God, thank you that my life didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to

I have been burdened with the heavy affliction of being a dreamer. My mind wanders.

Maybe it’s the creative nature in me screaming to get out, and from time to time I’ll get an idea and lock onto it for varying amounts of time. Maybe it’s a day or two; maybe it’s a couple of weeks. Maybe it’s a year.

Sometimes I’ve even gone so far as to dive into a project and complete it. A few of them remain tucked away in desk drawers.

When I was a kid, I used to thumb through this little book called The Image of Their Greatness, written by Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig. It was a book about baseball’s “Golden Age,” and included were old timey photographs of greats like Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Rogers Hornsby, and Tris Speaker. Legends who became like gods.

I used to study their faces. I dreamed that I, too, would become a Major League Baseball player. That crowds would cheer for me. But my playing days ended, even before I graduated high school. I was saddened that I missed my mark so glaringly.

Later, in college, I had fascinations about a number of careers. At first, I wanted to be an architect. I saw myself designing houses and buildings. Saw my creations popping up all over town, the tops of them stretching out above the trees. But I soon realized that architecture was not the profession for me.

There were times when I was tempted to pack my things and move to New York or Los Angeles to try to become an actor. Throw all my belongings in the back of my car and start off for the great unknown. But I never did.

Then I had plans to be a lawyer. I watched a movie in college and romanticized about what it would be like to become the Atticus Finch of Small Town, USA. I pictured myself pleading my client’s case, the jury’s decision hinging on my every word. Of course, I wore my tan poplin suit, glasses, and shined cap-toe Oxfords. But by the time I graduated law school, the romanticism had died.

My thoughts turned to teaching and coaching. My coaches were always larger-than-life. As a young man, I had fallen in love with the image of a basketball coach. I imagined pacing the sidelines, calling timeout, discussing strategy with my team, celebrating the winning bucket.

And that tan poplin suit.

Of course, I would become the head basketball coach at the University of Kentucky. I would be the best in the country. People would call me to ask me questions about how I did it. Winning would be an entrée I would eat regularly.

For a while, I did become a basketball coach and teacher. While I was never a very good coach, I built relationships that have continued throughout the years.

In the early spring of 2009, I walked away from coaching for good. I never became the head coach at Kentucky. Heck, I even lost more than I won. That wasn’t in my plan. It certainly didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. But God was doing something in my life that I couldn’t see.

He was leading me to become a writer.

The Bible says in the Book of Isaiah that the Lord knows the plans He has for us. Every time I have read that verse, I have failed to comprehend the word “know.” “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

For most of my life, I have failed to get on board with that plan. I seemed to always know what’s best for me, better than God. Forgive me, Lord.

You know what’s best for me.

I look back at all of these perceived failures of my life. Things that didn’t go the way I planned or things that never happened at all. At the time, it stung. My, did it sting.

But as I see how my life has unfolded, and how God has rolled out his mysterious blessings, one by one, I am utterly amazed. I am captivated at His choice of every good and perfect gift given to me. Selected just for me. Thoughtfully tailored for my good.

No, my life probably isn’t as ritzy as I planned. Maybe I don’t have as much money as I thought I would. Maybe I’m not nearly as famous as I thought I would be at this point in my life.

But God’s plans for me don’t involve those things. His plans are much deeper, much more noble, fruitful, life-giving, edifying, sustaining, and redeeming than that.

He cares for me.

So thank you, God, that my life didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.

And when I dream, may I dream of you. 78

 

 

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