This isn’t the life I planned.

My favorite TV series, Studio 60, is about the making of a comedy show (sort of like Saturday Night Live).

There’s this one episode I keep thinking about today.  They make a million mistakes in the shooting of the show and have to keep going live on air to try to fix their errors.

At the very end of the show, the camera cuts to the actor given the job of trying to untangle the mess they’ve made of the show.  He looks at the camera and says, in a somewhat tense voice:

“This is NOT the comedy we intended to do when the week began”.

That’s how I feel about my life a little today.

This is NOT the life I intended to lead when this whole thing began.

I’m not sure what my plan for my life was, but it wasn’t this one.  I’m sure it involved screwing things up less; making better decisions.  In my plan, people were healthy and happy and all my relationships are trial free and filled with love.

I keep looking around my current circumstances a little bemused.  The line from Studio 60 keeps running through my head: ‘this is NOT the comedy we intended to do when the week began’.

This just isn’t the week I intended to have when the week began.  This isn’t the year I intended to have when this year began.  This isn’t the life I intended to lead when this whole thing began.

Nevertheless, this is the life I have.

And according to God, it’s the perfect life for me today.

I know that because of promises.  Gosh. Gotta love promises.

They come in handy in those moments when life slows enough for you to lift your head and take a look around and realize the landscape of this life is a little different from the way you might have made it.

Promises are made for the moments when life looks hopeless.

Promises are designed to kick in and hold something out to you that can incentivize you to hang on through the toughest times.

If Abraham & Sarah had been fertile, they wouldn’t have needed a promise from God of a son.  They needed the promise precisely because circumstances stood in the way.

They needed the promise because they couldn’t see a child in their future.  They needed the promise to reassure them that no matter how things seemed, they were still on the track to the right destination.

God gives us promises because there are times when life crowds in around us and everything gets a little dark and dim and we can’t quite make out the destination up ahead.  His promises come into our doubt and speak light.  His word is a lamp unto our feet; it lets us know what is ahead when it gets hard to see.

The life I planned was pretty neat.  But it’s not the life I have.

I still plan for myself a life that I think is pretty neat.  On days like this I have to put my hand over my mouth to make myself stop strategizing and planning and explain to God how we can still turn this thing around.  It’s not too late, we could still do this; we could still ‘redeem’ this life and make it the story that I always hoped it would be.

But the promise of His word is that neither the story I planned, nor the story this could yet become are the right story for me today.

Today this is the right story for me.  The story I am in is the perfect story for me and the perfect story for Him.

No matter how it seems to you today, you’re in the right story.

And really – I wish I had more to say.

I wish I could tell you that knowing that makes my circumstances feel warm and fuzzy.  Now – in this moment my heart is just trying to find air to make it through the next ten minutes.  Now – in this moment my mind doesn’t seem able to participate in the life I’ve been given.  When I try to power it up it just reboots – unwilling to engage in my story.

But in the midst of life rushing around me, there is an ember of faith in my heart that is softly smoldering.  And as circumstance creeps in to crush and deny that ember of faith, I can squeeze my eyes shut and wrap my arms tightly around the promise I know to be true: this is the story for me.

I can wrap my arms around the great and precious promise of Romans 8: this is all happening for my good and God’s glory.

The Word has wrapped itself around me.  It is nurturing and protecting that deep ember of faith, and it will not let it go out.  It will not let it be destroyed by these winds.  It will feed and fan the ember until it becomes a flicker of fire burning through this storm, lighting up the world around me.

8 thoughts on “This isn’t the life I planned.

  1. I needed to hear this today. Thank you.

    I find myself doing that daily — trying to convince God that we can still turn it around. “OK, Lord, its only June, I could still meet the right guy by Christmas.” or “I can still find the right job by Fall.”

    There’s a fine line to walk — between believing God can change your circumstances in a moment… AND trying to give him a planning meeting/pep talk into your plan? (as if my planning meeting/pep talk could change the God of the Universe’s plan to mine ha)

    I HOPE because I believe the Lord is in control, working things, even painful things, for His glory and my good. I also HOPE because I believe He can change things in an instant, that the only one I can and should take my heartache and worry to is Him because He can fix my circumstances. But, I am sometimes tempted to HOPE because I think I can convince Him of my side.

    Sorry for my novel, how would you suggest finding the balance?

    1. Gosh. It’s so hard! It’s something I’ve been thinking and processing, and I want to investigate more! Your question is a good driver, so I’ll study and pray and get back to you! In the mean time, you can check out this post to see if it helps at all!

  2. Thanks for putting this into words. These problems and challenge are ones that seem like my life right now, too.

  3. Gosh, Fabs… I am right there with you. I struggled with that this past week so badly it’s not even funny. I keep thinking of something you say on one of those files on here… “We don’t follow emotions, we follow truth.” I am holing on to the truth that He knows better. It is hard, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m glad He’s in control and I am not. I am hopeful for my future… even if my present doesn’t look like what I imagined it would look like….I’ll be praying for us!!! Lots of love!!! All my heart,
    Ana

  4. Wow – “This is not what I had planned . . .” has been my reality for the last few months. It’s so You to (at least start) to complete my thought.

  5. Fabs – I nearly cried in a public place while reading this article. It so resonated with me – there are so many circumstances in my life that I did not foresee nor plan, and yet, God is leading me gently down this road. I am sometimes so faint from a lack of motivation to keep pressing on, and yet, there He is, tugging at the rope, telling me about His wonderful promises.

    Thank you for sharing something so deep and close to your heart. In all things, may He be glorified.

  6. Wow, I see this has resonated with many. I’m not surprised – I’m at the point in my life where Im in the process of MAKING the plan, and a healthy dose of promises is what I need – the understanding and dareisay reassurance that even if it doesn’t turn out exactly as I picture (husband dog possible kids cars house? looking unlikely!), it’ll be for His glory and my good. what a beautiful hope we have.

    bless you, fabs!

  7. You want to compare this is not my life, try being single with two kids and living in a two bedroom apartment with your sister and you and your two kids share a room together, share a full size mattress together, their father being selfish and already in his second relationship and it has been less than a year since we’ve been separated. The man who wanted to have another child with me and now could really care less about seeing his kids and knowing now they’re doing and his only concern is his new life without us. I’ve waken up and cried and said that so many times, this is not my life, this is not what I expected my life to be. I have to thank God now that he’s taken me out of that relationship but it still hurts and leaves me with these questions. I know that God gives us free will and I fought Him and tried making this relationship work when I should have listened to Him and ran A LONG time ago. Now I’m left trying to pick up the pieces and figure out my life, BUT I know God is there for me and will provide for me I just have to have faith in Him that he will give me beauty for my ashes!

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