By: Kristen L. McNulty

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote that "life is a series of surprises." Those just might be some of the truest words ever written. Because aren't surprises the stories of our lives? We may come up with plan after plan, but more often than not it is the unexpected moments, the surprises, that chart our course.

This makes life hard sometimes because where as kids we associated surprises as being good things, as adults we discover just how much they can be the very opposite. Even things that are so-called "good" can be a pain when they pop up unexpected.

Suddenly where we once thought everything was secure, we're launched into a frenzy making contingency plans and wondering how this latest change effects our plans. Maybe the key to our problem with the surprises of life can be found in the last two words of the previous sentence: our plans.

While I believe there is nothing wrong with goal setting or planning in itself, there is a problem when we start holding on too tightly to those things. Because the plan we made as an outline has the potential to turn into a be all, end all, when it is clung too rightly to. That presents a problem because instead of watching for the road signs that God places in front of us we become so caught up in the course we laid that we end up getting lost. Or even worse, arriving at the wrong destination.

When we're found in that place instead of surprises being a pleasant thing, they turn into an annoyance, an inconvienence. Which is a terrible thing because often the biggest blessings in life and the most joy-filled experiences are found in the unexpected surprises along the road.

Really our attitiude should be the same as the writer of Proverbs who wisely knew that "we may roll the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall." (Proverbs 16:33).

When we do that; when we realize that God is the one who knows the way not only does it take the load of planning the journey from start to finish out of our hands, but it frees our minds and hearts up to enjoy the wonderful surprises that can be found and experienced along the way.

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This devotional was aired as a part of the Making A Difference Christian Radio Show.