What are your plans?
It’s a seemingly simple question that we’ve asked and answered countless times throughout our lives, many times in a casual sense…
Friday afternoons, it’s the typical question among coworkers: “Got any plans tonight?”
Yes, and they include pizza and a movie that I’ll fall asleep halfway through watching.
When we’ve somehow survived another dark, frigid Wisconsin winter: “Got any plans for the summer?”
Yes, I have picture-perfect plans of long days in the sun, endless fun activities with the family and reading all the books I have on my list out on the patio. But wait, where did the summer go and what happened to getting through all the books on my nightstand? (Oh yeah, I kept falling asleep trying to read them.)
Sadly, even the low-hanging fruit, the casual plans, can be hard to grasp. Other things get in the way whether they are exhaustion from a long week or simply letting time slip away.
And then there are the big plans, the ones that can affect the course your life will take. What are your plans after college? What’s your 5-year plan? How do you plan to raise your child?
Once upon a time, I had an answer to all of these questions, or at least I thought I did. I thought I would graduate and land a solid job right off the bat. I thought that as committed as I was to searching for and applying to job after job, I wouldn’t have a problem. Thankfully a job came along, but it wasn’t the first one I applied to, or the third, or even the twentieth (hello, recession). It was a completely unexpected and out of the blue opportunity that came to me … almost like a reminder that I’m not actually in control of my own future, hmm. And now the temp job that I was happy to land, but nervous that I wouldn’t get to keep has turned into a fulfilling career.
There was a time that I was completely and utterly in love … with the absolute wrong man. When we broke up, it shattered all the expectations I had for my future because I thought he would be in it. All of a sudden, it seemed like such a big part of my life for the three years I was in that relationship was a total waste of time. And then one day I met a man who liked racecars and wrestling and wore his heart on his sleeve, and to be honest was nothing like the man I pictured myself falling for. But I did. And my life with him has turned out to be filled with more happiness and greater blessings than I possibly could have imagined for myself.
While pregnant with my son, I had visions of myself snuggling my little baby and nursing him at night, nourishing his little body and enjoying the incredible bond between mother and son. Well, two weeks of sleepless nights that saw me crying in frustration and my newborn son crying with hunger later, I had to let go of that perfect vision in my head. No matter what I tried, my baby wouldn’t latch and attempting to nurse him made me feel like a complete and utter failure. I didn’t expect to have to exclusively pump to feed my baby, but that’s what worked for me and that’s what kept my little boy happy and his belly full.
What are your plans? Overwhelming uncertainty? Heartache? Unforeseen obstacles? I’m guessing that none of these top your list; they certainly didn’t top mine.
The Bible itself is full of examples of believers and unbelievers alike experiencing the unexpected in their lives.
- Mary was planning to marry Joseph and live a quiet life with him, I’m sure she didn’t expect to give birth to the Son of God.
- David planned to live the simple life of a shepherd, but he turned out to be a most unexpected king to his people.
- Paul once planned on hunting down and killing every follower of Christ he could find, but God turned him into the Apostle Paul who made it his mission to spread God’s word.
And yet for all of the wonderful examples of God’s perfect plan in the Bible and even in my own life, I still find myself having to learn the same lesson over and over, to trust Him.
He will make your path straight … somehow we imagine a straight path to be one that is free from bumps, hills and rough terrain.
The truth is that the road we have to traverse in this life as followers of Christ will have its ups and downs and we might get stuck in a rut or two that will take us completely by surprise. But in keeping our hearts focused, that path, no matter how uncertain it is at times, will always lead us straight to Him.
The life I thought I would be leading 10 years ago, even 5 years ago, looks nothing like the life I’m living now. Some things have turned out far better than expected. Some things have turned out to be far more difficult to achieve and sustain than I would have thought. But it’s the life God had planned for me even back when I thought I had it all figured out. My future will most certainly be full of the unexpected, but as long as I walk that path with Him, I’m happy to let my own imperfect plans fall by the wayside.