Monday, October 15, 2012

When Your Plan Doesn't Work

Dear Friends,

My teenage daughter Courtney had worked for many hours on a dual-credit History paper.  She’s not typically a sit-for-hours-and-work-on-a-paper student.  For that matter, she just doesn’t sit still for long.  But we had a couple snow days, and she had a busy weekend ahead, so she invested a lot of work ahead of the due date.  All she needed to do on Sunday afternoon was final editing.  Then press the print button, and the paper would be done.

Things aren’t always as easy as they seem.

When she sat at her computer for the final steps, she couldn’t find the document on her computer.  It was nowhere to be found. Not in auto-save files.  Not in the recycle bin.  We even reset the computer to 48 hours earlier to find it.  No document.  And it was due the next day.  And she was involved in a church event that night that she needed to attend.

Drama ensued.  Several options were (emotionally) discussed, but there was really only one feasible option.  The paper had to be redone. She wiped the angry tears away, plugged in her headphones, and started pounding on her keyboard.  Several hours later – perhaps a third of the time it had taken her the first time – it was printed…and saved in three places.

Courtney’s Facebook post: After discovering I didn’t save my DC paper, I’m glad to finally have it done.  Again.

Friend: I think I would have shot myself if mine had gotten deleted.   
Courtney: Goodness, it wasn’t quite THAT traumatic.

Friend: Haha. I know.  I was just kidding. History is DEF not worth it.  LOL
It’s all about perspective.

Who tells us life is going to be easy?  Commercials make it appear as if our lives could be easier with this or that product, but no one who has lived much life has ever told me life itself would be easy.  There are things that make the trials of life easier to deal with, but easy?  No way.

What’s something in your life you wish would be easier?

What have you learned through your struggles?

How have you seen your struggles affect others?  How have others grown?

Even when you can’t see a lot of positive in something, there’s potential growth in it.  It might not be comfortable growth.  It might not be the growth you’d choose.  It might not even be growth you can identify.  But when you’re faithful, you’ll experience growth.  And God sees the big picture.  He’s keeping His eye and hand on you at all times.

Be aware of the perspective you have.  Jot words to describe your responses and experiences throughout the day.  Overwhelmed, frustrated, joyful, ecstatic, betrayed, compassionate, frantic, blessed.  At the end of the day, give it all to God.  Share your list, your perspective, with Him, and ask Him to help you see it through His perspective and to ultimately replace your perspective with His.  After all, you’re living life for Him.

Listen to advice and accept correction, and in the end you will be wise.  People can make all kinds of plans, but only the Lord’s plan will happen (Prov. 19:20-21).


Susan Lawrence

Susan Lawrence, our guest blogger, is a conference and retreat speaker and author of Pure Purpose and Pure Emotion Bible studies for women.  She’s passionate about connecting women and teams of people in purposeful and healthy ways.  To find out about her book go to   


  1. I'm laying my plans before the Lord. I love this verse: "Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established." ~Proverbs 16:3 But I must balance it with this: “Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.”~James 4:13-16 (I'm to be on a diet & Lord willing loose lots by Christmas. I'm to be teaching our son & Lord willing achieving his "Ed-u-ma-cation" (As The Beverly Hillbillies said:-)

  2. I'm dealing with a plan right now that isn't working out as I've expected and thought I had a right to. That plan is being at my oldest son's wedding coming up in two weeks. The original plan was for them to marry in August when we'll be in the States for our home assignment. However, due to his fiance's family situation they needed to move it up. It was really hard to let ago of the idea that I have a right to be at my son's wedding. It was an act of surrender for the wedding couple's sake. They were already feeling huge stress from her family and there wasn't a need to add the stress of our feelings. It was definitely a dying to self - and continues to be daily as I hear talk of the wedding that I'll not be able to attend.

    Its difficult to think in the middle of the situation that the more important thing is not the plan that isn't working out as I've expected, but how God is using this to conform me into the image of His Son. Or that to really love/walk like Christ I have to yield to what is best for others and not just what I want.