When The Original Plan is the Best Plan

We spent the month of June doing some house renovations. As the girls grow and play differently, our playroom also changed. Housed in the formal dining room, the playroom sat at the center of our home for over three years. I could read on the couch and watch the girls play or make dinner and peak in on them from the kitchen. It was an ideal spot for creativity and imagination.

It was also always a mess and a source of stress as I tried to find a space of peace in our home. Play, by nature, isn’t tidy or organized but it felt like an overwhelming task to keep it presentable. We knew that one day we wanted to finish a large and mostly unused storage room in the basement but that was in the future. Until a friend asked, Why not just make the unfinished space into the playroom?

IMG_9066I won’t go into all the details, but that’s just what we did. We cut a hole in the basement wall, opening the space to the finished part. My dad painted a bright and welcoming mural on the concrete wall. We covered the floor in mats and moved all the toys downstairs. It’s still an overflowing mess but it’s out of sight and feels more contained. IMG_9655

We changed the playroom into a library/study. I love that the center of our home is filled with books. We kept the legos and blocks upstairs and it’s still clearly a home with kids – an entire bookshelf is devoted to their books. But it’s also much more reflective of the grownups who live here, too.

I had a vision for the paint color for this new study for more than nine months. This was a hope and vision and I kept that color swatch taped to the wall to remind me that one day, the playroom would be reclaimed.

IMG_9703We went to Lowe’s and I told the woman behind the paint counter exactly what I wanted: One gallon of light yellow and one gallon of that same yellow, mixed 50% lighter. She looked at the swatch and said, That’s too complicated. You’d better choose a darker color. What about this? She pulled a swatch from right above mine and suggested using the lightest color on that as our contrast. Quickly convinced that my vision wouldn’t work, I agreed, we went home, and painted a light orange under the chair rail and my envisioned yellow above it.

Immediately, I knew this wasn’t what I had imagined. It looked like an orange and yellow wall rather than a yellow and slightly lighter yellow wall. I thought maybe I just needed to live with this new color scheme and I’d fall in love. I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about it; I had my parents come and we held artwork against the new color. I knew I couldn’t live with it.

So, we went back, bought the paint I originally wanted. (This time, I talked with a woman who said, Yep! We can do this!) Frank spent another day painting and immediately, I loved the color. I saw my vision appear on the wall and knew I would love spending time in this room.

As I rearranged furniture, hung pictures, and finally settled into a chair to read a book in this space, I knew I had made the right choice in repainting.

Sometimes, we do need to live with something unexpected and it turns out better. This happened with the paint color in our bedroom and I love the unexpected color so much more than the one I had thought I wanted. Sometimes, in life things go unexpectedly and, in hindsight, those switches in plans are so much better and richer.

But sometimes, we need to fight for our original vision. Sometimes, when we’ve thought and planned for months, that path is confirmed and set. And it’s ok to go back and readjust to make sure we’re on that right path.

As a planner, I need to learn to hold plans loosely, to let the journey take me to unexpected places, and to remember that I am not in control of every single detail of my life.

I also need to remember to trust my own instinct and to remember that I am an intentional person. That I rarely make quick or spontaneous decisions and so, when things don’t go as planned, I need to pause to really evaluate if it is a good new direction or if I need to recalibrate.

I love our new spaces. Right now, the girls are busy in their playroom while I write. The other day, I read while Bea spent an hour building a castle in the study. Our house feels more calm and intentional. And I learned that I can trust my well-planned vision.

How do you balance holding your plans loosely and trusting your instinct? Has there been a time when you’ve needed to recalibrate back to the original path?

20 thoughts on “When The Original Plan is the Best Plan

  1. I have experienced times when I thought I knew best. Yet, God showed me that my plans were not His plans. Thanking God for His mercy and patience with me. 🙂

    1. I’m learning to really pause and listen. Often God shifts my plans – but I’m also learning to trust the original, even when it may not seem easiest.

  2. It seems I can be easily talked out of following my instincts. Most of the time it’s me talking myself out of it. But the thing is, my instincts are often right. I also need to trust God for the gifts he’s given me, like with discernment, instead of allowing self-doubt to rule. I loved your example, Annie. Henry is a much better paint color person than I am. He’s pretty amazing at so many things.

    1. Love that Henry is your color guy! 😉 Isn’t it funny how quickly we can let others convince us to do something else? I’d never met this woman before and yet I trusted that she knew my space and vision. Such a reminder to be confident in my own instincts!

  3. Loved the story you used to share your thoughts. On big decisions, I spend lots of time in prayer before making the choice. Then I relax and follow God.

  4. I love this because most things I read is about how if something doesn’t go your way, it means something better is going to happen. While that’s great it’s not 100% true. Bob Goff says sometimes when a door closes, we just need to kick it down. Love your post, thank you for the great read.

    Ps- Their playroom looks so full of love.

    1. I think that’s what get me. I always lean on the side of “God must be teaching me something different.” But I’m learning that God has also taught me to trust what I’ve learned and to lean into my own faith. I love that Bob Goff quote – it’s true! 🙂

  5. Dear Annie!

    Thank you for sharing your thought in WHEN THE ORIGINAL PLAN IS THE BEST PLAN – it was a great read.

    Those are some lovely pictures of the building process that you’ve included in your blog post.

    You wrote: “Sometimes, we do need to live with something unexpected and it turns out better.” That’s a valid perspective. It happens more often than not that things don’t go as planned but all works out somehow, and usually better than we anticipated.

    I do not do much planning, apart from the big picture 🙂 I guess I’m trusting my instincts and combine if with experience on what has worked for me in life.

    God bless!
    Edna Davidsen

    1. Yes! I usually live with a big picture vision for a while before acting so those details come together quickly. It’s such a lesson in remembering to trust my instincts and what I’ve learned from God.

  6. Love the rooms! I liked what you said about sometimes flowing with the unexpected, and then other times fighting for our initial intention. I think what’s difficult is having discernment of which to go with at times. I guess that’s when it comes down to seeking God and trusting Him with the details. 🙂 Thanks for posting!

    1. I’m learning to trust that instinct that God has given me… I so often assume that I need to find a new path but that’s not always the case, is it?

  7. This is so true, Annie…”Sometimes, we do need to live with something unexpected and it turns out better.” As well as this, “But sometimes, we need to fight for our original vision.” Both are true and apply to things in life. May we learn to discern when to use one over the other.

    1. I often wish God would just boom the answers from the sky! 😉 But I’m learning that bumps in the road don’t necessarily mean I’m going in the wrong direction…

  8. I secretly look forward to when Hunter can independently play in his own space. He does now but he needs my constant attention. But I know in the next few years we will have to reconvert spaces we already have and that task seems daunting.

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