This summer hasn’t gone one bit like I planned. In fact, it seems that every other day there’s something new to bend around, some reason to hop in the car and go somewhere else, only to turn around again. But something strange has been happening: I haven’t cared much. God has taken this obsessive compulsive planner and replaced her with a (mostly) easygoing spirit.
I’d had big plans that involved
acing surviving my lab test and finals, spending a week at the beach, a magazine interview, and returning to work a dormitory desk job in Tuscaloosa. It sounded great to me, once I wrapped my head around how many hours of studying would go into successfully surviving those exams. And then we spent an hour in the stairwell and came out to a city that was no longer. Everything changed; everything is still changing. That tornado stayed here for minutes that I could count on one hand, but it set us spinning. In the midst of those few days after and the dumbfounded weeks after, I learned. Rather, I was taught. I was molded. I was planless, and honestly, for the first time that I can remember, I didn’t care.
Time played this crazy game where it seemed to be moving slowly, but then you looked around and realized you were losing hours: hours to playing card games in the dark; hours to the interstate, waiting to go anywhere else; hours in the sun, letting it warm your soul back up. And like all hours do, those turned in to days. I spent days at the lake. I spent days at home. I spent what seemed like days in the car. I scheduled a second interview, and suddenly, I realized my summer- the rest of my life– was going to look a lot different no matter what.
We decided, on a whim, to move apartments. They moved most everything while I was carrying out my auntie duties at a dance recital, which means that I came home to find home one apartment over. That home didn’t yet have power, so I slept on an air mattress in my empty bedroom. The power is on now, but I’m having a difficult time walking out of this place.
And in the midst of that, I had my first day of work, which, surprisingly for all of us, wasn’t at the dormitory desk job, even though I am sitting at a desk here. Don’t be fooled.
Insane as it sounds, the first interview turned into a second one, which turned into a phone call that led me to be sitting at the desk, looking equal parts Oh-my-stars excited (because I was) and holy-moly nervous (because I was.) And the desk? Well, it’s in a magazine office, exactly where I hoped I’d end up someday. And that someday got turned into today, which wasn’t my doing.
“The very steps we take come from God;
otherwise how would we know where we’re going?” -Proverbs 20:24, The Message
The thing is that plans have their places: on the wall of an elementary school detailing inclement weather scenarios, for example. On a blue piece of paper that’s rolled up in a cardboard tube marked “Beach house.” In Congress, sure. But not in the it-matters-to-me parts of my life, which was a realization that slapped me in the face. Newsflash: control freaks don’t like losing control.
“A man’s heart plans his course, but Yahweh directs his steps.” -Proverbs 16:9
I don’t like losing control. But something beautiful has happened as I’ve weathered life’s spinning recently: I’ve found joy in giving it up. I’ve found peace in handing it over. I’ve found that my plans were actually fairly terrible compared to what I’m supposed to be doing (read: dream job> answering telephones.) And in understanding that, I’ve found hope in what’s to come, things I surely can’t imagine.
“Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams.]” -Ephesians 3:20, AMP
My life hasn’t been going like I planned. If I would have been given the choice, I would have picked finals week. A dorm job. Safety, security, simplicity. Luckily, I wasn’t given the choice. I got destruction, devastation., demolition. I got comfort. I got guidance. I got blessings.
I got life abundantly.
“LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own;
it is not for them to direct their steps.” -Jeremiah 10:23, NIV