Right now, I should be at the Amtrak station waiting for a train, to meet a friend and spend the night at her house before heading to a small writer's conference. Tomorrow I should be serving on the prayer team at that conference, greeting conferees, and handing out goodie bags. I should be waiting to hear one of my other friends and fellow writers speak. Instead, I am home. My plan for the day consists of writing this blog post, working on three writing/editing projects, doing laundry, and other ordinary everyday tasks. Why the change of plans, you might be wondering? Plan A sound so much more fun.
Last Friday, less than twenty-four hours after paying for my train reservation and getting other details set in stone, my plan for this weekend completely unraveled.
I won't bore you with all the details. Thankfully, the circumstances that forced me to cancel didn't involve an injury, death, or illness. It was simply one of those situations where one complication after another hit in an alarmingly short period of time and left me thinking, this clearly isn't meant to be.
At first I was bummed. Okay, I'm still a little bummed. I wanted so badly to spend time with that friend picking me up at the train station, welcome people to the conference and pray for them, and hear my other friend speak. Though I knew the situation was beyond my control, I felt like a flake for canceling, even as my friend insisted, "Do not feel bad. God is saying no and you're obeying Him. I'm proud of you for doing that." But when I replay the events in my mind, and how quickly I went from definitely going to definitely not, I know that I am where I should be today, even if it isn't where I want to be.
As I sit here feeling like I'm missing out, I know that I prayed for God to make it abundantly clear whether or not I should go to the conference. In fact, I put off paying for my reservation until the eleventh hour just to be sure. And the next morning, he made His answer clear. But He also allowed the ticket to be completely refundable and everyone involved to respond with kindness and understanding.
I have no idea why He altered my plans. Maybe my family needs me more than my friends do, or maybe I was cramming too much into one summer (I do have some deadlines coming up). While all my expenses were covered except the train ticket, perhaps even spending money on that wasn't wise right now. Did someone else need to hand out those goodie bags and pray with people? It's possible that the reason is so not-about-me that I will never know.
So I am determined to trust God on this one, keeping in mind that His goal is never to mess with my plans just for the sake of reminding me who is in charge. He knows where we need to be and when. Sure, it would be nice to have a "Now I see why I needed to be home today" moment, but if not, I'm making up my mind to be content where I am.
Can you relate to this story? Has God altered your plans this week? As hard and disappointing as it is (and it really is okay to admit to God that you're disappointed), try to be content. Ask Him to help you accept His Plan B, whether you find out the reason behind it or not.
"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps" Proverbs 16:9.