Not God’s Plan B.

Plans.

We all have them–some of us more so than others.  I tend to be the type of person who plans every little detail of my life, from what meals I’m cooking for the week to what I’m going to be doing five years from now.  To say I’m Type A would be an understatement…my life runs more smoothly when I feel that I’m in control.

Some things, however, cannot be controlled, as I have had to learn the hard way.

I had the perfect Plan A for my life: go to a small Christian school to pursue my bachelor’s degree in nursing, meet my soul mate, marry him right after graduation, and start having babies right away.  Something you should know about me: I’ve always dreamed about being a wife and mama.  As much as I love nursing, I love the idea of a family even more.  I’d always pictured myself married young with a house full of babies; I was completely confident my plan would come to fruition.

Fast forward to now: Plan A is nowhere near realized.  Yes, bits and pieces of Plan A have weaved their way into my current life, but the major part {marriage and family} is nowhere near coming true.  Here’s a snapshot of the past four years–what I like to think of as the road to Plan B:

 

Made it into nursing school, had a brief relationship freshman year, spent the other three years wishing I could simply get a date, graduated with my BSN, got my dream job as an open-heart recovery nurse, and moved into the cutest apartment in the suburbs.  You may say “Stephanie, most of your Plan A came to fruition…so what if you’re not married with kids??”   Yes, that may be true: I have an amazing life and have experienced so many of God’s blessings.  Yet there’s something inside of me that still feels empty.  Incomplete.

In my opinion, I’m living in a state of Plan B.  Life hasn’t turned out the way I wanted it to.  I fall asleep alone at night, there is no one that calls me Mama, and so many dreams I had for this point in my life are still unfulfilled.  So many nights I’ve cried myself to sleep, crying out to God to take away the pain of Plan B.  I’ve wrestled with myself, trying to figure out why I can’t even get a date, let alone find Mr. Right.  I’ve shouted, begged, and pleaded with God to bring me the peace to accept my Plan B life, but yet I still struggle.

There was a time I allowed myself to be miserable; I was the queen of pity parties.  Poor me, I would say to myself, my life is horrible and I’ll never be happy.  My blog became an incredibly negative place where I would pour out my frustrations in an effort to try to make myself feel better.  Friends would leave comments meant to encourage, but they only fed my selfish desire to feel sorry for myself.  My life became about me, not about what God was doing in my life…I had basically rendered myself useless to Him.  I was so stuck on the fact that a few of my dreams were left unrealized, I was completely missing out on the amazing opportunities God had placed in front of me.  My selfish attitude kept me prisoner in a pit of darkness and I had no desire to get out.

My wake up call came in the from of a blog comment, believe it or not.  A friend {whom I love to no end} left me some tough love, making me realize how incredibly self-centered I had been acting.  To sum up her comment, it went a little something like this:

Stephanie, how many years have you wasted being unhappy?  I completely understand how you feel; your deepest desires are still unmet and you feel like God has forgotten about you.  While it’s ok to sometimes question God’s plan, it’s not ok to render yourself completely useless to His kingdom!  You have missed out on so many opportunities to be a blessing to others because you were so focused on your own misery.  At the end of the day, it’s not about you…it’s about bringing glory to your Creator.  Jesus never promised being a Christian would be easy, but He promised to be with us every step of the way.  Focus on Him, not your pain, and allow Him to unfold His perfect plan in His time, not yours.

Talk about being convicted by the Holy Spirit!  What she said was exactly what I had been doing: I had been so focused on myself, not on the God who deserves my complete attention.  The God who sent His Son to die for my sins is the same Creator who knows my dreams and has a perfect plan for my life.  He knows the plans He has for me and only wants what’s best for me.  If marriage and family are not what is best for me, He has something even better.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the God I serve is a just and loving God; He has a purpose for my life and doesn’t want to make me miserable.  I’m the one making me miserable.  He only wants to grow my character and faith in Him.  I have been so stuck on what I didn’t have in life that I missed out on what I did have; I am beyond blessed, yet I can’t see that because of my own selfish desires.

I posted a prayer on my blog and think that it addresses what I was feeling at the time.  My eyes had been opened to my selfishness and I was ready to allow God to take my hopes and dreams and shape them into His dreams for me.  I was ready to say “God, I’m done being miserable; I want you to give me peace.”  The following is what I posted, after crying out to God to come to my rescue:

Lord, right now I give you the things I’ve held so closely for so long. I give you my desire to be married. At the same time, I give you my dreams to be a mama.  Even though I want those things more than anything else in life, I know that if that’s not what you have for me, I’ll be ok. The earth won’t stop spinning and You won’t stop being good if I don’t get my way. You see the big picture and I don’t, so please keep teaching me what it means to trust You. Let your dreams for my life become my dreams; let me want what YOU want for my life. Thank you for loving me.

I’m ready to be at peace with where I’m at in life and finally feel fulfilled, even though I’m not living my dream. In the end, what matters is that I’m living His dream for me. My Plan B isn’t God’s Plan B…He has my life planned this way for a reason.  I’m not married for a reason; God has a plan for my singleness and whatever it is cannot be done if I’m married.  Letting go hasn’t been easy, but it’s been one of the most life-changing things I’ve ever done. Yes, I still struggle with feeling lonely and unfulfilled, but those moments are far more rare these days.  I’m allowing God to work His plan out in His timing and being more intentional about living in the moment, not wishing my life was something else.  I’m tired of being miserable and wanting things I can’t have right now; I’m ready to be at peace with my life.  That peace has only come when I direct my attention to my Creator, not my selfish desires.

Are you living in a state of Plan B?  Know that you’re not alone; sometimes it’s hard to understand why our lives turn out the way they do.  As someone who’s been there and been miserable, I want to encourage you to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.  Don’t let your pain keep you from experiencing the blessings He has for you.  He’s the only one who can bring beauty from the pain of Plan B.

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you a hope and a future.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11 {NIV}

~                    ~                    ~                    ~

Stephanie blogs over at Plan B – where she writes about her struggles and victories as she goes through life day by day. I like her blog because it’s raw and honest – she says things that I sit there and say, “whoa… I don’t think I would’ve have the guts to be that honest about myself…”  It’s true.  But don’t take my word for it – head on over to her blog and have a look for yourself! Be sure to let her know you stopped by.

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Posted on March 5, 2011, in "Guest Post" March, Guest Post and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. My life’s had so many unplanned twists and turns I joke that I’m not on Plan B but Plan ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha. 😉

    Great post…a lot of truth here. It hits home with me. I’m glad I stumbled on it this morning. 🙂

  2. I was one of the rare males that as a child dreamed of being married and having children. I did not so much dream of the wedding as being married and having children. I wanted to shower love on one woman and our children. Christ pulled me close towards the end of high school, and I promised Him I would love a family so much. Naturally, I did all I could to help Him find a good wife for me.

    It got to where I found an attractive girl, and we pursued each other in earnest. Within a year we were [in PC, church-friendly speak] beginning to get physically intimate. After about two years I asked her to marry me, and then we were very physically intimate.

    The downside (other than “sleeping together” outside of marriage): we were drawing each other away from God and becoming ever more immoral. In March 2007, I came to my senses. I ended the relationship explaining to her why we needed to be apart.

    I was sure I did not deserve to be married. Look at how I messed it up before I even got there! Now, I see Paul stresses staying single, so maybe that is for me. I therefore re-dedicated my life to Christ, and I did one of the hardest things in my life: I gave God my hopes and dreams for marriage. I spent the rest of the year intensely pursuing God, growing as a faithful follower and servant, learning to love Him and others unconditionally.

    In November 2007, I met another young woman. Today she is my wife. We encourage each other in Christ, we challenge each other in our faith, we push each other to love God and others more and more everyday.

    I firmly believe that I (and no one) is ready for marriage before they truly know who they are as an individual in Christ. That is the most imporant: Knowing yourself IN CHRIST. This means knowing God better. This means letting your dreams and desires become His dreams and desires.

    I am happy you are figuring this out with us, too, Stephanie! Thank you for your honesty and openness. Thanks to everyone for letting me go on and on!

    • danklemitis, what an amazing testimony! It’s so encouraging to hear how other believers have surrendered their plans and allowed God to unfold His perfect plan for their life. The farther I go in life, the more I realize that in order to be in the center of God’s perfect plan, we need to be willing to surrender our grip on life and allow Him to work. Thank you for your reaction to my post 🙂

  3. Aw Steph I love you girl! I love the fact that your so honest and up front about how you feel and it is SO ENDEARING. I have every faith that one day the puzzle will fit together just in the meantime enjoy life’s beauties 🙂

  4. Awww Steph! You’re awesome!

  5. Well done, Stephanie. Lots of insights and very thought provoking for those of us who go through a “Plan B” – which is many, including me. And I’ve often wondered whether my own “Plan A” was never God’s, though I assumed it was – whether my “Plan B” wasn’t always God’s “Plan A.” Am I smart enough to know for sure? Probably not. But there are many things which make me think that most likely was true.

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