The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”
I am a planner. Not one who (typically) charts and graphs and lists, but one who subconsciously anticipates what will be next and acts accordingly.
But lately, I’ve found that this seems to be at odds with being human.
Take, for example, my life:
– leave work at 4:30 to be at dinner by 5:30; insert construction and a stalled car blocking a whole lane of traffic; arrive to dinner at 6:15.
– book a flight to Cleveland for late February; insert snowstorm; drive home s l o w l y.
– set aside time to write a chapter on father involvement; insert coworker’s travels and massive federal contract deadlines; end in chaos.
Obviously, these are the trivial, daily changes that we all adjust to (perhaps while also cursing the traffic, weather, federal government). But this season has also featured lots of the slam-on-the-brakes detours that leave me reeling and wondering when life got so out of my control.
– my grandfather died
– my roommate is moving to nashville
– i now spend half my time at work doing research about preschool, not families
– i’m single 4 years after graduation
– my closest friends live in six different states
It’s all outside of my control. The choices of others collide with what I thought was next. And it’s easy to become jaded, cynical. Why go to all the trouble of caring and becoming emotionally involved if one day the rug will be pulled out with no explanation?
But then, while on the floor, in the dirt, wondering what became of my best-laid plans, I remember: This life is not about me. I am part of a huge story, spanning history, in which my life is not the central plot. I trust my life to the Narrator, knowing that He sees all that is unfolding, and that somehow, in some way, this is His best plan, even for me.
There is, as always, an easier solution. I don’t bestow trust easily or quickly, so keeping my head down and avoiding pain is a compelling option. As C.S. Lewis explained,
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one…Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”
But what kind of life would that be? No. I choose the harder, better path. I get up off the floor and continue walking, in faith, in vulnerability, and in love.