Saturday, January 26, 2013

Life is a highway...or a winding road

Growing up, there was always a mile marker to aim for and look forward to:

  • Learning to tie my shoes
  • Going to "big" church
  • Becoming a teenager
  • Going to high school
  • Sweet sixteen & driving
  • Voting in an election
  • Graduating from high school
  • Going to college / grad school
  • Graduating from college / grad school
  • Starting my first real job

As children, we can all chart somewhat similar paths with fairly predictable milestones along the way. We know we're going to do X, Y, and Z, and so we plan ahead for and anticipate those events.

After we reach the end of the predictable, life takes on a whole new meaning. The choices we make about what to do and where to go next really do make a difference. I am discovering that the road ahead has fewer known destinations. Other than birthdays to mark the passing of years, there are no set-in-stone rights of passage in the future. Yes, there are dreams of marriage and children, but there is no schedule or timeline. The once straightforward road has become a winding road, and I can't always see what is up ahead.

I am a huge fan of planning ahead. I like to have time to think things through, get all my ducks in a row, and be prepared for anything. God has softened me a lot over the past few years, teaching me that I cannot always plan for everything. And often times, the plans I do make need to change. 

A professor once told me that the day I walk across the stage with my bachelor's degree is the day I will feel the smartest in my whole life. After that, I will continue to learn everyday how much I really don't know. Boy, was he right! 

And so this path ahead is unknown, with winding roads, hills, valleys, picnics, lookouts, precipices, and oases. I take each day as it comes, praying for guidance and direction. I set goals but write them in pencil, as I am growing more and more aware of how God's plans are always ultimately better than mine. More than looking for milestones, I take the time to savor friendships and opportunities to learn from people I interact with. I don't want to look so far down the road for what is next that I miss the people and opportunities right next to me. 

The best part of all is knowing that God sees me. He knows when I sit and when I rise. He knows my every thought (Psalm 139:2). And I trust Him.

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