3 Reasons to Let Go of Your Best Laid Plans
- Cortni Marrazzo Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2014 30 Oct
I am a planner by nature and I tend to want things in my life to happen how I plan and expect them to happen, but I’ve found this isn’t how things usually end up. That can be hard to swallow at times. Over the years in my walk with God I’ve had multiple circumstances in my life not go according to my plan, and I feel like I’m finally learning that it really is best for me (and my sanity) to simply let go of my plans and my expectations and embrace what God has planned for my life instead. In other words, I’ve learned to embrace Proverbs 16:9, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”
Recently, I was able to really experience (and practice) letting go of my own plans in the circumstances surrounding the birth of my son. First of all, my entire pregnancy was tough, as I experienced bad morning sickness for the first half and intense pain through the second half. Second, because my first son was born via C section (and a recommendation from my doctor) my birth was a scheduled C-section. The surgery itself was pretty painful and difficult, and to top it off, my son had to go straight to the NICU after birth and didn’t get to leave until two days after I was discharged from the hospital. A very painful recovery those first few days made for what felt like one of the worst weeks of my life.
Throughout these circumstances, I found myself with the choice to either be devastated that my pregnancy and birth didn’t go the way I expected them to, or to realize that there was nothing I could have done differently, that it’s already in the past, and that I can let God use these circumstances to grow me and help others. There is no doubt that I struggled, because I am human, but ultimately I chose the second option. There were times I wanted to wallow in the fact that I wasn’t able to have an enjoyable pregnancy or that I didn’t get to have a “normal” birth or that I didn’t get to take my baby home from the hospital when I left. But I realized that wallowing in that sadness wouldn’t take those circumstances away, and furthermore, it would make me miserable and rob me of the joy of getting to meet and hold the newest member of our family!
Once I decided to let go of my expectations and accept how things turned out, I realized that doing so benefited me in three major ways:
I Was More at Peace
When I finally accepted the circumstances of my pregnancy and birth how they happened, instead of wishing they were different or thinking about how they could have been, I was really able to be at peace with what actually happened. I realized that once my baby was finally home, the past had no bearing on anything in our future. I kept reminding myself that in a just a few short days it would all be over and be just a memory. There are so many people that agonize over how they wish things in their lives could have gone differently, whether it be a divorce, financial issues or other difficult circumstances. Doing so causes stress, discouragement and anxiety instead of the peace that comes from accepting how things are and trusting God to use that for your benefit. Although many difficult circumstances are not necessarily caused by God, we do live in a broken world and bad things to happen, but God is able to use them for our good if we let him and we don't have to be in agony over it in the meantime.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them” (Romans 8:28).
I Was More Thankful
Even though having my baby in the NICU for four days was emotionally difficult to say the least, I kept thinking of other friends and family members of ours that had babies in the NICU for a lot longer. Thinking about what our loved ones had gone through made me thankful that it was only four days and not four months.
Despite our baby having a few health complications at the beginning, he was perfectly healthy when he came home and that was another reason to be thankful. In addition, we had multiple friends praying for us during this time as well as friends who offered to watch our older son while we visited our baby in the hospital. A healthy baby and wonderful friends are easy to take for granted, but my situation helped me to be extra thankful.
I Was Open to What God Wanted to Do In and Through Me
God’s plans are bigger than mine and I can’t always see how he wants to use me through the difficult circumstances I go through, but I know he has a plan! He can use those circumstances to help us grow to be who he has called us to be. He can (and usually does) also use those circumstances to enable us to empathize with and help others going through the same situation. When we refuse to be bitter about what we’ve had to go through, we open up our heart and lives to grow closer to God and to help others that God has placed in our lives.
I've come to learn that it’s still ok to plan things in life, as long as I’m open to what God's plans are when they differ from my plan. Time and time again I’ve seen how God’s plans turn out just how I need them to, despite being completely opposite from my original plans. I’m definitely a lot happier now because at the end of the day, I know I can trust all of God’s directions and plans for my life no matter what comes my way.
Cortni Marrazzo currently resides in Spokane, Washington with her husband Jason and their two sons. She has a Degree in Biblical Discipleship and has a passion for ministry and encouraging the body of Christ. She and her husband currently serve as small group directors at their local church. You can contact her at Cortni.Marrazzo@gmail.com or on Facebook.
Publication date: October 30, 2014