Have you ever run across people who seem to know every step they are going to take in their lives? They seem to have goals and milestones set and they work their plan, striving to attain those goals and quite often they do, seemingly effortlessly. They have struggles and set-backs but those things never seem to change the outcome of the plan. They work the plan and plan the work and meet their goals. Period.
Today I am contemplating such people and I’m not sure I believe it any longer. I began wondering if someone who never deviates from their plan has either (1) never had an unexpected, life-changing event, or (2) they are lying, or (3) they are miserable, letting their life plan dictate their decisions. And then I realized that I have never actually had an intimate discussion with anyone about their life plans and how they got to where they are and just, exactly, where are they going. I’ve had talks with people who generally are on track with where they want to be in their lives, but never actually any in-depth discussion about the mishaps they may have encountered along the way. So, now I’m on a mission: what was your life plan at 20? At 30? At 40? At 50? At 60? Are the plans different? Did they change significantly or are they basically the same? Were there hiccups in the road that caused major milestone shifts or are the major milestones intact?
It would be easy to gather the statistical information to analyze the what’s and wherefore’s of life-plan-deviation. Yet I am interested in something much more meaningful: I want to understand the emotional stressors that impact life plans. For instance, just how much stress has to be applied for the milestone “Medical School” to be changed to “Law School” or to be dropped entirely? Conversely, what events or emotions cause someone to add a milestone “Graduate School” to their life plan after they have already passed the “Thirtieth Birthday” milestone?
I think it would make for a very interesting study, and there is a facet of the study that really interests me the most, probably because I’ve been there. There are those people among us who have suffered such catastrophic life events that their life plans have been totally scrapped. Some pick up the pieces and try to devise new live plans, and others simply don’t even try – the devastation has rocked their world and they see no point in trying to direct anything any longer – it is enough to get through today.
These are the people I want to find. I want to embrace them, and cry with them – or hold their hands and commiserate with them. I want them to know they are not alone – that they are not the only people in the world whose life has turned upside down or has lost all meaning. I want to express the love of Christ to them, and let them know that He sees it all and He cries with them or rejoices with them. I want to let them know that it is all okay: God has a plan for their lives and He will bring it to pass. God is able to bypass and overcome all of the obstacles the enemy of their souls has placed in their paths. God loves them and wants them to live the life of an abundant spirit – drinking in the goodness of each day and rejoicing in the smallest victories.
That’s my mission today – seeking out those for whom life has happened while they were making plans!