Shadows of Sickness
For as long as I can remember, I've gone above and beyond to plan out the months and years ahead of me. "Just make a plan and stick to it, no matter what." That's what I tell myself. But then life happens and the plan doesn't pan out. Can you relate?
I'm a type A control-freak personality.
There I admit it. Admission is the first step, right?
I don't know about you, but I like to plan it all. I like to have my little life map drawn out with all the details. And I like to think it will all go just the right way as long as I stick to my map. But, in reality, my map is more like the Marauder's Map in Harry Potter. It shows you where all things are, but it doesn't reveal what is actually going to happen. And to think I could know what is going to happen? Well, that simply made me the fool.
Over and over again, just when I think I have life all figured out, God intervenes and says, "Oh sweet daughter, you don't have it figured out one bit."
At first, I used to get angry at God for stopping my plans. I used to fight him and try to stick to what I thought was best. But God, in his goodness, has sent many life lessons my way to guide me away from my life map and toward his. A map where I can only see as far as the next few steps in front of me, but one that allows me to let go and just go with the flow.
Over and over again, just when I think I have life all figured out, God intervenes and says, 'Oh sweet daughter, you don't have it figured out one bit.' "
One of my first life lessons came through sickness. Many life lessons come through hardship. I am no exception.
Fresh out of high school, I created the perfect career plan:
Looking back now, I almost roll over laughing at my silly little plan.
Sure, it sounds great. Simple. Success-driven. Put together in a nice package with a pretty bow.
But it lacked so much more. God knew it. But I didn't care to listen. So he brought about two major life events to shake my stubborn will. But the one we'll talk about today is sickness.
For the first few years of my career plan, every step went smoothly. I graduated, received a job, passed the three month training in Oklahoma, and settled in at my facility in my home state of Colorado. My future couldn't look brighter.
But then, about a year into my career, I became incredibly ill. My insides revolted against me. I couldn't eat. I couldn't exercise or ride. I couldn't keep on any weight. I couldn't do anything but sleep. At work, I struggled with staying focused and making quick, important decisions. The pain in my stomach would grow so intense, I'd start to have anxiety attacks (while working live traffic!) and would spend my breaks sobbing in my car, begging God for relief from the pain and a way to make it through my work day.
But I couldn't see a way out. This was my plan. I'd invested years of my young life to make it this far. I didn't have another degree to fall back on. However, I knew deep down that I wouldn't - couldn't - survive the road I was on.
Through sickness, God showed me the flaws of my plan.
Once my eyes were opened to all the flaws in the path I'd chosen, I realized how my plan wasn't aligning with God's path for me and the blessings he had in store if only I left my selfish plans behind.
Sickness, while hard to live through, made letting go of my plans and clinging to God easy. My path lead me to a life I realized I didn't want. God's path lead me (and continues to lead me) toward a life overflowing with joy and love, even when other hardships come my way.
Life doesn't have to follow my plan because he has an even better plan. One filled with love, relationships, and hope in more than a career and a paycheck. I know this much better now that I look back and see how empty my goals were. But sickness wasn't the only way God taught me this lesson. He simultaneously reached out to me in a much more pleasant way...one we will talk about in the next blog post.
Until then, keep your eyes and hearts open for the lessons and truths God has for you. They are not always easy to swallow, but they do change your life for the better. You just need to take a step of faith.