[clickToTweet tweet=”We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, to have the life that is waiting for us.” quote=”We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. – Joseph Campbell”]I’m a planner. I’m such a planner, in fact, that there have been countless times in my life that when plans went awry I was paralyzed with indecision and frustration. I’ve gotten much better at rolling with the punches, but suffice it to say I’m still a huge fan of lists, schedules, calendars, spreadsheets, task lists and other fabulous organizational tools. In other words, I’m a giant nerd. No shame.
Sometimes in life though, our best-laid plans fall through don’t they? And I don’t just mean the times when we plan a ridiculously elaborate party for 120 people and the reserved venue is suddenly unavailable and you have to improvise the morning of the event (a scenario just pulled out at random?). I mean the plans that we think give us life. The plans that are going to change the world, or at least change other live as they change our own. The plans where all of our interests and passions collide and everything seems like it’s just meant to be.
Those are the setbacks that still shake me. Sometimes, perhaps often, they fall apart not because they were bad plans but because they involved flawed human beings that (by our very nature) tend to screw things up. Other times they fall apart because while they seemed good – even great! perfect! unstoppable! – there is something better for us.
I struggle in those times of “in between” because sometimes I don’t know which thing happened that changed my path. I struggle with what to do with changes in plans that leave me feeling confused.
I read a friend’s (amazing) blog today and his question was this: “Is there something you’ve been holding onto that doesn’t matter?” and it made me angry. Not at him, for the record. But at life.
What if the things we are holding onto do matter? I yell, at nobody in particular. What if they are friendships that have been crucial in our development? What if they’re dreams of becoming a parent? What if they’re perfectly in line with what we are confident we were made to do, and yet they still aren’t working out? In fact, they are draining the very life out of us that they purport to give?
I don’t know. I’ve sat in various seasons of life wrestling with these questions time and time again, and don’t feel any closer to the answer. I don’t know when it’s right to move on from something. I don’t know the best way to do that. Certainly it’s different in each situation, but even in general – I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know.
I do know a few things, though. I know that as Robert Frost said (paraphrased), “Life can be summed up in three words: it goes on.” I know that all things work together for our good, for those who love God and are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28). I know that someday we’ll be in a new season, with new challenges, new exciting adventures, new hopes and new pains. And I know that in each of them, we can find just enough solid ground on which to stand as we learn, over and over and over, that we are not in control… and that’s ok.