Just about the time I think a plan is coming together and the project goal and completion are set, something unexpected happens to throw a wrench in the mix. It seems like it always happens.
Invariably there is something I didn’t see that puts an obstacle in the plan. Oftentimes it will end up costing more than anticipated and the budget isn’t going to stretch.
It happens to all of us. It isn’t just at work. Actually, such issues at work can be easier sometimes because there is a team involved to help sort it all out and come up with a new plan. In our personal lives, we may not have a big support team.
New plans and projects may have targets and timelines, but they don’t always have blueprints to follow.
Our personal lives might have targets and goals, maybe even timelines for the big things. I remember that was true for us when we were working to put aside money for our children’s college educations. We knew about the amount of money needed, when we would need it, how much we were making, and how long it would take to reach the savings goal each semester or each year. Those helped us and gave us guidance.
What happens when there are no blueprints to follow?
What do I mean?
Let’s say I am reasonably responsible and operate with a budget. I am pretty diligent to follow it and even have some of those “just in case” categories. I even have a savings plan in the mix. I know I can’t plan for everything, but I am trying to take some of those inevitable unexpected things into account.
I feel like things are on track until one day the company I am working for makes a decision to reduce staff or maybe move out of the area or country. (It happened today when a major company cut 12,000 employees, a whopping 11% of their workforce.)
It’s a rough day even if I had been hearing whispers that something like this might happen. I collect my things and try to sort out if there is a severance package or some level of unemployment benefits. I feel glad I have been working with a budget for a while, but I know there isn’t enough money in the bank to be out of work for a long time.
Let’s say I have a great job with benefits I really appreciate, but then one day on a routine visit to the doctor I find out there is a serious illness developing. Several treatment options are available to me, but I need to check with my insurance company to see which is the one I can get coverage for. Suddenly, I discover the medical issue is considered catastrophic and there is no coverage.
Maybe I have been blessed with several great relationships, the kind that start casually and end up as something really solid, rich, and sustaining. These are my “go to” girls and then one day I discover one of them is having an affair with the other one’s husband. I sure didn’t see that coming. It also means those very relationships I had counted on dissolve in a split second.
I could go on, but you get the picture. Life is full of uncertainties and doesn’t stay on a predictable schedule. That would help, but what would really help is a flexible blueprint that would point the way when the unexpected DOES happen.
What do I do when there is no blueprint?
I hear some of you saying things like “you need to put your faith in the Lord” or “trust Jesus, He’ll work it out” or “this testing will reap a great harvest in your life”. (Okay, maybe you wouldn’t say that.)
Do I look to the Lord in the unexpected that has turned my world upside down?
YES!! BUT…that still doesn’t give me a blueprint.
Do I believe He will be with me? Provide for me? Yes, but how and when? He doesn’t operate with that kind of blueprint.
I know that from what I see from Genesis through Revelation. He gives me principles to live by and stories about how He moves in behalf of His children. He gives me tenets of faith to build my life upon and promises to sustain me, but He doesn’t give blueprints.
I look at the life of Jesus and I see He showed His love and power through many healing miracles, but it was never done the same way. There was no formula.
I see He tells Peter he can walk on the water to meet Him when the disciples’ boat is caught in a storm, but He doesn’t tell him how to do it. There are lots of examples in His Word.
What’s the hard part?
Trusting Jesus when we can’t see the end result is the hard part of doing life when the unexpected happens, when life throws us a curve ball we don’t think we can come back from.
The truth is: We know Jesus is absolutely trustworthy and yet totally outside of our control.
What sustains me then? Holding fast to the certainty of His love for me. Resting in the sure promise He will be with me. All those stories in the Bible show me that time and time again.
Life without blueprints builds trust.
It builds faith.
It builds character.
It is the life of a disciple.