Thursday, December 9, 2010

Make plans not outcomes

“Cracker Barrel wisdom” is what I call it from time to time. I do not mean this disparagingly at all. If you have ever been to the afore-mentioned restaurant, it is a large but cozy, “country-kitchen” style with a “General Store” greeting you upon entry. The store harbors many sweets and treats as well as a variety of novelty treasures appearing to have come from days of old.

I like the old placards and signs of a wooden nature with old-school wisdom and humorous quotes. Some offer scripture and simple proclamations such as “T.G.I.F” or “Gone Fishin’”. Nice. Perhaps you may be a collector of little fridge magnets with some of this wisdom. One I have seen comes to mind. It states–“We make plans, God laughs.” Well that’s encouraging.

I guess I have a hard time picturing God actually laughing at my attempt to add structure to my day or my life. I liken it to my kids coming to me and informing me of their plans after school, what they want to do and with whom, and then share their excitement as the go on to tell me of a party they desire to attend the upcoming weekend, or maybe even share their future careers goals. I then bow my arms, placing fists upon hips, toss my head back, and let out an “Oh, that’s what YOU think” type of deep guttural belly laugh. Okay, maybe that was a bit extreme to make a point. I do not think that if I plan a picnic, God will make it rain to teach me a lesson either.

I think God wants us to make plans. I think we are encouraged to look ahead. I also think we should not stand idle hoping that a treasure map with a big “X” will appear telling us that we are to take five paces in this direction and then twenty paces to the next. It is part of the adventure contained in the potential of a misstep where we gain wisdom. I think we gain strength through our scars and calluses.

A father-figure style of direction is more of how I see it. Like a father, we are allowed the power of choice but are held accountable for our actions. Whether praise or reprimand, we align with the divine direction that is presented to us. If we turn our backs on this direction, we will burn our fingers on the stove, run with the scissors, and eat too many chocolates. We suffer. We get grounded. We must trust our navigator that we will indeed reach the shore with proper planning. However, we must also remember we cannot control the weather, but we can adjust our sails!

Our ability to be flexible enough to adjust our compass points mid-journey is what allows us to arrive safely. It is our faith in taking these detours or perhaps carving a new path is where I believe deep alignment with God lies. I think we are encouraged to venture out, but not be afraid to hand over the wheel from time to time. It is our ego that allows us to end up in the bad neighborhoods.

I feel encouraged and inspired when I make plans, not outcomes.

Rather than being paralyzed by fear awaiting my next shove down life’s path, I embark without fear, yet respectful of what may lie ahead. I realize that I may be challenged, I may be rewarded. By not focusing on what I feel “should” happen at the end of my journey, I can still stay present in the moment allowing me to feel the presence of the grace that will take me to exactly where I should arrive.

I do make plans. It is like packing a backpack with all the clothing and items you expect you “may” need–food and water, a compass, tent, and extra clothes. I plan on using some of these things, however that could change. I am okay with that. However if something does crop up unexpectedly along my journey, I hope God puts a Cracker Barrel nearby so I can get breakfast, some candy sticks, and sit in a rocking chair.

1 comment:

ladaisi said...

Great post!

In particular, I found this inspiring: I feel encouraged and inspired when I make plans, not outcomes.

I agree.

- Lauren

Ladaisi Blog