I planned out my future when I was an eight year old.
As I sat in my great-grandparents house that summer, I decided that I would do everything in my power to be happy and successful. Passing by the pictures on the wall of valedictorians and salutatorians, I decided that being the best in high school would be the first step to my plans of eternal happiness. My checklist only developed from there.
For years the plan was to graduate valedictorian, attend Harvard or Yale, become an oncologist, marry a McDreamy replica, and live happily ever after saving children from the mean cancer disease and proving my worth to everyone around me.
Even after I realized my strong contempt for anything science, I still clung to the dream. After all, what was more important than being a doctor? What else would give me the sense of value and worth I needed in my life? If I gave up my plans, everyone would see that I was a failure. And I did not want that. At all.
Chemistry class finally broke me. It chipped away the doctor-to-be in me, and my plans shifted. Suddenly my future was not so in tact. I had no idea what was going to become of my life, and that freaked me out.
So I began to plan.
English replaced the pre-med major in my mind, and visions of published books overtook my visions of stark white hospital hallways. Harvard and Yale were still my dream schools, but I let reality sink in a little. I settled on the best schools in Texas, completely ignoring the outrageous price tags for an elite education.
My plans were different, but they were still plans. Plans that would lead me into the arms of the American Dream. Plans that whispered value into my life. Plans that told me I was somebody important.
My value as a person was dependent on the way I measured up to the plans I had for my life, so when things did not turn out as I imagined, I felt like the world’s biggest failure. Shame took up residence where confidence would have sat, and my head hung low around the people I longed to impress. I didn’t know how to deal with the destruction, so I just didn’t deal with it. Bitterness overtook things, and my views of God were drastically altered. I just did not understand how He could stand back and watch as my life fell apart. He knew my plans, yet He did not run interference. I did not understand why He stood back and let it all fall apart, but I did understand one thing: I would never make plans again. It was too dangerous. There was too much possibility of getting hurt.
It took God moving me clear across the country (disrupting my plans AGAIN) for me to realize that God does not hate me and my plans. He just has so much better ones. If my life had turned out like I envisioned, I would have no need for God. It’s the uncertainty that brings me to my knees. It’s the realization of my lack of control that directs me to Him. It’s my desperate need for someone to see me that makes me run to His arms again and again. He’s my sense of worth. He’s the one who sees my value. He’s the one who died for me, and He’s the one who lives for me.
Even if I’m not out there saving the world in my white coat and diploma-covered wall.