I often dream of getting lost. Just the other night, I had a dream that I was back in college and missed several classes over the period of two days, because I had no sense of direction and couldn’t find my classes. To be honest, this isn’t a far-fetched dream at all, since I don’t have the best sense of direction in real life either. If it weren’t for the Maps app on my phone, I am not certain I would be able to find much of anything.
I remember the first time I went to a Braves game in Atlanta when I was 17 years old. It was a time when I was only allowed 250 texts because “unlimited” wasn’t a thing, and my phone still slid open. I certainly didn’t have a magical app that knew where I was and could tell me exactly where to go! That day, driving around with my uncle and grandma, we had to have driven around the same circle a dozen times and stopped at four gas stations to get directions. After a few trips down there, I knew then that it was pretty easy to get to Turner Field-just take exit 246 and turn left! I remember making fun of myself for getting SO lost the first few times I went.
This problem doesn’t happen anymore no matter where I go thanks to technology, but life isn’t so simple, is it? There are times I wish that I had a literal road map to place in front of me to see where to go next and how to get there. I wish that I could say, “Hey, Siri!” and in 1-2-3 seconds, I would know exactly which way to take to get to my next destination.
When you’re young, you have dreams and a vision that you create for your own life. You just know in your mind that you’ll be married by this age, work in this job, get to travel to this many places, and the years go by, you look back, and none of those things you had planned for yourself are true. At least that’s the case with me. I was dead set on the idea of being an English teacher one day. Truthfully, this desire was placed in me by an adult in my life when I was young saying something along the lines of, “You’d be such a good teacher. Look at that handwriting!” (Yeah, true story…) Fast forward to college, and still, to this day, I have no idea what I would have majored in besides education, because what else can you can do with an English degree besides teach? There were days following college that I caught myself looking at the UTC catalog wondering, “What would I had majored in? There is nothing I am interested in!”
Needless to say, I am not a teacher. I am not a teacher because when I student taught, I realized that it probably wouldn’t be my favorite job, and my desires changed. Student teaching is something you do at the end of your college career, so I remember starting my non-teaching career after college wondering, “Why don’t they have student teaching at the beginning of your college career?” At that time, the question was simple, but it evolved into, “Why wasn’t my life mapped out for me?” into, “Did I waste 5 years of my life going to school for a piece of paper I won’t use?” into, “What’s next?”
What’s next?It’s a two word question that has the ability to keep many up at night and make them feel both useless and hopeless. After college, I spent many nights asking myself this question. I’ve also watched many friends become disenchanted and disappointed at the revelation that their hopes and their dreams won’t come to fruition on their timeline and to much of their dismay, might not happen at all.
I am glad to say that I have not become disenchanted or disappointed. I could have, but I didn’t and haven’t. What’s my secret? I don’t really have one, but I will share with you a few thoughts I have in regards to these things we call hopes, dreams, and plans.
I try very hard to believe these words in the Bible are true: “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” I know there are plans I’ve made that haven’t happened, I know there are paths I’ve taken that didn’t end up where I thought they would, but at the end of the day, I see that God was directing my steps the entire time, and for everything, there is a reason. He was directing my steps when I spent 5 years in college to earn a degree that I do not use by trade, but I do use what I learned in those classes quite often when I write or edit, two of my favorite things to do. He was directing my steps when I quit an administrative job and ended up working in insurance, a type of business I said to a friend, “I would never do.” I see how every step, ordained by the Lord according to that verse in Proverbs, got me where I am, how every step allowed me to meet the people I’ve met, and how every step has ultimately put me EXACTLY where I am supposed to be. Every step has led me to the relationships that were intended for me in this season, and every step has led me to learn exactly what I need to learn in this season.
It’s easy to “get lost” in this life, especially with our own ideas of what we think life should look like for us, but at the end of the day, the way to follow God on HIS journey for your life, without becoming baffled if YOUR plans didn’t turn out, is to remember that God’s ways are better than ours, and He knows much more than we do. He sees the big picture while we only see what’s in front of us. He knows our beginning and end. He directs our steps when we don’t know where to go and how to get there. Though we may not have a Maps app or Siri to help us along in this thing called life, we do have a Creator God ordaining every step, and the most important thing to do is to rest in the knowledge that God knows what He is doing no matter what is next.