I’ve always loved movies about high school. There’s just something funny about them, it’s always melodramatic and filled with this one idea. The senior year scenario where the characters all have to make choose who they want to be for the rest of their lives. It’s a great set up for a movie, but when it comes to real life, this shouldn’t be our mindset. For most of us, we’ve graduated high school and most likely college. The truth is, life for most of us has moved beyond that as well. That’s a good thing. I’ve found that in almost every stage of life, people love to ask you the question of, “what’s next?” For me, I love to have a plan. I like knowing what’s next and having an idea of where I’m headed.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t work like that. God often doesn’t work like that.
For a long time, my life felt like it was going in one direction. High school was difficult, but during that time I knew God was calling me into full-time, next gen ministry. I went to college and got an internship, it was on track, leading me on the plan. The internship became a job, and it was as if every piece kept falling into place. It was hard because even when the pieces were in motion, I felt like I was battling in order to justify my passion. Then it ended. My position was terminated, it felt like no one cared about my passion and the plan that seemed so right.
It shouldn’t have happened that way, right? I had it all figured out, but the truth is, I don’t need to have it figured out. You don’t need to have it figured out.
Life isn’t a problem to be solved.
I think for all of us, especially me, we see life as a giant game that we have to win. When we win, we feel happy, and we all want to be happy. The issue with happiness is that it fades. Just like winning, we have to win again and again to keep that happiness going. The story I shared above was and is very personal, there are parts that I still work through, but I wanted to share it because it’s real. Real things are hard to find, another word for it is personal. We need to stop seeing life as a problem, and see it as an adventure. Adventures don’t have set paths. Adventures have highs and lows, and often end in unexpected and spectacular ways.
The thing is, while my plan seemed perfect, it’s not what God has for me. In staying in Greensboro, I was able to meet my amazing wife. My internship and job gave me experience and allowed me to think about how I want to pursue ministry and what I want to avoid. I have learned so much, and even when the rejection hurts, I am watching God close the doors to prepare me for the future.
Life gets better when we stop getting in the way.
I look at where life has moved me now. Both in maturity and location. This past weekend I moved to Florida with my wife. We didn’t plan to do this, I mean, we did have a plan obviously, but it wasn’t something foreseen. Again, looking back at my plan from above, I was pretty confused about what I should do. Danielle and I took a chance, and a door opened. The Disney College Program was something Danielle looked at, applied for, and got in. The timing was perfect, and the timing was all God. When we look at some of the old testament stories, we see that many had to wait on a different timeline than their own. Sarah and Abraham waited many, many years until they were able to have children that God promised them. Noah had to build a massive ark, it didn’t take a couple of days, it took years. Joseph had dreams very early, but had to take on many trials through his life until he was able to step into those dreams. God takes time, it helps if we get out of the way and trust him.
If you get anything out of this, it’s this, you don’t need to have it all figured out. If you’re in high school, you don’t have to figure out what you’re going to be for the rest of your life. If you’re single, you don’t have to stress about getting married (so just shrug off those relatives). If you’re married, don’t try to figure out with kids, besides, it’s not cool to ask couples, you never know who may be struggling with infertility (Soap box over). The point is, you don’t have to figure this all out. No matter how young or old you may be, there isn’t a set plan for your life, and in turn, there isn’t a wrong choice to make when God presents you with some options. You don’t need a master plan, because God has a way better one than you can even fathom. You don’t need to have it figured out.
So live, trust God, and rest in the things he has blessed you with.
About the Author: Joshua Thomas is a writer by day and superhero by night. When he’s not writing and crimefighting, you can find him reading a good book, sipping warm tea, taking pictures, or dreaming. The young writer doesn’t fully know what he’s doing, but is enjoying the journey of it all. You can tweet memes at him on Twitter @joshua_thomas__ or follow his hipster photos and Jack Kerouac musings on Instagram @joshua_thomas__