I’ve had some brilliant plans for my life. Finish high school, go to college, get my degree, travel the world, get a book published, star in my very own melodrama, own a baby elephant, break the world record for number of cartwheels done in a row, be in a Harry Potter movie, fall in love, get married… All before the ripe age of twenty-three, of course. The issue with my plans though… well, they’ve never really worked out the way I thought they would. At least not in the details.

Twenty-three has come and gone, and though I have ticked off some of my “plans”, many of them seemed to have been blown off course… and some have been shipwrecked all together (I’m looking at you Harry Potter).

When I begin to realize my plans aren’t going to work, I have a penchant for, well, freaking out. I cry. I hole up in my room and allow any introvert tendencies I possess take over. I eat entire packages of Oreos. I run away. Usually with more Oreos. I call my mom a couple hundred times and whine about why life isn’t fair and why I am a big failure at everything, because if I had been more this or that, none of this would have happened… And I would OBVIOUSLY be sitting in a yacht somewhere in Europe with my baby elephant. And I CLEARLY would have been born in England the decade before Harry Potter was a thing. (At least by these rants I have shown that I evidently already star in my very own melodrama…)

I’m not blathering on to make the point that planning is bad. However, I have learned that when life doesn’t fulfill my expectations, my knee-jerk reaction is despair and mourning, or overcompensation.

For example, some of my relationships have not gone according to plan. Without intending to, I have since found myself building walls and hiding behind fabricated guards in an attempt to keep relationship failure from happening again.

That situation didn’t work out according to how I wanted? No problem. I will run so far in the other direction that my plans cannot fail in this way ever again. Instead of asking God what He wants to do, I will give up that plan all together because it is too scary to ever be picked back up again by me.

Or maybe you feel called to something. Seven years ago I felt called to go to college and get my degree. Did this plan work out? Yes. Did it work out the way I thought it necessarily would? No. There were some serious ups and downs, upsets, losses, and hard lessons learned. It wasn’t easy. There were times when I had no idea if I was where I was supposed to be, studying what I was meant to… because it didn’t feel like I thought it would. It wasn’t comfortable anymore. It wasn’t glamorous.

Half way through school, I switched majors, I switched directions, I even switched out of an off-campus co-op program. My mom got cancer and I was not living at home. How could this possibly be part of the plan? This was NOT in MY 4-year college arrangement. I was supposed to go to school to become a photographer, to live and breathe art… and maybe fall in love. I was supposed to have lots of friends and not feel isolated in my stress and worry. Did I hear God right? The plan just seemed so wrong now.

But in time I found that just because the plan’s details didn’t match my expectations did NOT mean the whole plan was wrong.

It did not mean that I misunderstood God’s direction or that He was allowing my life to spiral out of control. God rarely gives us all the details. Mostly because if He did we would invariably flip out, lose our minds and hide under the bed (with Oreos). But God is IN the details. It doesn’t mean that you’ve necessarily made a bad decision or messed something up when your plans don’t meet your expectations. It could mean that God wants to teach you something. He is always refining us, molding us, guiding us, and tweaking our plans to look more like His.

Sometimes I wonder why God can’t just follow my script and give me everything I want. But then I look back on those times of uprooted expectations, of plans blown off course, and I remember that in the shipwrecks I clung to God harder than ever. I asked more questions. I sought His opinion about my life and decisions like never before.  I was more open to HIS plan because the details of my plan did not work out.  I was forced to realize that I had been clinging to what I wanted more than I had been clinging to God.

It doesn’t necessarily mean we should give up our dreams or plans in their entirety. Your dreams have a purpose. But it does mean that we must realize that we are not God and we need to trust Him with the details of the plan. Hold them loosely. We need to be flexible.

I need God to teach me what I must know in order to live out His purposes for my life a little better. Even if that means altering my plans, shoveling out my own selfish ideas, and leaning on the courage He gives in order to try again when things don’t work out.  I have begun to realize that my life will always consist of choosing to trust God’s plan more than what I think I want in the moment.

Because as legendary as I think my plans are, His are way better… because He understands the details and knows their purpose. He planned the purpose. He planned my purpose. He has planned yours.

 

Photo by Coleen York

Coleen York

Coleen York is the founder and editor of She Has Worth. She works as a freelance copywriter and editor, so feel free to hire her so she has employment. Additionally, she enjoys being outside, traveling, dinosaurs, art, Oreos, slurpees, and coffee (but not all together, that would probably be gross). Read more about Coleen in the "Our Team" section of She Has Worth.

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