Life Doesn’t Always Go as Planned, and That’s OK

I like to have a plan.

I’m a huge fan of calendars, to-do lists, and figuring details out way in advance. I’m that one person who’s always early to events and needs to know exactly where and when things will be taking place. Needless to say, I don’t like surprises.

Interestingly, 2017 has been full of lots of surprises

And BIG changes of plans.

At this same time last year, I would have told you exactly what I had planned for my life. I knew exactly where I was going to college, how long I would be there, what I would major in, and what my post-college job would be. I knew what my publishing journey would look like. I knew exactly who I would be and what I would accomplish.

All of that changed over the course of a couple months.

I don’t know how everyone else reacts, but when my life does a complete 180, I find adjusting to the shift to be 1000000000% overwhelming. How dare something interfere with the meticulously-detailed life plan I had. It drives me crazy to have to re-figure things out. I start to feel lost without my trusty outline.

I think one of the biggest things God is teaching me this year is to let go of my expectations for myself and give everything to Him.

It’s so hard to do, when I’m holding on so tight to what’s easy and familiar. Or what seems like the best path with the limited knowledge I have. Oftentimes, I think God is saying, “Not that way. I have something better for you over here. Just trust me.”

But giving my dreams and goals to God is one of the most difficult things for me to do. I want instant gratification. I want things to go exactly how I want them to, without any hiccups. I want to feel successful by accomplishing what I planned to. At least, my idea of what successful is.

Instead God called me to other things. I’m going to attend a different college this fall and pursue a different major. My ideas for my post-college jobs has significantly shifted, too. I’m self-publishing instead of landing a contract with a major publishing house. My summer plans haven’t turned out quite as I anticipated. I’m still trying to figure everything out. The details aren’t set in stone. With some of it I have no idea what I’m doing. At all. I’m being introduced to some ridiculously-new concepts that go way over my head.

But the funny thing is, I can already see God’s hand in all of it.

I can see how He’s growing me and how He’s going to use me. My mindset is changing. I’m no longer holding on to my own plans with a clenched fist, not sure what to do when they’re yanked from my grasp by the circumstances of life. I’m slowly letting go, telling Him that He can use what I have to offer however He wants.

Loosening my grip on the thing most important to me–having a crystal-clear vision for what my future will look like–has been a growing process in and of itself.

I’m already seeing the benefits of the things to come. I’m excited for how they might turn out. Hindsight is a beautiful thing, that moment when I look back and say “Wow. God really saved me from something”. I’m already experiencing a bit of that moment. It’s not what I planned, but something tells me it’s going to be really awesome in the end.

I don’t need to cling to my own me-centered plans.

My wonderful Savior has my hand and is leading me on.

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8 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for the encouraging post! This really resonated with me, as I’ve been going through a lot of surprising changes this year as well. I’m so encouraged to know that I’m not the only one! Keep up the good work–God has amazing plans for your future. 😉

  2. This was such an encouraging post, Ashley! I’ve been going through some of this same stuff with college and majors and everything, and it’s so crazy! It’s also been showing me how little I know about what I’m going to be doing after college. 🙂 Thanks for the post!

  3. I can so relate to everything you said, Ashely! This summer has been one whopper after the other. I guess I’m learning that if obedience is the only reward i get out of listening to God’s instructions, that has to be enough. I’m so excited to hear what God is going to do in your life!!

  4. I think this is something we can all relate to. As of right now, my post-high school plans are undefined and unknown, but I know that God still has a plan for me. Just wish I knew what it was… 😉

  5. It is so hard to trust God sometimes. There are days I start out telling God I am going to trust him with a situation, but by the end of the day I have taken over because I feel things aren’t moving fast enough or it seems like God isn’t helping. I can look back on different situations where I felt God wasn’t there or didn’t do what I wanted him to do and can see perfectly that He was there and that He did what was best for me. I am learning (very slowly) that I need to take one day at a time instead of trying to figure my whole life out all at once. God has good plans for me; I just need to learn to get out of his way 🙂

    Thanks for the insightful post Ashley!

  6. Aw, this is an amazing post! It’s just right for “plan-it-to-death” me … God is in control! (And yes, I do realize this comment contributed no new thoughts, but … I just wanted to express my appreciation of it! 🙂 )

  7. I listened to Charles Stanley this morning. He said the most important lesson you can ever learn is to go to your secret place every Day and talk to your heavenly Father. The only things you will accomplish in life start on your knees talking (and listening) to Him.

    I really loved your comments about plans. Learning the lessons you have so early in life is really a milestone—–and will continue throughout your “Walk with Him “.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and observations. You make us all evaluate where we are in Life.

  8. SO much wisdom here, Ashley. Praying for the Lord’s continued leading as He encourages you to make these changes. Trust and walking by faith are muscles that have to be used every day for sure! Blessings, Beth

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