“God has a plan for you, it just may not be on your timeline.”
Well, that sucks. Stop telling me that. How does that help me in this moment? I’ve been given that line more times than I can count in my life and in all honesty, it never made me feel better. And when I tell the person that it didn’t help, they have one of two responses.
a. They try to explain it as though I don’t get it (I do…)
b. They tell me to just be patient
That second response is the one that gives me the nails-on- a-chalkboard feeling. Thanks. You know, I never considered just being patient. IfIcoulddothatIwouldthanksfortheuselessadvice.
All that being said, the truly annoying thing about that plan of God’s is that there’s nothing you can do to further it along. It’s incredibly ridiculous really. To prove my point, I am going to create an equally ridiculous metaphor to showcase it.
The snail is good, the snail is wise
Let’s say you’re in a race where the only participant is you. And the goal is to go ten feet in front of you right past a finish line. And just past that finish line is the exact thing you want in life. Now here’s the catch: you can choose whatever vehicle you want to get you there.
Of the options, you can ride a bicycle, drive a car, or climb aboard the saddle of a snail as big as you. And there are signs telling you how the bicycle has a titanium-alloy frame with self-inflating tires. And a sign about the car which says it goes 0 to 1,000 mph in .02 seconds and makes you look really cool while driving it.
And the sign about the snail says it moves…exactly as fast as you think a snail moves. But the sign also recommends you pick the snail.
The ridiculous thing (it’s not the giant snail?) is that you can literally see the destination. That thing you want, it’s right there! All I have to do is– -it’s just, right– -I can almost reach out– ahh!
What do you choose?
Ride the bicycle
- Sorry, you went fifty feet but drastically sideways, got distracted, forgot where you were going, and never actually crossed the finish line.
Drive the car
- Oops, you drove 1,477 miles in reverse, crashed, and had to trek all the way back through a desert but eventually crossed the finish line.
Trust the snail
- Congrats, there were a few bumps along the way but the snail saw you through them,and helped you cross the finish line at its own pace.
There’s a reason the tortoise always beats the hare in the story. In this case, you can start out strong but divert and practice avoidance any time things get rough, meaning you never actually achieve your goal. Or you focus so much on getting to the destination that you destroy yourself in the process and take way longer getting there than you needed to in the first place.
Hindsight: making you feel like a naive idiot since forever
When I was in college, there was a point where I had a job working in a psychiatric hospital for children and teens. The work was meaningful, the schedule allowed me to still attend classes, and the pay was more than fair. What’s more, they offered tuition reimbursement which was going to allow me to attend school in the summer and graduate earlier than expected.
(Thank you. Sincerely, tired and broke college kids everywhere.)
Almost a year into it, the hospital decided to implement the 12-hour shift policy at the psychiatric facility; it was already in place at the main hospital. Well, that wasn’t going to work out well with those 8 am college classes. So, I was forced to resign, which meant no summer classes, which meant another semester longer in college.
(This blows. Sincerely, me.)
Of course, now I needed a new job and I was able to find one quickly, but it was less hours and making half of what I was before. Also, no tuition reimbursement. It’s worth noting that this job was at a coffee house and remains to be one of the best working experiences I’ve ever had, but I’m getting ahead.
About a month into the role and I’m enjoying every bit of it. The people are interesting and weird in their own ways, I can study at night when it’s slower, and I have constant access to caffeine. The less money/longer graduation was still an issue that weighed heavily on me though.
Thankfully, there was a particularly cute girl that worked with me. Her name is Rachael, she’s now my wife, and I told her I loved her five days into us dating (that’s another story). Additionally, I happened to be talking to a regular customer one day about how I no longer had the money to attend classes in the summer. He asked me how much it was, I told him it was thousands of dollars more than I had, and he responded by writing me a check on the spot.
Cue stunned disbelief.
Without hesitation, he insisted I accept, pay him back when I could, and to help someone else in the future when I’m able. Whatishappeningisthisreallife?
And now we come full circle. Had I not lost that previous, well-paying, benefit-awesome job before, I would not have met my wife. And the money bit? Oh, well look at that, God had a plan all along.
written by: Zach Hardison, October 24, 2016
Zachary Koala Hardison is an eternal optimist, published author, and creative storyteller. He lives in New Albany, OH, with his wife, daughter, and two cats. If interested, you can find info on his book at cursetheday.com.