Wednesday, 21 August 2013

This Was Not Part Of The Plan

Ten years ago, if I were to ask myself where would I be in ten years time, I would have said that I will finish medical school at twenty two, get married around about that same time, starting to specialise in psychiatry, have a house and thinking about starting a family within the next three years. Hmm, wasn't really expecting what actually happened. For years, I ingrained this plan into my head and it was fine until I hit my Highers (AS level for you english folk) that my plan took the first hit. Didn't get the grades for medicine. This was the first step of the plan, how could I have failed at the first hurdle? Automatically the anxiety started to rise about how this misfortune would alter the time scale of my plan. But it was ok, I still had a bit of a time buffer. By age twenty, I started medical school. Finally, the plan was coming into shape. Age twenty one, I was repeating the first year of medical school, I was getting a bit short of time for the plan to succeed. Age twenty two, got cancer. Not married, not in a relationship, get told that because of the treatment I should aim to complete my family before thirty five. So now the pressure really is rising, now there was a solid deadline for having children. By age twenty four, completed second year of medical school. Still no relationship. By age twenty twenty five completed third year of medical school. Now I'm on a roll. Age twenty five and a half, get cancer, how to leave fourth year of medical school. Age twenty six, not married, no relationship, now can't have children, not graduated, no occupation and no house. This was not part of the plan.

It was painful to watch my friends progress through life, attaining the landmarks that I so desperately wanted. I always felt like I was left behind, or had missed the boat. I felt like I had failed as a human being. For years, I lived with the constant stress and anxiety of not achieving the plan. Set back after set back, I still clung on to the notion that the plan was still possible. I was completely deluded, and completely fixated on achieving this unattainable goal. I was getting more and more bitter, although I did not realise it at the time, and it started to get painful to answer the question, "What are you up to these days?" and "Are you in a relationship yet?"

But, I am glad to say that I am no longer tormented by the plan. I still deeply desire some of those things, but it doesn't have the hold over me that it once did. The grasp of the plan had been weakened after each setback, but the final chain was broken when I was told that I would not be able to have children. This broke and still breaks my heart, but then again, breaking free from a captor is always accompanied by pain. For once, I was free and suddenly my life was open to a range of possibilities; it was akin to being given a clean slate; a chance to start over.

I could not be a better illustration of this verse from Proverbs 19:21 "Many are the plans in a persons heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails". The plan that I wanted was not necessarily evil or wrong, but it was that the plan that God has is infinitely better for me. It is a hard pill to swallow and it doesn't happen overnight. But once you know in your heart that God is only good and you learn to trust him, eventually you will be able to submit your plans and desires over to God and trust him regardless of your circumstances. But this is a process and it takes perseverance in prayer for this to come to pass, God will not push you if you are not ready. 

But one problem still remains. In the twenty six years I've been alive, what do I have to show for it? It says in 1 Corinthians 3:19 "The wisdom of the world is foolishness in God's sight". The wisdom of the world would tell me to keep striving to achieve those goals, keep climbing those ladders, achieve those landmarks. I am not implying that it is foolish to be conscientious and strive to achieve, quite the opposite in fact, but what I am saying is that it is foolish to have your life based and built upon those things, plus it causes unnecessary stress. When those things fall, and they will, what will you be left with. Moreover, when you die, what good will your CV do for you when you stand before God? God is concerned about the condition of the human heart. He is more concerned about who you are rather than what you do. I may not have pieces of paper to show for myself but that does not mean that I have failed as a person. The work that God has done in my life is more precious that the finest silver or gold. 

As I look back to my original plan, I can't help feeling a sense of boredom. To be honest, it would have been quite a boring life. The life that I've had so far has been full of colour, with ups and downs and unexpected twists. I have stories to tell, war wounds to show and there rarely is a dull moment - granted quite a few of those moments are painful, but they are anything but dull. This was not the plan I would have chosen for myself but it is the one I choose to follow. The road ahead is unclear and uncertain, but that's part of the thrill of a rollercoaster, you never know what's going to happen next.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Stari, take comfort in knowing you are not alone in your pondering on what is God's plan for you - rest in the knowledge He has it sorted even if it does not seem to 'fit' with your original plans - I find it hard to reconcile the loss of my sister so young with two small children but I take comfort in the knowledge she died a Christian and I look forward to meeting her again one day - not
    what I had envisaged when we were in our twenties, but as I can see in your blogging you have remained FROG - something I knew was my only option in times of loss - God has used you in amazing ways and continues to do so - you inspire many with your blogs too - God bless Liz


Please leave your comments and questions here. Some people have had problems with this box so it might be worth saving your comment on a Word document first before you publish it in case it deletes it. Alternative ways to contact me are through Facebook and email on