This Wasn't The Plan
I’m a planner. I like things to be well planned, and with that, well timed. I once made a spreadsheet that outlined the next five years including things like: when my GMAT score would expire, the lease cycle my roommate and I were in, how long I had been working, how long I had been dating my then boyfriend, and my age. I wanted to look for the perfect gap of where it all aligned to find the perfect time to go to graduate school. I wanted to make sure we were not in the middle of a lease when I left and that my GMAT score hadn’t expired. I wanted for my boyfriend (now husband) and I to have been together long enough that things would be okay as far as our relationship.
It was ridiculous.
Even now, typing it all out, it sounds ridiculous. But, that’s the type of planner I am. I wanted the timing of my return to school to be perfect. But if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that there’s never a perfect time.
There’s never a perfect time to switch careers. Or go back to school. Or get married. Or have a kid. That’s the advice I’ve been given over and over and over again. And, I’ve found it’s generally true.
Picking a wedding date? Yep, another attempt at perfect timing. Aiming for the window that wouldn’t take too much time away from my internship, but wouldn’t be too close to finals – picking a date all before I even started interviewing with companies was stressful. Once I landed an MBA internship my start date was one week before my wedding. Not how I'd planned, but it still worked out. Even now, I find myself thinking about when we would want to have kids and how do we find a time that both of our careers are in a good enough place that they wouldn’t be harmed for us taking maternity/paternity leave and that our finances will be in the very best condition possible, but also, that I will still be young enough that my eggs won’t have shriveled into raisins. And I stop myself. Because there’s no sense in getting worked up. I’m not saying you shouldn’t plan or that you shouldn’t try and prepare for the future, but I have learned that getting too stressed about hypothetical situations does us no good.
I’ve found myself wondering over the past year and some if I timed it correctly. Did I time my MBA correctly? Did I hit that gap? I mean, yes, I had to pay out the last two months of my lease, so I missed that part, but in all reality, that wasn’t a huge deal. But was this how it was supposed to go? Was that actually the best year for me to have gone back to school? And now. Oh especially now, as we look at a second week of Spring Break so our professors can transition to online classes. As we hold our breath at the possibility of no graduation ceremony. Now I’m really questioning it. This wasn't the plan. This was not at all how this was supposed to go. And again, I have to stop myself. Because the what ifs can occupy my mind and grow and fester and the next thing you know I’ve lost two hours of my day inside my own head.
I'm going to pause here for a moment a note that I recognize the immense privilege I have in 1) being at an institution of higher education 2) having a SAFE, comfortable place to be during the quarantine with WiFi and food in the house 3) having a husband who can easily work from home (as he has for the past two years) and not fear the economic impacts. I'm not here to sound like an entitled millennial. But I know I'm not the only one right now who is saying "this isn't what I planned." Life - with births, and deaths, and weddings, and big moments - is still happening during this time, but I don't think there's anyone who will tell you it's happening the way they planned.
Being someone who plans can be such a gift in many ways, and at the same time, it’s also the very thing that pulls me in and makes me lean on my faith even more when things don't go the way I planned. It’s the very thing that God uses to remind me to come running back to Him; planning for everything eventually gets too big, too overwhelming, and too confusing, and it’s in that moment that I am reminded that it isn’t my job to know every detail of every single thing before it happens. It’s His. It’s like the childhood Sunday School song we use to sing: He’s got the whole world in His hands; He’s got the whole wide world in His hands. I find comfort in knowing that I don’t have to know or figure out every little detail. I can trust in Him to do that. And when things don't go the way I planned, I take comfort in knowing that He does have a way for this to go.
So, as I look out across the next two months with its weird classes, the need to sell my house, and the end of an MBA program I never expected, I am reminded of these truths:
God is sovereign over all things and situations.
Colossians 1:17 – And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Lamentations 3:37 – Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it?
God has a purpose and a way to use every situation to further the Kingdom; His timing is perfect.
Proverbs 16:4 – The Lord has prepared everything for His purpose – even the wicked for the day of disaster.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 – There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the Heavens.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 – He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
And regardless of how I think things are going, or if they aren’t going according to MY plan, the Lord is still good.
Isaiah 43:2 – I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you.
Daniel 3:17-18 – If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.
It is my hope that these will encourage you as you adjust to whatever wrench this world throws into your plans.