Just when you think...
...you can move indoor plants outdoors, it hails
...you finally have your drip system figured out when it springs a leak leaving dry your seed beds.
...you will finally beat the old habit of letting your seedbeds go too dry, you discover its going to be 100 degrees over the weekend and you have plans to be out of town. Oh well.
Letting go...that's a very uncomfortable and often frightening thing to do. We have to shift our whole mind set onto an unfamiliar path. We have to get out of our "comfort zone", that place of our original dreams or life as we know it or life as we wanted it and live in a whole new place. But letting go does something amazing! In the act of letting go we are brought to a place of being able to see whole new vistas of opportunity, the new direction beyond the original trajectory of our original hopes, dreams and plans. A change of course that gives a person the ability to see more clearly the next step needed to move forward, instead of letting what seems like misfortune ruin the whole of future plans. Do I hear a question? "Casting off of what is not really needed...but needed by whom? Not me, I needed that!" Oh really? Are you absolutely sure? Will you shrivel up and die if you don't have your way? I seriously doubt it. Let me ask you a question. Are you absolutely sure your way was the best way? I used to think I did. In fact I was stubbornly convinced of it at times. My how things have changed.
Recently I began to wonder if I was morning the loss of dreams more than taking a good look at what was really in front of me. I have spent years working with and studying plants and gardening. My goal...to make a career out of it, to own my own herb growing business in this romantic country setting, complete with a rustic but cozy space to teach and where I wouldn't have to play the gypsy teacher who is always having to schlep my wares from group to group. A peaceful and satisfying life. Due to circumstance beyond my control that has never happened. As a matter of fact it seems things are going in nearly the opposite direction for the most part. I have had to come to grips with the realization that it may very well never happen. And come to the understanding that its not a bad thing at all really. Its just different than what my original plans were. Oh and in case you're wondering, that dream still lives on in me though it is tempered by the force of more than one curve ball and having to pick myself out of the dust several times.
Curve balls are teachers and mine have taught me I needed to take a good look at my responses to my circumstance, good or bad and the people in them as well. This picture of me in front of that little strip of grass...one of those "good ideas" that turned real ugly and one that totally changed my life's direction to one more in tuned with what God's will is for my life.
Also important in this exercise are examining the words I say and my thoughts and attitudes about things I'd like to do or have always wanted to do. The picture I get of this is that its a lot like picking bones out of a good brook trout. Anyone who fishes knows what I'm talking about here. You spend your time and strength hoping to catch a fish and when you do, your next goal is to enjoy eating that fish. But there are lots of little bones hidden in the prize meat of this fish. My poor or wrong attitudes are a lot like those fish bones and can ruin the pleasure of my catch. The fish is life...my life...my eating the fish, my enjoyment of this life. So I'd rather be careful and pick out the bones and put them away from my plate so I can enjoy the meal. I've digressed quite a ways from the garden but then this is important stuff. Life is full of bones, those things that stall us out and cause us to choke on the disappointments. Just another facet of the lesson.
So many things I've tried in my life have not turned out the way I dreamed, actually almost everything. Does this mean I have failed. No. I keep moving forward. I keep dreaming. I keep hoping. And I keep growing. The result is that I look at things much differently than I used to. Some things were never meant to be no matter how much I desire them to be otherwise. Some dreams never meant to be realized. This is what life is like. That does not make it bad...its just different...different than I had planned.
King Solomon recognized this truth as he wrote in Proverbs 16:9 "The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." He understood it was God who was working all things together for a purpose. He knew that no matter how hard we try, sometimes things just won't work out. That it is not for man to determine his path, his success is not ensured by taking every precaution, every correct step, but that it is God who determines the future. He knew that his God had purposes of His own He was ensuring would get accomplished. He knew that fighting against God's will only brought more hardship.
I have come to understand that these times are what God has intended from the beginning. Oh yes, I know that may sound to some of you like fatalism but it's not. I am not at all saying why bother doing anything when God can just swoop in and take charge and ruin everything. Somehow I've never really felt like that, though I have been tempted to do so and sometimes have wondered why He has brought my life to the place it is today. We all wonder why when we are hit with curve balls.
The thing I do understand with great clarity is that whatever I lose or face, the successes and challenges are all intended to forge the character God desires in me according to the things He planned before this place I walk on was even set on its foundations. God is not as interested in my seeming success as He is seeing that His own purposes and plans are worked out in and through me. So does that mean He does not desire me to prosper? No, it is more likely that His definition of prospering is in conflict with what I have defined as prosperity. Yes...it is different. God is interested in using me and He's interested in using you too. Now doesn't that blow your mind and all the world's definition of who is worthy of being used. In the world's eyes I know I certainly do not appear as a success...but that doesn't matter to God. He still wants to use me...this person who nothing has really gone the way she had planned. Do you have any idea why? I do. He is more glorified in the miracle of using an imperfect person (which we all are by the way). It confounds the wisdom of the world that He would even consider it! And I am glad!
Having His plans worked out in me and through me "is" my success and now my goal. With all these curve balls that are sent into my life He was not looking to cast me into eternal frustration and despair at all, but looking out for my, good both here and in eternity...to cause all things to work together for my good and for His glory...now that's somethin'! And this makes no sense to the mind set on earthly success. The Bible calls that mindset foolish.
So how then am I to even want to step forward, to dream or to will to do anything at all. Its simple. Because I know God has plans for my future. I may not understand them. They may even be painful. But the fruit of what comes out of my future, if I am yielded to His will, His plans, will have the sweetest most satisfying taste my soul has ever experienced. God is good and nothing is ever wasted in His economy. Bring it on! With God I can do anything. With God all things are possible.
So the next time you are hit with a curve ball...just take a second look. It may have opened a window to a whole new vista and be exposing your future life and pathway.
Copyright © 2010 by Patty Hicks
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