By: Kristen L. McNulty
Sometimes in life our plans don't quite work out the way we thought they would. Whether the cause is divorce, the economy, our job situation or even illness, the results are the same.
You make plans for your life, only to find out those plans aren't working out quite the way you thought they would.
In my case I found myself too tired to tired due to illness to carry them all out. I'd make plans with family or friends, but because I'd be too exhuasted, yI'd have to bail out. And those are only the small instances. Then came the days where I was so tired I was having a hard time focusing and getting my day to day done. It can be a terribly frusterating and overwhelming experience.
For me it got to the point back in 2007 that I had to drop out of school because my sleep problems robbed me of the memory I needed to both store and recall the information I was supposed to be learning. After spending years of my life working towards this very degree, to suddenly have to give it up was a tough pill to swallow. I spent many days and nights questioning why God would allow this to happen? Why couldn't He restore even part of my memory, I mean, this is the guy who parted the Red Sea, certainly there are some extra brain cells He could throw my way?
I'll admit this situation got to me more than the sleepless nights did. I could handle not sleeping, what I couldn't handle (or so I thought) was the consequences these conditions had on my plans.
For months I struggled to accept this reality. And the breaking point came when I had to start negoitationing to pay back a student loan for a degree that would never hang on my wall. Talk about a slap in the face and so the questions continued.
But at some point in this journey, a slow realization started to form. I began to realize that the reason I was having such a hard time accepting this course of events was because of two words that should have never existed in my vocalubalry and that was the phrase "my plans".
You see, as Christians there should be no "my plans" instead it should all be about "His plans". If I believe that God loves me and I believe that all things work together for the God of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28), then I should also be able to accept when life doesn't go according to what I thought as a good thing. Or better yet, a God thing.
I'm not saying quit when the going gets tough, but when God is obviously closing a door that we thought would remain open, usually there's is a reason for it. As a friend of mine said to me: "if God wanted you in school, He'd give you the brains to do it." And she wasn't insulting my IQ, but rather was pointing out that if I didn't have the memory to study for exams anymore and if exams were required for school and if I'd done everything possible to improve my sleep (and thus my memory) and still I was in this place, then it was pretty obvious that I was trying to walk through a door that had been nailed shut. And if God nails a door closed, then I need to take refuge in the fact that He knows what He's doing.
And that alone was the source of my struggle, while in my mind I knew the Romans 8:28 promise, in my heart I hadn't fully embraced it. I still somehow couldn't believe that having 3/4 of a degree could be part of a good plan.
But now I find myself looking at things a little differently. When I look at the empty wall in my office where that degree was supposed to hang, no longer do I feel an emptyness inside. Instead I see a plan whose purpose I'm beginning to see, but whose ending I can't even imagine.
So what are you going to do when your plans unravel and become unfinished? You could spend your whole lifetime trying to put back together pieces that won't ever fit, or you can instead surrender your life and your plans to the One who knows your life's journey from beinging to end. That's faith and that's the kind of life we're supposed to be living. To close with the wise words of Martin Luther King Jr: "Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
Reprint rights available on request. Email the author at email@example.com.
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