"Now listen, you who say; 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say,'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.'" (James 4:13-15)
Baseball taught me many things. I learned never to say to a pitcher's wife, "It's already the ninth and he hasn't given up a single run." I learned to go home if the game was tied. And I learned that the baseball life is unpredictable.
Paul and I officially moved 42 times in our first ten years of marriage. A number of years ago he gave me the title of "U-Haul Queen of America." Not every move has been terrible – sometimes change is good - but in baseball, the wives bear the brunt of it all. It is the wives who must acclimate to the city, locate doctors and babysitters, make new friends, etc., all while providing the guys with a "Home." Sometimes "Home" is the room at the Hampton Inn!
At first, all this transition caused confusion, anger and frustration. I was angry that we changed teams all the time, tired of being sent down, and upset that we kept uprooting our kids. Really, though, I was angry that God's plans never matched mine. Didn't He know what I needed? I'm not that picky. What’s so bad about a long-term contract with a "no trade clause" in my hometown? Didn't He know how much easier this would be on us?
Thankfully, God isn't interested in making my life easy. He loves me so much He will do what is best for me. He wants complete dependence on Him, and each of us requires a different degree of struggle to achieve it. My path needed to be moving, trading, injury and financial uncertainty.
As the years passed, I began to learn to loosen my grip on all of MY plans. I began to seek Him and ask for His grace to live this crazy life. I began to see how He had great purpose in every move and in each new relationship, and how God could use us and work in us. Still, I could get down when God interfered with MY agenda. I had mapped things out. There was no flexibility. But, when I am open to God's route in my life, I can live in a restful peaceful state, knowing that He is with me and is doing great things.
Do I think it's bad to plan? No. But we need to be open to the unexpected surprises from God. I'm not “Miss Flexible” by any means, but am learning to take a deep breath, let out a few tears and open my hands because God’s plans are always better than mine.
Prayer: Father, help me to give all of my plans over to you each day. I know your way is best.
Suggested Reading: James 4