Monday has a notorious reputation for starting terrible weeks, but last week, my Monday was a Wednesday.
The first half of my week progressed fairly normally. On Wednesday afternoon, I was still blissfully unaware of my impending doom.
However, by Wednesday evening, it was pretty obvious I just needed to go back to bed and set my alarm for Saturday.
Thursday’s theme was the same. I called one of my best friends from home, and I was excited when she picked up right away. Then she told me she really couldn’t talk just then; she was in the emergency room for her back.
Imagining my friend paralyzed from the waist down and worrying that I could not leave town to drive home right away, I sat through at least three hours of class in a state of helpless panic.
My friend later texted to let me know she was fine, but I still felt emotionally winded. And by Friday evening, the bad news seemed to crush me from every angle. As soon as I let out a sigh of relief, something else seemed to be waiting in the wings to knock the breath out of me once again.
I took a step back at that point. I consumed some coffee at the prompting of a friend, played a game and forced myself to relax.
I couldn’t completely let go of that horrible week, however, until a familiar Steven Curtis Chapman song shuffled through my playlist. The lyrics reminded me, “God is God, and I am not. I can only see a part of the picture he’s painting.”
Sometimes, that truth seems obvious. Clearly, I can’t change the weather. I can’t cause my 8 a.m. class to be canceled on my whim. I can’t even always rush the slow-moving person blocking the path in front of me. Most of life’s variables are out of my control.
But as someone who enjoys structure and schedule, I sometimes focus more on the disappointment than the challenge of being flexible when my plans fall apart.
Sometimes the challenge isn’t in the change; it’s in accepting that the original plan no longer fits for whatever reason. But who am I, really, to be so committed to my own plans in the first place?
Sometimes the phrase “men plan, God laughs” fits life well. We scurry about our lives, creating schedules and making appointments. Things fall through, we grumble in frustration, and we adapt.
Other times, plans fall through, and the results are devastating. At that point, I can’t believe God is still laughing. At that point, I think he cries with us.
In the end, “God is God, and I am not.” He gives me what I need for each day. And on those days when I need more, he whispers, “Just wait. Hold on. What I have in mind is so much better.”