Friday, April 16, 2010

weddings, careers, life plans, waiting

I've been thinking a lot about weddings and marriage lately. I guess that's what happens when both of your sisters are engaged and it seems like most family conversation revolves around wedding planning. One sister will be married in two weeks and the other in a year.

When I first heard that my youngest sister was engaged it caught me a bit off guard. I knew she had a boyfriend and that was probably coming, but it happened earlier than I expected. I hadn't expected her to be getting married before me. My other sister . . . I wasn't surprised at all. For a number of years I've known she would get married before me (she's also younger than me), and I knew that she her fiance were planning marriage in their future.

Isn't it true that life doesn't always go according to our plans? I never expected I would still be single at this point in my life. And I certainly never planned on both of my sisters getting married before me. When I graduated high school nine years ago (Yikes! Has it really been that long already?!?), I had my life planned from then until into my thirties. Needless to say, it hasn't really gone according to that plan.

My life plan at 18:
-graduate from the local college/university with my BA in Business Administration in 4 years, by the time I was 22
-find a job with an accounting firm and start working towards becoming a CGA, with the plan being to finish that in 3 years by the time I was 25
-sometime after I finished my degree I would meet a guy and we would get married about the same time as I finished my CGA work (I know, I was a little crazy! Let's decide that I should plan a wedding and finish that in the same year!) [Or my alternate plan was to marry my high school boyfriend after my first year of college and then continue with the rest of my plan, including waiting until I was finished my CGA to think about having kids.]
-work for a couple of years after finishing my CGA and then quit working for a while to have kids and be at home with them

Wow! Looking back at that now it seems kind of ridiculous to have even thought that was a possibility for it to go exactly like that. Reality has been much different than that:
-I spent two years studying business at the local college and then transferred to a Bible college in the middle of nowhere on the Saskatchewan praries to finish my BA in Business Administration
-after graduating after 4 years at 22 (that timing worked according to my plan, but not from the school I thought it would be from), I moved back home and began looking for a job
-worked as the bookkeeper at a repair shop for a couple fo years, before being offered and accepting a job at the Gospel Mission as their bookkeeper - a job that I'm still at today and am loving most days
-not yet married, no kids, haven't started working towards becoming a CGA and not sure if/when I will

Yup, reality is different than what my plan was, but, for the most part, I'm happy with it.

All the wedding talk in my family recently has made me think about all the planning we put into things - some of which we have control over and others that we have no control over at all. Weddings . . . we have control over that and what we plan for it. Our jobs . . . for the most part we can pick the job we want and where we want to do it. Life . . . we have only some control in regards to decisions we make, but there is much of it that is out of our control. We do what we can to be ready and listening to God's direction and then we have to wait for God to do His part.

And sometimes it's the waiting that is the hard part. We want something to do to move towards a goal. The last thing we want to hear from God is wait. And so, in our impatience, we try to make things happen on our own and according to our own desires. God gives us freedom and we can choose to make whatever decisions we would like. But sometimes we have to wait for Him to show us where to go - what the next step is.

I'm not sure what my life would look like today if I had decided that my plan at 18 when I graduated high school was the way I was going to live no matter what. But, I venture to guess that it would have been filled with some challenges from not following what God had planned for me that was better than anything I could plan. And I would have missed out on some of the blessings that come from where I am now and how I've gotten to here.

So, where are you today? Are you waiting on God for something?

Or are you moving ahead knowing that this is the direction God has pointed you?

Or are you forging ahead on your own and realizing that maybe waiting would have been the better choice?

Wherever you are, what I know is that God does have good things for us. Sometimes they may come in the form of waiting, or loss, or trials, but God promises that He will work all things out for our good. We may not be able to see that good in the midst of something, but we can often see it looking back from the other side.

If God is saying wait, it's because He has something better for us if we will just be patient and trust Him.

If God is showing the direction to go, move forward in it. It will be worth what it requires of you.

If you're beginning to realize that waiting for God rather than forging ahead would have been the better choice, don't despair; it's not too late. You can still stop and repent and ask God to show you where to go from where you are now. He's the God of second chances and He'll give you another one if you ask.

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