Plan to Be Surprised

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I am a planner. I like to know what is going to happen. I tend to set unobtainable expectations. Unlike my spontaneous, easy-going husband, a change in plans can really derail my day.

The past several months I have been reflecting on what it means to give thanks in every circumstance, even when plans change. A couple months ago I read One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are (affiliate link), which opened up my mind and heart to how often God tells us to give thanks. Jesus was always giving thanks, regardless of the circumstances. Even when he knew Judas was about to betray him.

My goal and focus for this year is two-fold, but connected. I want to engage life in the everyday moments, because they are the most important. And, I want to give thanks in all circumstances: mundane days, folding laundry, soothing a teething baby, relishing giggles and games of chase, sweet smiles, her dark eyelashes folded against her cheek, holding hands with my husband, and even the days that make me want to curl back under my covers and hide.

This past week, God spoke clearly into my heart that I need to let go of my expectations. I still believe that having a plan and vision is a good thing, but I have to realize that I am not in control. Life is full of surprises and things that are completely out of my control–both good and bad.

For example, I had all these amazing plans to visit friends and family, walk around downtown Aurora, go see the cranes, and eat Runza while in Nebraska last week. Our first morning there Rebekah came down with a virus. My sweet girl spent the next three days cuddling in my arms battling off a fever. And a day after the fever cleared, a rash appeared, startling me. I had not planned on spending most of three days curled up with Rebekah in my parents’ recliner. Nope, not the week I had in mind. But I give thanks for it anyways. 

I am thankful that I was at my parents’ house instead at home alone (Mitch was in Honduras on a mission trip). I am thankful that my parents were flexible and willing to help so much. I am thankful that I was able to hold and cuddle my daughter–since she learned to walk she has been constantly on the move with no time for cuddles. I am thankful that the virus passed and Rebekah is back to her lively self.

Not all surprises are bad. My husband got home at 3AM Monday morning, Rebekah and I got home at 5:30PM. After sleeping for a short bit, he got up vacuumed the house, mowed the lawn, swept the sidewalk, and did ALL of his laundry before we got home. I won’t complain about that surprise one bit!

To make the night even better, one of my sweet friends offered to bring us dinner when we were back in town. I knew she was bringing her delicious teriyaki chicken and white rice, but she also surprised us with a delicious mixed berry juice and organic coffee ice cream! It was such a special treat just to relax with Mitch over a great dinner. 🙂

Coming home felt so good. When we are apart as a family, it makes me homesick. The smile that spread across Rebekah’s face when she saw Mitch and how she hugged him tightly for several minutes, not wanting to let go, reminded me that home is wherever we are together.

7 thoughts on “Plan to Be Surprised

  1. What a sweet post. Your out look is awesome girl. It’s great reading this and reminding me to take joy and be engaged in THE moment even when it is not the moment we planned.

  2. This is such a sweet post! I think this is what being thankful is all about. Picking out reasons to be thankful in all circumstances. It’s easier said than done. I am also a planner and always need control. Anyway, thanks for the reminder today. I’m so glad Rebekah is feeling better!
    Charlene recently posted…What I’m Up to in April {2016}My Profile

    • Thank you! Control is so hard to surrender. I struggle with building expectations up in my head and then not being very flexible if plans change. But God is teaching me day by day how to surrender control.

  3. Aw, poor Rebekah! I am sorry she got so sick, and that your visit didn’t go exactly as planned. 🙁 I am a planner as well as a perfectionist. I like to have everything written down on the calendar. I auditioned for a melodrama last week (and got in!) and I really struggled with whether I should audition or not simply because I wasn’t sure what the rehearsal schedule would, in the end, look like and that scared me! I am so glad I pushed through, and now that we have gotten through one week of rehearsals I realized that it is far less time each evening then I had feared, and the director is incredibly sensitive in regards to everybody’s time. Sometimes being a planner can make me turn down opportunities rather than following the old adage: “leap and a net will appear”. I really appreciated how you gave surprises a positive spin as well by pointing out that sometimes our plans don’t work out, and that’s because a good man cleans our house for us or friends surprise us with ice cream! Loved this post. 🙂
    Bethany Lotulelei recently posted…The Day I Bought a Pregnancy TestMy Profile

    • Thank you Bethany! I have lived much of my life with a “jump and the net will appear mentality.” And you are right, it usually does. Fear of what “might be” can hold us back from some great opportunities. I am learning to jump when I feel prompted, but also recognize when I am tempted to forge ahead out of obligation and instead utilize the “no” word–like you wrote about last year. 🙂

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