Where All My Plans Fall Short

Today was supposed to be my first in-person meeting for student teaching.

This last week was supposed to be made up of adventures and excitement that celebrated my last official week of summer.

This week was supposed to be one of the most exciting in my whole education career.

Two weeks from now, I was supposed to be meeting all my students and learning their names. I’ve been so excited for the opportunities God would afford to me as a Witness in the public school system.

But instead I went to a tech orientation later than was originally planned with 3 other people. I wore a mask and kept to myself, cried and wished things were different.

Everything I wanted, all the “supposed to” and “should have” wishes were not granted, and nothing has gone as expected. I’ve had an anxiety attack and breakdown in my car—I had an absolute sobbing fest at the end of last week when I was told of the online learning plans—nothing according to plan. I suppose I was never to be given the control I so desired in creating such a plan—even if it was reasonable expectation to believe school things would go normally. Nothing ever goes quite according to plan—it’s rather ridiculous to believe it ought to, especially when my plans so readily fall short of the glorious ones the Great One Himself has prepared with me in mind.

I’ve noticed something about my plans in my 20 years of living—they really never do play out. Some kind of Holy wrench always gets thrown into what I seemed to have perfectly mapped out. I suppose there’s never any surety but unsurety, and that’s just how it goes.

We don’t get to carry the illusion of control with us for long because even the smallest things never go quite how we envisioned them—even 3-hour orientations can completely flip our ideas on their head. Funny how the littlest things seem to give us the most perspective right in the moment. And I suppose, in retrospect, my plans were much less interesting and fruitful than those that often end up playing out. My plans are ceaselessly medaled in and overturned. But it does always make itself to be rather exciting. God’s imagination for me is much better than my own dreams or ideas.

“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life.” (C.S. Lewis)

The most interesting stories and significant memories tend to be found in the strange and unexpected moments of what we thought was the end of the world or massively out of our main plan. We are so consumed with everything we think we need, when often our need-ideas are rooted in a scarcity mindset—something might run out, I might fall short, what if I don’t have time. God doesn’t work on our timelines, resources, or worries.

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:26-27)

We are so consumed by our desire to control. And each time something goes the wrong way or my plans change—I remember this verse: “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:13-14). We make a lot of plans, but we are certainly disillusioned by our abilities to reasonably carry them out in our own power and control.

There comes a day when we must realize there is no point at which we will be able to control our every step or reasonably plan out our lives. Most everything is a surprise, and we can be consumed with worry and controlling impulses—until we recognize the vanity of such feats, we will be overwhelmed with striving and fruitlessness.

We were not designed to be in control, and constantly attempting to make ourselves work that way doesn’t provide security, it just leads to restlessness.

“Whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want.” (C.S. Lewis)

•••

With Love,

Hannah

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