In this world there are two types of people: the planners and the poppers.
Some people thrive on having every second of an event (or a day) scheduled and accounted for. They love checking things off of lists, and a perfect day is one in which every item on that list has been accomplished.
Other people blossom when the lists are blown out of the window. They navigate through their days by following ideas and whims that pop up, and a perfect day is one where they have followed a surprise path to the end and left the other boring trails behind.
Actually, there is a third type of person that falls somewhere in between these two extremes, and has the ability to mix organization with spontaneity. I think I fall into this category….as long as the whims that pop up ONLY pop up during my carefully planned “spontaneous times”!
I do enjoy having plans though, for a couple of reasons. It gives me a sense of security to know that if something goes wrong (because you know that things will pop up and throw your life-plan out of the window) there are steps set up to help get life back to normal. In other words, I enjoy having somewhat of a plan with occasionally pleasant “pops” of unplanned fun whimsy. But, I like to have “crisis prevention plans” available when those spontaneous pop-ups are not so fun things that could (or do) derail all the good I have worked for.
There’s been a lot of buzz lately about something called “The X Plan”. It’s an ingenious idea that gives your kid a way to escape a bad situation. Basically, if a kiddo finds his or herself somewhere they know they shouldn’t be or they feel uncomfortable, they text their parent (or adult of their choosing) and say something totally innocuous such as “I’m here,” or “Can I stay the night with Sally?” or anything that they would normally text their parents without arousing suspicion. Then, they send another text with the single letter ‘x’ in it. At that point the parent waits a few minutes and texts back something like, “Hey, something happened and I need you. Come home now and I’ll explain later.” (If the kid isn’t driving yet then the parent gets their location and tells them to wait outside). Here’s the catch: the parent then promises not to lecture or dole out punishment. The kid is commended for their decision to leave a potentially compromising situation.
I LOVE this idea. You don’t have to use an ‘x’…you can use a special phrase or emoji that does the same trick. This is a great way to have a plan in place that allows your child to retain their developing autonomy but have a safe way out if they need it. This is a plan that covers a BUNCH of possible scenarios and presents steps that help keep people safe and keep life ok. I think all teens and tweens should rehearse it with their parents so they can implement it if needed. That way, when the unexpected NOT GOOD situation pops up for a kiddo, there’s a plan in place to effectively deal with it!
Now that I have the kids taken care of, the other idea I love is for myself. It’s more of a “crisis-reaction” plan than a preventative one….but it does stop things from getting out of control. We all know how life goes; it will be sneakily gliding along giving you the sense that all is beautiful and well in the world….and then BAM! You find yourself careening down a super-steep muddy tunnel filled with jagged rocks and sewer water. There was no warning, no time for preparation, no inkling that something amiss was about to occur. You didn’t have any chance to prepare-and what’s happened has happened. It can’t be changed. Your life has just taken a drastic turn that popped up out of nowhere and slammed you into a state of total incomprehensible shock. Sometimes you don’t even have words to explain it, much less effectively pray about it. That’s where this plan comes in: keeping in line with “The ‘x’ Plan” idea from above, this one is called The W Plan.
We all have different circles of friends in our lives: school friends, family friends, lunch friends, workout buddies, kid’s-friend’s-parents friends, neighbors, co-workers….all kinds of circles. Within those groups I’ll bet you can name a small handful of people who you know will stop everything they are doing and drop to their knees to pray for whatever you need. They won’t talk to others about what’s going on, they won’t offer a quick sympathy text and go on about their days, and they won’t hesitate to do whatever you’re going to need done (even when you don’t have any idea what that is). THESE people are your Warriors.
Make a group chat in your phone. Name it “Warriors” (or whatever you prefer) and save it. Then, when the very ground drops away from underneath you, text them. Ask them to pray. Be as specific as you want, but be real. Put it out there and have faith that these people will hold up your arms when you simply cannot.
When you find yourself in the ER with the scariest news you’ve ever heard, text them.
When the phone call you’ve just received has left you shaking on your bedroom floor, text them.
When the person who has your heart just purposefully crushed it between their palms, text them.
When you encounter a need so huge that you have no idea how to handle it, text them.
When you’re at the literal end of your rope and you don’t know what to even ask for, text them.
God didn’t make us to live this life alone. There will be points that we need help…and He has given us resources to BE that help. Sometimes when things are overwhelming it’s hard to know exactly what we should do. When those things happen suddenly and we need immediate help, it’s a really good idea to have a plan to fall back on. If there’s a situation that we need to escape, having the ‘x’ plan in our arsenal gives us a possible means to make a getaway. When we slam into a (very solid) invisible wall that knocks us over, the ‘w’ plan provides the power of prayer to hold us on our feet until we can stand alone again.
(Note: if and when our kiddo uses the ‘x’ plan on us…we may need the ‘w’ plan to execute it well!!!)