Plans. We all make them. From the time we are young we’re taught that it’s important to have them. We plan our schedules in junior high and high school so we can get into a good college. We plan ahead so we can help pay for said college. And jobs. In truth, we start planning for our future in kindergarten… those gifts and talents or aptitudes we have help direct us toward the types of careers we’ll have when we grow up. Then there’s getting married and having a family… talk about planning! Plans are a really big deal.
Of course we’re also encouraged to dream. Dreams are those things we hope will come to fruition. We often combine our plans and our dreams and work to achieve both. When that happens we are really happy and feel pretty satisfied.
One of the things I struggle with, however, is the fact that as much as we’re encouraged to dream and plan we are rarely taught how to deal when things DON’T go as expected. You know, like when you’re playing a good game of ball and all of a sudden someone throws you a javelin. Wait, what?!
I’ve been struggling with that lately. Just when I think I’m starting to get a handle on life I’m thrown another curveball and, quite frankly, I’m kind of getting tired of it. It’s exhausting to always be uncertain and to really have no idea what the future holds. It’s especially frustrating when, because of the constant course-changing, I can’t really plan anything. Or, rather, I don’t want to for fear of being disappointed again.
Can you relate?
And, I’m going to be very vulnerable with you here, it makes me question what God is doing. Why would He have allowed me to have such clear, ordained-by-Him plans (you can see those here: https://transparencyproject.net/?s=dreaming ) only to uproot me and have me start from scratch? Or for me to finally find something that makes me feel like I’m moving forward only to realize that the timing is once again not right? Or that my dreams and desires just aren’t going to happen anytime soon? It’s just so confusing. And disappointing.
We live in a society that has taught us that we can have pretty much whatever we want if we put our minds to it. With hard work and dedication and maybe even a kickstarter campaign, anything is possible, right? WRONG.
The thing is, whether we like it or not, GOD IS STILL IN CONTOL.
The other thing? His plans are better than ours. Even if it means we have to wait awhile. Sometimes a LONG while, for those things we’ve hoped for to come to fruition.
Waiting is hard.
Example: FIVE years ago I began praying that God would open the door to get one of my kids help for school. (That story is long so I won’t go into details here, especially since it involves another kid who wouldn’t be too happy if I shared it) It wasn’t until October of this year that action was finally taken and all parties were on the same page to get the ball rolling. FIVE LONG YEARS.
I don’t understand why we had to wait, but I do trust that God brought the right people to us at the right time to help in the right way. Had I tried to force my way through closed doors would only result in a really bad headache and perhaps some bruising. It was better that I didn’t force it.
Then there’s the whole dreaming thing. There was a time I dreamed of being a news anchor. Um, didn’t happen. Too many kids now to give that a shot (my whole salary would go to childcare AND someone else would be raising said children. Not awesome.). Then I really thought I’d end up in a certain role at my church… until we switched churches and everything changed. Not bad change, just change. And when change happens time and effort are required before comfort arrives. We’re getting there.
My dear friend told me once that “if we could see what God had planned for us, it would be exactly what we wanted“… even if those things aren’t what we expect or even hoped for. All of the challenges. All of the waiting. All of the hurt. All of the frustration. All of the joys.
All of it.
If we could see what His plans are for us from HIS eternal, far-reaching, all-encompassing perspective, we would agree with and be excited about every single one of them.
So right now, when I’m sitting here pondering “What on EARTH?!” and wrestling with the “But I thought…” and “How can this be?” and “What are you thinking?” types of questions, deep, deep in my heart I know that as much as I am resisting and throwing my little internal fits and being all dramatic (what, you don’t do that?), I really do trust God.
Because He has never left me. He has never forsaken me. He has never turned His back on me. He is patient with me. He is kind. He is loving. He is generous. Yes, He has allowed pain. But if He didn’t I would never, ever know the extent of His compassion. Yes, He has allowed suffering. If He didn’t, I would never know the extend of His mercy.
Or His grace. His wonderful, wonderful, completely undeserved grace.
So here’s the thing: In life we will have suffering. In life we will have joy. In life we will be so confused and overwhelmed that we don’t know what to do but wring our hands and cry (if you’re like me) or throw a tantrum (again, like me) or try to run away from it all (like me… clearly I have an inappropriate response habit here.), BUT GOD. IS. CONSTANT.
He never leaves us, even when we try to run.
He never turns His back on us, even when we stick our tongues out at Him in anger and rebellion.
He never shames us when we come back to Him with our heads hanging down, exhausted from the fight and weary from wandering.
HE JUST LOVES US. And loves us COMPLETELY.
I’m learning, albeit slowly, that I have a choice when my plans don’t go my way: I can throw a fit and be sad about it and wonder why God is “doing this to me” or I can take a deep breath and say, “Okay God, I don’t understand. But I trust you. I’m going to let you have this and follow you through it.”
I am tired from doing it my way. I have lots of bruises in my heart because of it. I’m working on trying to just breathe through the initial shock of these changes and those to come and say, “I trust you, Lord. I trust you.”