Yesterday, I had set aside some time to work on our trip to Europe. If you missed that big announcement, my man has blessed me with a trip to France and Italy for our 50-30-50 year (two 50th birthdays and a 30th anniversary!). Let’s just say that Mama might be a little bit excited. All the big stuff is booked, but we were uncertain about some of the activity that the travel agent suggested, so I wanted to look into it myself.

I am a big travel planner. I usually book all of our travel and make all the arrangements, finding cool stuff to do and getting the most ‘bang for the buck.’ I’m actually pretty good at it. But, as much as we travel, we’ve never gone to Europe and it’s been on my bucket list for a sweet forever. I’ve thought about it so much over the years, that the idea of it has sort of taken on a life of its own. So, as I was searching through lo, the many, MANY tour sites and fun-stuff-to-do opportunities, I was a little overwhelmed by it. I found myself checking every single one of them through TripAdvisor, because I didn’t want to travel all that way and spend all that money to have it be a bust. I want the perfect itinerary, so our days can be perfect and we will have the best trip to Europe that has ever been taken by anyone in the history of the world. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

As Kevin and I were eating dinner last night, he asked if I had found anything interesting in my search, and if we had a few things booked. I launched into a comparison of four different types of private tours of Vatican City, and what they all offered, while he stared back at me with that glazed-over expression usually reserved for meetings with potential hires who are discovered to actually have no potential at all in his industry. When I was done, he calmly took out his phone and typed in “private tours of the Vatican.” Then, he clicked on the first one offered up by the Great and Powerful Google and said, “What about this one?”

I rolled my eyes, took the phone and read it. It sounded great. I sent myself the link and then changed the subject, but there was a part of all this that hasn’t left my mind: I came very close to planning myself completely OUT of the trip of my dreams.

Over-planning can choke the life right out of, well…life.

With excessive planning comes expectation, and a tendency to strangle yourself with the itinerary or schedule you’ve created. And if you should somehow mess up that schedule, you’re a mess, too, because it hasn’t gone according to plan and has now left you disappointed because it hasn’t lived up to your expectation. Seriously, am I not going to fully experience the work of Michelangelo in St Peter’s Basilica, because I have a tour guide waiting at the Colosseum? Or should I miss simply lingering over a glass of wine with my husband and soaking in the local color, because of a dinner reservation at an “important” restaurant across the city?

I’m thankful I got a little perspective knocked into me, because it’s what happens between the plans we make that constitutes real living. If you think about it, it’s the unexpected things, the interruptions that God allows, that tend to make the most memories and teach us the greatest lessons. Getting caught up in our own plans can cause us to miss it all. I don’t know about you, but I, for one, don’t want that. Not in my trip, and, certainly, not in my life.


We humans keep brainstorming options and plans,but God’s purpose prevails.” Proverbs 19:21 MSG

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 ESV

Mortals make elaborate plans,but God has the last word.” Proverbs 16:1 MSG