Back in 2013 I had just started blogging but had no clue what I was doing or why God called me into the blogosphere. Around the same time that I started Catalyst Movement, a girlfriend recommended I pick up the newest book by Jon Acuff, Start. I related to Jon’s humor but also the role fear had played in my life by keeping me from starting projects. But as I continued to read through the book God kept speaking to me about finishing. He said I was pretty bold when it came to taking him up on His invitations to start something but I didn’t often follow through. Before I could even begin to object He turned my attention to a bookcase – case, not shelf – that was full of books I had excitedly started only to stop a few chapters in and never pick up again. And there were the scrapbooking and calligraphy projects I started but never finished. And the planners and journals. Don’t get me started on the planners and journals.
When I finished Start I was so excited I think I posted a photo on Instagram to commemorate the occasion. Soon after I finished the book God invited me to create a one hundred-day challenge encouraging others to simply Finish The Work God has invited them to do. It was the first time I had done anything like it and I have no idea if anyone besides me completed the challenge. While it felt good to not only take God up on the invitation but to see it through, I didn’t think much about the project once I completed it.
In the fall of 2014, shortly after I returned to work from maternity leave with the twins, God brought up the idea of finishing the work again but in a completely unexpected way. He invited me to make a planner for people like me. Growing up I believed the lie that I couldn’t get stuff done; that at best I was a procrastinator and at worst I was lazy. The truth is I was a perfectionist who was afraid of failing, but even more so of mediocrity. Who wants to work their booty off just to be okay? But when I waited until the last possible minute to churn out a paper or whip up a project and I earned a B or even a C, how could I possibly complain? How could anyone judge me? And let’s be real, no one was judging me. Well, except maybe my twelfth grade AP English teacher.
Unfortunately, I lived under the weight of perfectionism and procrastination for years before seeing it for what it is – a lie from the pit of hell trying to keep me from doing what God invites me to do. Sounds dramatic? Probably, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Think about it, the enemy can’t snatch me from God’s grasp. My salvation isn’t up for grabs. But my walk, my obedience, my light, my testimony – they can all be downplayed to the point where they are almost nonexistent if I am so focused on living out life perfectly that I become paralyzed and don’t answer God’s call.
It took me four years from getting the invitation from God to getting the planner printed. I am not a graphic designer by any means and the planner isn’t perfect. But I did the dang thang to the best of my ability. And while I’ve sought the input of others (still recovering from people-pleasing), ultimately God has been the editor and chief designer of this bad boy. And I gotta be honest I’m really proud of the work I’ve done with the planner. Not even as the creator, but more as a user of the planner. Never before have I consistently used a planner like I’ve used this one. When I’ve “missed” a day I don’t get in my head about it because the pages are steeped in grace.
I’ve included some photos of pages from the current edition so you can get a feel for the planner. Changes made for the second edition – got rid of the tabs, the front cover is a colorful image (no title), the front and back covers are laminated for improved sturdiness, and further improve sturdiness we went from a wire spiral to a plastic one. The second edition of A Guide To Grace-Filled Living: A Planner For Procrastinating Perfectionists® runs from September of 2019 through February of 2020 and includes monthly, weekly, and daily planning as well as space for goal setting, progress tracking, verses, and prayers. If you have questions about the planner please feel free to leave them in the comment section.
Updated 02.09.2020 to reflect the third edition changes. Planners are available from March 2020 to August 2020 as well as July 2020 to December 2020. You can purchase your copy or one as a gift here.