Boy oh boy today is one of those days where I just cannot help but notice that I am not one for little changes. Big changes force me to rely on God and I handle them better. However a change in the plan for commuting home that’s less efficient than the one I planned irks me to the core.
Perhaps I just have a strong dose of that all too human pride in my plans. I think they’re good, I wouldn’t go through the trouble of making plans that were bad. I like to work smarter, not harder. But sometimes I get so good at planning that I’m less open to life.
What I mean is every time my plans go perfectly I grow attached to them. Attached is a dangerous word in the spiritual life if you are attached to the wrong thing. And being attached to my own plans, to my own way, is a bad thing.
Don’t believe me? Cut someone off in traffic. They were planning to move ahead but then you did. Odds are they are going to be mad at you. (Don’t really cut someone off in traffic-I’m an advocate of driving safely.) But you’ll notice it all over America if you start paying attention. They drill it in us very young with delightful quotes such as “if you fail to plan you plan to fail.” There’s no room for error. You’re supposed to have it all figured out, tracked for college at age 8 when they administer the first standardized test. In other words you should always have a plan, and a backup plan. It’s a tough habit to break, and it is certainly not exclusive to academia. People even plan their love lives. There is an aisle in most drug stores called family planning. I would go so far as to say that secular America is obsessed with plans of all kinds.
Planning to some degree is not bad, but I believe it feeds us a very bad delusion: that we are the ones in control. Which might be why anxiety and depression have skyrocketed in recent years because when life isn’t going according to plan whose fault is it? Only yours.
And it’s easy to get mad at God when you have this view because your prayer life gets reduced to you demanding God to bring about your plans, instead if discerning what His might be.
And although I am admittedly still very young I have to confess that life is not truly fun until you surrender your plans and let God begin His work in you. Because He has a wonderful plan for your life. He wouldn’t have gone through the trouble of making you if there was no purpose. He may be love, but he is also wisdom and wisdom wouldn’t do anything without a reason. I think all genuine contemplation begins with wondering what that reason might be.