What do you do when things don’t go as planned?
The beginning of a new year is a time to start out fresh, to “hit the ground running” with renewed energy, to make a dent in your “to do” list and start reaching your goals.
Unless it’s not.
So, I had great plans for where I’d be 9 days into this new year. I was supposed to have cleaned my house, organized my files, and gotten a kick start on growing my “writing platform,” not to mention have at least another chapter of Book 2 under my belt.
One of my goals is to blog weekly with regularly scheduled, timely posts. This blog is a small attempt to keep that goal.
But instead of doing any of those things I mentioned above, I am right now sitting at my parents’ dining room table in my sweats. And not only have I not done any of those things on my list … I haven’t even taken down my tiny little Christmas tree. And that was the only Christmas decoration I put up this year.
Yes, I know it’s January 9th.
My new year has not started out according to plan. And it’s not even a case of switching from Plan A to Plan B. I think I’m on about Plan W by now.
New Year’s Eve morning, I awoke with a stuffy, runny nose and sneezing. That progressed to what felt like a full-on head cold, and I was in bed New Year’s Eve night by 11 p.m. No, I didn’t even stay awake to see the ball drop – very unusual for me.
I spent the next couple of days doing much of nothing but lying on the couch binge watching a favorite, old TV show. Back to work on Tuesday, and on Wednesday morning, I woke up with a strange rash on my stomach and back.
A trip to the allergist confirmed my fears: shingles. Never had that before, although like most of my generation, I had chicken pox as a young child. I was sent home with a big bottle of large pills to take every 5 hours for the next 7 days.
Not knowing exactly what to expect with this virus, I went to my parents’ house to recuperate and got snowed in for the weekend.
I’m so very thankful that my bout has been on the milder side and I’m now on the mend.
But it’s just a reminder that life doesn’t always go according to plan. In fact, it rarely hits anything resembling a plan. Rather, it seems to be a series of ups and downs, mountain top experiences and deep valleys of woe. You never know what might pop up around the next bend in the road.
A friend and I have been discussing this fact recently, and he’s reminded me that life was never intended to be smooth sailing. Life is hard and filled with things that test us, try us, but ultimately, improve us.
The raging waters of our life journey are meant to rub off our rough edges and make us stronger while also making us more acutely aware of our human weakness. We are reminded that we are not meant to go through life alone, and that in fact, we are never alone. God is walking each step with us. For He alone is the one who knows what lies around the next bend, and what we endure today will prepare us for what’s ahead.
Life isn’t meant to make us happy. It is to make us holy. More like Jesus Christ, our ultimate and perfect example.
Does that mean we should throw out all of our plans? Should we just ramble through life with no direction, no goals, no dreams? Absolutely not. The old saying goes, “If you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” Life is meant to be lived with goals and dreams. But when Plan A becomes Plan W, we must learn to roll with it, to adjust and adapt, to change direction based on the new information at hand, and forge ahead.
The only way to prepare for the next bend in the road is to expect the unexpected, knowing that everything that comes our way has a Divine order to it, even if we don’t understand how or why.
Overall, this has been a good time of relaxing and enjoying my parents’ company, of being loved on and nurtured. A reminder that I need some down time and companionship once in a while.
Just a little detour on my way to reaching my goals, but they will still be there when I am well and can get back to them. After all, who cares if my Christmas tree is still up? It’s not bothering any one but me, and if I hadn’t told you, you would’ve never known. Maybe learning to take things in stride and not getting stressed out over things I cannot control is one way God is teaching me to achieve Balance in my life. (Remember that goal?)
What about you? Can you think of a time when things went wrong? Did you learn a valuable lesson through it? How do you handle the unexpected? I’d love to hear from you, so please share by leaving a comment below.