When Things Don't Go as Planned (Now What)
As you can probably tell, this picture was not planned. My youngest son was the one holding the camera at this moment and his finger hit the button as he was moving around and he caught this blurry picture of one of the post in the sheep shed that is connected to our pen in from of it. At first glance, I almost deleted it, but after looking at it more, it has become one of my favorite pictures. It reveals a lot about how much of my life has been, or at least how I have perceived it.
I can honestly say that this past year has felt more like a blurry picture that anything I have ever lived before. I literally started off in January of last year as we begin to work on the walls inside what is now the infamous "Barndominium." Several life changes happened along the way, one of the biggest being the birth of a little rejected lamb and a video that changed so much of our course in life. Before Precious, we were just another person out there doing the best we could in life, enjoying a somewhat quiet life, and then, God made our lives go viral (to use the term loosely).
From February 1, to now, nothing is the same. Things have happened that if you would have told me a year ago would be true, I would have laughed at you. Some of these changes have been amazing, others have been extremely hard. Sometimes a blessing in one area of life can cause another area to suffer. As I was told growing up, there is always two sides to the coin.
Prior to Precious, you might say that we had a plan for our lives. I actually write about plans quite a bit for Real Estate and Auctions on my business blog. Planning to me is a key to reaching your destination. However, our plans are not always His plans. If you do what I did, and ask Him to use you for His glory, He just might take you up on it, but that could mean completely destroying your plans, making your life look like a blur, in order to accomplish His plans for your life. That is why this picture means so much to me.
My plans included security and peace. I actually like living a very quiet life. I never really wanted the grand spot light. My idea of a dream life was one where I made plenty of money to enjoy financial security and just enjoyed my family growing up and being a great husband and dad. I enjoyed my work as an Auctioneer and Realtor and was happy to just live out my life as such. I also wanted to be able to disciple a few God brought in my path and enjoy a relationship with Him. Raising sheep was a huge blessing to me and I learned so much.
Then in answer to my prayer to "use me," God literally blew up my plans and suddenly I felt completely out of control. Like my son spinning with the camera, I found myself spinning around with absolutely no clear direction in which to go. This spinning left me dizzy, weak in my legs, and at times, sick to my stomach. This constant pull in multiple directions took a huge toil on me as instead of moving forward, I was stuck going nowhere. I cried to God, sometimes in anger and frustration, that He would make my way clear, but just like the picture, it just seems to stay blurry. Although I did many things, it seemed I was accomplishing nothing. My plans for my life had fallen apart (and still are it seems sometimes), and I could not seem to discern what he really wanted.
This is where the tricky part comes into play. You see, my training told me to move forward, forge new plans, blaze a trail, shake some trees, make something happen. Our family's needs did not go down although my income did. Our desire to feel secure did not leave, although our security did. Our desire to move forward did not die, but our ability to move in any direction disappeared. So every bone in my body screamed "make something happen!" Sitting still was not an option to me, I believed I had to create some sort of movement in order to survive. I listened to the voices in my head which said "If you are going to make it, it is all up to you!" So I set out to do something about it.
In return, nothing is still what happened. I wrestled for months, striving to break something loose, and still nothing. It seemed like anytime I made a plan for us, it fell apart. In all honesty, this drove me literally insane. My red headed (yes I used to have hair) temper flared more often than I care to admit, and it was always directed at the ONE I considered responsible for this "blurry mess." I was so angry at God at times, I would actually boil inside my spirit. Oh, how I would let Him have it. "How dare you do this to me? How dare you make us struggle like this!" Then I would pull out all the punches like: "You are not very good at keeping your promises! I sure don't feel blessed! You must have run out of provision or maybe your cattle have gone down in prices like our have here on earth! Maybe you are just not able to help me! Maybe you don't really love us! Maybe working for You is not worth it because it clearly does not pay enough to meet my expectations!" (I know all this sounds silly, but it is real, raw, Ray and the struggle I live with.)
Then, after eventually becoming exhausted of both trying to make something work, and exhausted from being angry at God, I just sit! Yep, I found myself sitting still! I heard Him calling me to be still! Initially I refused saying, "How can I be still? I have bills to pay and mouths to feed! How can I commit to being still when YOU (notice I blamed Him) are not keeping all our daily bills paid! God I can't be still!"
Then, I found myself in the sheep shed. Sitting in the place this blurry picture was taken. I stare at this corner post and for the first time, this picture seems clear. You see, the post is setting on a rock that has been chiseled out and placed to hold it up. The post is held in place by braces tied into other solid post. Nailed to the post is a fence which has a purpose of directing others where they need to be. The post is rugged and has taken its fair share of abuse. After years of holding up a building, it is bound to get tired, but it stands firm, sitting still on top of that rock! As long as the post remains still, although life around it may move in a blur, it can remain firm, calm, and steady, doing what it had been purposed to do!
Sitting still does not seem like much of a plan I know. But God, time and time again, told His people to "stand still and watch the salvation of the Lord!" Exodus 14:13, 1 Chronicles 20:17. When they obeyed, when they stood still, they got to see God do some amazing things like parting the Red Sea and destroying the Egyptian army! They watched, as they sung praises, an army who had come against them literally turn on themselves and slaughter each other.
Maybe today, you are like me, and your plans have been obliterated. Mine was shattered by a little rejected lamb whose video went viral. She changed the course of my entire life, and if I am honest, it has not all been sunshine and roses. It has mostly felt like that picture, blurry. However, I am learning to be still and watch God. I am learning to lean into Him for my daily needs, not rest on my padded bank accounts. I am learning to Trust in His plans and allowing Him to make His plans My plans. And like that post, I am learning, as long as I am standing on the Rock of my Salvation, taking shelter in His strong tower, connected firmly to His plans, then I too will be able to watch the salvation of the Lord.
Be encouraged today if your plans are falling apart. Resist the Devil and his lies that you need to make something happen, and be still before the Lord. In being still, and standing on the Rock, you too can watch the salvation of the Lord!