Journey with me to 2010. October to be exact. I was in my senior year of college. I was 22 years-old, majored in Biology, and minored in Math. I was headed to medical school, because that’s what most biology majors do; go to med-school. Problem was, I had begun to hate everything about my academics. If I saw one more page about cell membranes, allele frequency of a population, or some random mathematical theory, I would literally lose it.
Well, this isn’t good. I began to hate biology, but I am supposed to begin MCAT testing, med-school applications, four more years of medical school, plus however many more years of residency and specialty training. I had mentally committed to almost 10 years of submerging myself deeper into a subject that I now hated. This was not going to happen. At 22, I threw away my master plan.
Fast forward to March 2014. Maybe it was the competitiveness of medical school applications or the loans, or the subject matter or all of it in general, but medicine wasn’t for me. However, Biology still was. I got accepted into a masters program and through research and the removed pressure of medical school, I fell in love with my favorite subject again. I graduated with a masters of science in biology. Yay! But there was a problem. What to do next? Here we go again. Of course, I had a plan. It would only make sense to continue on this educational path toward a doctorate and publish a scientific paper. Since I was involved in a long distance relationship with a great guy, move closer to him to complete a PhD., probably get married some time in there, then live happily ever after.
So we all know this didn’t work, right? That three year relationship that we actually did the “right Christian way,” you know courtship (not dating, shout out to I Kissed Dating Goodbye author Joshua Harris), abstaining from sexual activity, praying and worshiping together, all of that and it still ended. While mourning my “on-paper perfect” relationship, I had a scientific paper to get published.
It took six months of extra writing, experimentation, analyzing, meetings with my professors, and countless excel sheets to publish that six months too long paper. Now it’s the fall of 2014, PhD applications are due, and I have not visited any campuses, talked to potential research advisers, explored funding for another degree, or was well-versed on any probable programs. I had committed to another plan, and it isn’t working out, again.
This is my reality. The plans I had sought God about and prayed through failed me again. And you expect me to have a five year plan, again? To come up with similar goals, again? You want me to commit to a plan, again?
It’s been nothing less than nerve-wrecking to think of my future. To say anything different would be a lie. The two reasons I have had a problem setting goals and committing to a plan again is because I lost faith in God, and I lost faith in myself. But even though I lost so much, God never lost hold of me.
1. I lost faith in God.
After all of that hard work, planning, achieving, overcoming, pressing forward, the least God could do was appease my plans. I had my quiet time, paid my tithes, attended church, served in ministry, tried to stay on the straight and narrow, and my plans still did not work. He must not love me because I prayed about these plans and He isn’t giving me what I want. Well of course not.
We cannot manipulate God through religious calisthenics.
Our version of “blessings” may not always equate to how God is actually blessing us. Which is why our prayer should be to delight ourselves in Him and to think on love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness. These blessings are greater than any material thing. I didn’t see the goodness of God because I was throwing a tantrum about life. He is always good and works everything for our good.
2. I lost faith in myself.
These plans didn’t work and it must be because I’m not good enough. Had I been more focused in undergrad, med-school wouldn’t have been so daunting. Taking the MCAT, applying, interviewing, and attending would have been easy. Had I just tried harder and loved my boyfriend better, that relationship would have worked.
If I had done more experiments initially while researching, I wouldn’t have had to go back to do more before my paper would be published. Should’ve/would’ve/could’ve, if, perhaps, maybe… scenarios for days. Inadequacy had set in. To me, things didn’t work out, because I wasn’t good enough.
But God said something totally different. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I have a purpose. God is for me. With Him, I will always triumph. I was good enough to die for. That it is enough. Other believers I am in community with poured into me and confirmed God’s truth as well. Grateful for God’s word and God’s people to bring truth to rememberance.
3. God never let go of me.
As crazy as things got, when I sinned out of rebellion and chose not to turn to God because I was mad with Him, He never loved me any less. God didn’t abandon me. He didn’t forget about me. His thoughts toward me were and are still good. His plan for my good never changed. He didn’t kick me to the curb because I was throwing a tantrum. He still loved me. Knowing my hostility and pride toward Him one day, Jesus still died in my place. My bitterness and hardened heart was why Jesus died. Although I lost faith in God and myself, God never lost His love or plans for me. He never gave up on me. His love chased me down. He always cared and He continued to come after me when I continued to walk away.
You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. Proverbs 19:21(NLT)
I don’t have an ending to give you fuzzy feelings. I still don’t know what is next. That is terrifying for me. I’m an obsessive, compulsive planner, aka a control freak. I have to know how each hour of my day will be spent. Then that translates to having to know how weeks, months, and years will be. Everything in my life revolved around me and what I wanted.
But God bulldozed my plans out of love. He loved me enough not to give me what I wanted.
Part of me is happy my plans didn’t work. Because He thought otherwise, I have been able to rely more on Him. Like I should have been anyway. Although things didn’t go the way I wanted them to go, my faith has grown exponentially. I had to abort my mission. Just because things did not go the way I planned, God is not shocked. He’s not surprised. My steps are still ordered.
I can only imagine how miserable I would be had my plans worked. What if I had gone to med-school, gotten married, taken out more loans, attended some prestigious school for the name? So for now, I’m afraid of committing to my plans. It’s a healthy fear actually. Not that plans won’t work or goals shouldn’t exist, but not my plans. His.
Cheers to not knowing or worrying about what’s next.