to control all the details and aspects of life. The thing is, though, I don’t get to decide where or when the next “great” idea or opportunity will come. I don’t decide where or when my daughter will throw a fit or destroy her cute outfit with a massive poop explosion. We enjoy too much our ability to plan for everything. The simple truth is we just can’t control everything. We can’t plan revelation or breakthrough. We can’t plan “God moments” because they are, by their very nature, unexpected by anyone but God.
What we can do is leave room for the unexpected. In my experience (limited though it may be), the best or greatest personal and professional revelations come at some of the most unexpected or unplanned times. Sometimes they come during the worst moments. They can come in the shower, while driving, mid-run, middle of the night; when happy, sad, or just floating along. These are unplanned, God-given, wonderful moments. I’m afraid that we schedule and plan and make our lives so busy that we don’t leave room for these unplanned moments. This holiday season, leave room for the unexpected. Here are three ways to leave room for the unexpected at some point in the near future.
1. Admit you need it
- This is the first step in any process, isn’t it? We have to admit that we need to release control of aspects of our schedule because we are too often it the driver’s seat. Admitting you need to leave room for the unexpected isn’t “letting go and letting God.” What it means is cultivating an attitude that will be okay with uninterrupted time. If you’re like me, sometimes interruptions become frustrations because they take away from productivity. It is a constant wrestling match in my heart and mind to take these interruptions and realize that they can be blessings in my life if I will take the time to be in the moment.
- Admitting you need to leave room for the unexpected is cultivating an attitude that works with, instead of reacts against, interruptions in the schedule.
2. Set aside unplanned time
- Plan for the unexpected. This initially sounds contradictory, but the reality is that if I plan out my schedule during the day with back to back meetings, meticulously planning travel and meal times, and have no margin in my day there will be no room for the unexpected. If I’ve planned every detail to a “T” it doesn’t leave much opportunity for the unexpected. Instead, if I intentionally put time in my calendar where “nothing” is planned, even a 15 minute gap between meetings or projects, this could make all the difference in the world.
- Setting aside unplanned time in your day could actually increase your productivity. Why not give it a try?
3. Make it a part of your life
- Leaders go first. You get to set the tone for your sphere of influence. Imagine leading in a way that leaves room for the unexpected in your family or business life. Imagine if you had margin in your schedule to actually stop, sit down, and talk with someone that is not on your schedule?
- Be intentional about leaving room for the unexpected, and it is a most certain thing God will do something unimaginable and life-changing we never could have planned for.
Sometimes the greatest things in life, the biggest blessings, the most memorable moments, come from unexpected places and unplanned times. Leave room.