The game is Life, my plan vs. his. I have learned not to keep count on my scoreboard against God.
Admittedly, I am a sore loser. However, the real reason I do not keep count is because I know I will never get on the scoreboard. I like to think that whenever I am challenging God’s plan with my own, he’s probably looking down on Earth smirking and thinking “aw, that’s cute” while I’m shaking my fist at the sky yelling “Why me?!”
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” — Proverbs 3:5
Lean not on your own understanding — I have read these words in the Bible a dozen times. Yet, I still think I know best. I often forget that God knows best. He has a plan, and he is sticking to it. As I have gotten older, I have realized that my plans do not quite coincide with his. When I was a child, my plan was either to work for NASA or become a journalist who traveled the world to report on great and becoming things.
God clearly had other plans for me as I am not a rocket scientist working for NASA, nor am I a well-traveled journalist. I am a mom of three precocious children, I am a wife of a law enforcement officer, and I worked in health care for14 years before switching to working a job in the school district to better accommodate my children’s schedules. I have been fortunate to travel some and have worn many hats over the years, just not a space helmet.
Life has thrown me more curveballs than I can count. I have wasted countless hours worrying, analyzing, preparing and planning. Precious time that I will never get back because I was trying to make sense of failed plans or spending my time wondering why I cannot “get it right.” Through my trials I have learned that I cannot “get it right” unless I am right with God. Leaning on your own understanding is a slippery slope. I have learned that one analytical thought will lead to another and life becomes robbed of joy and peace. Thus, consequently consumed by anxiety and fear.
I recently lead my Bible study group on the topic of fear and why it is so detrimental to our lives. I know for me, personally, I turn into a control freak when I am ridden with anxiety and worry about the unknown. Fear becomes paralyzing. It is as though blinders are put on — we cannot see or focus on anything other than what we are fixated on. When I think of fears, many of them fall under the realm of things outside of our control. I cannot control our economy, I cannot control the coronavirus, I cannot control the weather, I cannot control a lot of things and,quite frankly, I am not meant to.
God has a plan and he is in control.
I feel like I need those words tattooed on my forehead so every morning when I wake up and look in the mirror, I am reminded of this. Currently, I find myself trying to grapple with how I am going to manage the school year this fall with three children who will likely be at home most of the week due to the coronavirus. My husband and I both need to work. Like many families, I imagine we are all feeling incredibly overwhelmed by the unknown. I do not expect things to be easy or even “normal,” but I do know that I am not alone. You are not alone either. We are all in this together! More importantly, our heavenly Father is with us every day and has a plan for each of us.
We do not necessarily need to understand why things are happening the way they are. We do not need to worry about how we are going to cope when things are not going to our plan. We do need to realize that God has our best interest at heart. Easier said than done, trust me. I know.
• Kristina is a member at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church. “Living Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.