Most of my life has been filled with contentment, joy, and happiness, whether it be with family, friends, career or whatever. There have been a few times in my life however, that I have been restless or anxious to try something new. Both paths have paved the way for incredible memories to savor and keep close to my heart. A few of those experiences did not end as I had hoped, but the journey served me well.
For those who know the real me, I have always been a driven individual—always planning, preparing, and following through with whatever I was working on. I have built a faith and prayer life that are heavily intertwined around whatever I am doing. My conversations with my Heavenly Father do not guarantee everything will turn out perfect, but I know without a doubt He always has my back. I also know what having peace feels like, and when it doesn’t exist.
Some may say I have lived a very blessed life. Despite losing precious family members and friends, enduring student tragedies, and dealing with life’s challenges, I’ve always managed to keep a smile and find joy in what was ahead. I can tell you that while not life threatening or even life changing, there have been a few times that I have had to step back and re-examine why things happened the way they did.
In two of those situations, I believed the rewards far outweighed the challenges and that they were opportunities from which I could benefit. Neither time did God agree with me. I spent hours and months praying about those decisions and every step of the way I believed I was moving forward in the direction He was leading. I never questioned the process, but I did question the outcomes. A dear friend and mentor met with me for a visit after each of these disappointments, and he brought me the notes he had prepared in outline form, supported by scripture. Everything he had written was important and uplifting, but one particular part stood out. It said, ‘count your blessings and bloom where you are planted.’ My human disappointment did not include counting my blessings, at least, not initially. But, 1 Corinthians 7:17, tells us, “Only let each person walk in the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.” It does not get any clearer than that. And, John 15:5 tells us, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me he can do nothing.”
Our conversations included dealing with the disappointment and the hurt, looking at the big picture, looking at the reality of the situation, and then thinking about what would come next. As we worked through each of the steps, he said to me, “You have been through the human part of this, now it is time to deal with the spiritual part.” I think it is important to note that the human part often outlasts all the other things. I can put the spiritual part in perspective. I can look up the scriptures that my Heavenly Father has so lovingly provided to comfort me and take away my hurt. I can even awaken the next day and know that He knows what is best for me. It is the human part of me that sometimes wants to cling to the outcome—the side that analyzes and replays every question, every answer, every decision, every reason, and still none of it makes sense. It does not make sense because it did not happen as I wanted, or had hoped. I can tell you that it may take weeks or months to work through the stages of whatever this is, but I can give you suggestions on how to deal with your circumstances and disappointment when things do not go as planned.
- Know that the situation must fit God’s plan and timing and we should not question it.
- Know that it is okay to have goals and target dates.
- Know that it is okay to want to advance or move forward with activities or your career choices.
- Recognize that we must be willing to accept the decisions made as best—in other words it is about faith and listening to Him say, ‘not yet.’
- Know that He protects us from problems or bad situations.
- Recognize that another opportunity may come along later.
- Let it go—learn a lesson and be humble.
- Learn to take ‘NO’ for an answer from God.
- COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS—BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED.
The two situations I have referred to in this post, specifically the second one, have taught me more about enjoying what I am doing now, at this very moment, and to never wish away an opportunity, an activity, a job, or an event, just because I am ready for something else. God’s word tells us in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I know this because of my journey with Him. But it also helps to know that He is my leader and His plans for us are good and full of hope.
As we reflect on the things that do not go according to our plans, we must learn to embrace the thorns or the difficult parts and choose to bloom anyway. I can tell you that the things we thought we wanted, but did not get, were not best for us. I can tell you that in looking back at both situations I am so thankful that God knew what was best for me. It is so comforting to know that I can look anyone in the eye and tell them how grateful and thankful I am that He knows what I need, and what I don’t. I am so glad He has the Master Plan.
As we move into the week ahead I’ll be praying for you and the decisions and situations you may be faced with, and I’ll be praying for peace. Be still, and know that He is God.