My first class in high school was freshman English. The teacher was a former lawyer who was in her first year at the school. Despite our ups and downs (mostly due to my endless interruptions) she admitted to me my sophomore year that I was her favorite student. I looked up to that Southern Lady, Penny Jo, and viewed her as my unofficial mentor. My senior year, I went to her office to get my year book signed. She asked about my future plans. I told her my plans to go to school, become an art teacher, get married, and have a ton of kids. She gave me a kind look then gave me this advice: “Want to know how to make God laugh? Tell Him your plans.” My eighteen year old self was taken back by her response. I was even a little bit offended. I pushed her words out of my head and went on with my life.
When I was 23 years old and my life had imploded and I had to move back home full of heartbreak and feelings of failure, Penny Jo’s words hit me like a ton of bricks. I ate my portion of humble pie and picked up the pieces and build my life again. But I didn’t learn my lesson.
When I dated guys, I had my plans. I had planned out my whole life pertaining to Mr. Right before I had even met him. I wanted a guy that had a career, could put me through school, who would want kids right away, and a motorcycle would be nice. As I dated more and more, God laughed harder and harder. I met Superman. He was younger than me, a full time student on the track to be a teacher, he lived at his parents’ house, and he defiantly did not have a motorcycle. Of course after realizing that Superman had more important qualities than a motorcycle like treating me well, being honest, strong in the Gospel, and being an all-around good guy, I was on board.
I’ve since then continued to make plans in my life and have had God laugh at my plans. As I reflect on my past thirty years of life (yes, today is my birthday), I realize that I’m learning that sometimes it’s good to make plans, other times it’s foolish. It’s not necessarily bad or wrong to make plans, if we didn’t, we’d never get anywhere. But when we make plans, we should make them with Heavenly Father. Even if it seems like a righteous desire that we are planning, Heavenly Father’s plans are always better and greater than anything that we can come up with. Sometimes His plans cause pain, trouble and hardships, but all that means is that we’re growing and becoming stronger than before.
How have your plans changed?
What reflections have you had on your birthday?