Tuesday, July 31, 2012

scrapping my plans

As I approach my senior year of college, there are two questions I hear on repeat.

Question #1: What are you going to do when you graduate?
Question #2: When are you getting married?

I’m not sure what people expect when they ask me these questions. Most are probably just trying to make conversation. But, others are genuinely interested in my plans for the future.

Either way, I’m sure neither group expects my simple, yet genuine, answer:

“I don’t know.”




If you know me at all, you know I’m always the girl with a plan. My notebook planner is completely full and beat up from daily—if not hourly—use. Before I can sleep each night, I must meticulously plan every moment of the following day. And, even now, my best friend and I are already planning exactly how we will decorate our new home this fall.

But for every three plans I make, two are sure to fail. And nothing frustrates me more than a failed plan.

However, Sunday morning the pastor made me rethink my attitude towards failed plans. He said successful plans are dangerous. They are dangerous because they make us proud.

How true is that? Man, I was proud of myself when my plans for Kay’s birthday fell right into place. I was also pretty proud to get the Editor-in-Chief position I have planned on applying for since freshman year—even with zero competition. And I’m still gloating about that state championship I planned on getting since 7th grade—even though I’m an old has-been now.

All of which is so dangerous because with that success can come the attitude of: “I’ve got this. I can do this on my own. I don’t need anyone’s help. I can handle anything that comes my way.”

We lose our sense of dependency on God, and in turn, start to push Him away. With each success we get farther and farther away until one failed plan drops us right back into His lap. Then you have a choice: Climb down even further to try and fix it all by yourself or let go of it all and hold on to Him in complete dependency.

It’s a lesson I’ve learned and am still learning the hard way. I’ve always heard the saying, “God laughs when we make plans,” but I’m certain this joke of His has gotten quite old when it comes to me. The proof:

{Summer after freshman year}
The plan: Get a job at a nice restaurant. Spend my days relaxing by the pool and my nights flirting with cute guys and making great tips. Save up my money for a beach vacation. And, make lots of weekend trips to see my college friends.

My reality: Got a job at a local gas station. Spent my days babysitting two kids who were absolutely wonderful but weren’t interested in going to a pool the temperature of bathwater {can’t say I blame them}. Spent my nights cooking up every piece of fried food imaginable and getting hit on by truckers.

{Summer after sophomore year}
The plan: Go work at a summer camp, preferably with my boyfriend, for half the summer. Spend the other half of my summer working at my dad’s office and basically doing whatever I wanted. And, of course, go to the beach.

My reality: Moved to Conway all by myself. Got a part-time job working for Belk which took away every single weekend of my summer. The few days I got off, I spent in Little Rock at my internship with Arkansas Baptist News Magazine. My life consisted of working, eating, exercising, sleeping, repeat. And, oh yeah, went eight weeks without seeing my boyfriend.

{Summer after junior year}
The plan: Get into a glamorous magazine internship program, move to New York, take journalism classes, and work as an intern for SELF magazine. Experience life for the first time in the big city. See the sites, discover the local hangouts, and of course, shop. Truly know what the word “independence” means.

My reality: Moved back home into my parents house. Got a job at the local bank, where the people are amazing but the work is filled to the brim with “numbers.” Doing nothing to enhance my journalism career, but learning all about the exciting world of loans and mortgages. On the bright side, I’m making lots of money to pay off my school bills, I’ve spent a lot of time with friends, and I’ve lost weight!

Not going to lie. All those failed plans brought lots of tears and frustration. After all, I worked hard for those things and I felt like I deserved them (or at least part of them). But I can honestly say that each and every time I found myself fully depending on God for all the answers. God used those summers to transform and change my life in remarkable ways. I do not regret a single part of “my reality.”

So when you ask me one of my two favorite questions, don’t be surprised when I’m hesitant to answer. I still have wants and dreams and desires, of course. But for now, I don’t have a plan mapped out for post-graduation. My only plan is to seek after God wholeheartedly and trust that He’ll turn my “I don’t know” into an amazing adventure of growth, transformation and Kingdom work.

How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.

~James 4:14-16

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