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Letting Go of My Plans
With my whole heart, I love planning. And perhaps more than that, I love surprises. If we’re going on a trip, I will read up and research for hours, eagerly exploring all the options and finding all the must-do things in the area. If we’re moving (which we are very soon!), I have a vision board in my brain for every nook and cranny. And any chance I get to combine planning with a surprise… I’m all in.
Sometimes my surprises and plans work out perfectly. Like that time I organized a scuba diving outing for our honeymoon in a foreign country, or the trip to BC and surprise drop in on my sweet friend, Corina. Or how about the sneaky, personal gifts, anonymous drop offs, and carefully orchestrated get-togethers that feel like a lot to pull off. I love these moments. When it all works out, I come away feeling delighted in my planning prowess - and convinced that my skill set in this area is definitely one of my more impressive abilities.
But, if I’m honest, many of my plans have not worked out. For example, there’s the prepaid hotel that mysteriously disappeared before we got there (taking my money with it), the thing I dropped off in a stealthy location was never found, and the perfectly planned vacation flopped at every turn. Just to name a few.
Here’s the kicker - the plan I held for my life - whoa. What a miss.
If I could visit with my 13 year old self, she would tell me about her carefully orchestrated plan. She would confidently declare a step by step agenda for the next 70 years, and with a smile and a nod, she would point out the many beautiful vistas glowing in the future. She knew the plan, and it was brilliant.
Ugh. We know how this goes.
Her plan does not look at all like her reality. If I could tell her anything, it would be this - hold those plans loosely sweet girl. Like, really loosely.
The bumps and bruises were not part of the plan. The hills and deep valleys dotting the journey have taken me by surprise more times than not. Let’s be honest, our lives do not usually go according to our plan.
But here’s what I’ve learned in the letting go of the hoped for journey:
Easy roads do not build competent travellers
Valleys make the vistas more meaningful
It's in the letting go we are freed to embrace the plan God has for us.
Sometimes when I look back on my younger self, I feel sad about the unwelcome surprises, and broken plans - the road has thrown her a lot of curve balls. And then, when I lift my eyes, when I take my focus off the broken plans, and stand at the feet of the One Who holds the future - the Ultimate Planner - I am in awe.
Every single time, without exception, His plans are higher, and so much better than mine. He has the best plans, wrapped up in the most incredible surprises.
Our steep climbs, sharp turns, and painful wipeouts are not a surprise to Him, and at no point does He leave us to travel alone. In fact, it’s in the changed plans that He reminds us of His nearness, and His goodness. And His love.
So, I hold my plans loosely - knowing that my Leader is in the business of surprising His kids with a game-changing agenda. And I don’t want my limited vision to interfere with His grand plan.