We all make plans. Whether or not you consider yourself organizationally gifted, you must make some plans in order to navigate life.
I am not a planner. I’ve never had an easy time scheduling things, or being conscientious of things coming down the road. And then I became a parent. Then planning saved my life. Scheduled feedings provided me sleep. Scheduled grandma visits allowed the laundry to get done. Scheduled meals made sure we didn’t run out of food. And now, I’m proud to say that planning is a necessary and helpful part of my life.
But schedules are merely tools. Our plans were never meant to be strong enough to hold our hope. And yet, how often is our happiness tied up in the success of our plans? How often do we emotionally shipwreck when things don’t go as we imagined they should? How many times have we worked hard to achieve something that didn’t produce the results we desired? And the end result is bitterness, frustration and heartache.
At 1:30 this afternoon Micah is getting his stent removed at the LA Children’s Hospital. He was originally scheduled for this particular procedure July 5th, but at the last minute the doctor agreed to perform the surgery early in order for our family to go on a long anticipated family trip. Plans changed.
In this case, the change is allowing something exciting that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. We are getting time together as a family, a much desired vacation. And because of the perfect timing of this trip, we get to bring Cody – our foster friend – on an amazing cross-country road trip.
But depending on your perspective, this interruption is not that different from the interruptions of life that devastate, depress, and derail.
I’m not talking about wrongs intentionally committed against you by another person. That subject needs to be addressed by a wiser soul than me. I’m talking about those disruptive events in your life that can range from annoying to incredibly difficult; a flat tire on the way to work, an ill-timed sickness, a clogged toilet, spilt milk. Those things that you cannot control that upset the “normal” or “expected” plans of your day. We all encounter interruptions. But something I have noticed is, that those things that you wrongly feel were within your ability to forecast or prevent are usually the things that hurt the most.
If only I had followed my gut instinct. If only I had made nutrition a higher goal in my life. If only I had better trained my child. If only I had looked both ways before turning left…
The thing about hindsight is that it isn’t possible. It is a lie. If each of us were able to see back in time we all would be wiser decision-makers. But we are finite. We each must use our best judgement to make the best decisions possible, plan the best rout to get there, then proceed with a hopeful and yet flexible attitude.
We all want to believe in the illusion that we are able to do more than we can. Surely I can have the fulfillment of at least half of my dreams. Aren’t I entitled to at least a small amount of happiness and fulfillment?
Interruptions are a good thing. A necessary thing. A reality. We are not in control. Our plans are little more than a self-concocted, personal motivational tool. Disruptions in our lives are guaranteed. When our plans go awry, we are reminded that we are human. When we fail to achieve our goals our character is exposed to the corrosive or refining force of disappointment. When hopes are dashed, our cracks are exposed, and what distinguishes one person from another is how they diagnose those deficiencies in themselves.
This is my time to plan. I don’t know how today’s procedure will go, so I’m planning for the best. I am driving my 4-year-old back to a hospital that scares him so that his doctor can complete a process they began only 3 short weeks ago. They will be looking inside him with cameras to evaluate the success of his last surgery and they will remove the small prosthetic tube that has enabled his ureter to heal properly. I hope for success, I prepare as best I can for all the variables, then I move forward. But right now, I am laboring hard to remember, that my hope cannot be supported on the expectation that things will go flawlessly. The plan has no power to secure my son’s well-being. I must make plans, but hope? That belongs on Jesus. I hang my hope on Him, who is more than able to carry me and Micah both.
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 24-15