Yesterday at work my coworker spoke of a woman she knows who has encountered essentially no trials in her life and this has made her a “me, I, need, want” person. And then I see my coworker. I look at her and the amazing woman she is; she is a privilege to know because I can see how much in her lifetime she has learned, and if I could only embrace a portion of that wisdom and knowledge, how much richer my life would be. She is a woman who has dredged through hardship after hardship. Her life has blossomed, but that blossoming came with much preparation and pruning.

In my little life thus far, my hardship, too, has been minimal. In reality this miscarriage is my first true hardship on a very personal level. And this makes me think, God calls us to not be comfortable. Not that we should seek out hardship, but do you think that perhaps we can grow in some of the characteristics that my coworker presents (compassion, understanding, generosity, hospitality) by stretching ourselves. Like stepping out of our comfort zone? What does that mean? I don’t know exactly. But Ryan was also talking this morning, about when plans don’t go our way, we ought to look to see where God is moving around us and join in.

You know, it’s not about what can I do to get back on track. You see, I like formulaic practicality. So maybe it’s like this: 1. Things aren’t going as I planned. 2. I have no control (As I posted on Facebook just the other day: It’s out of my hands it was from the start —Jars of Clay). 3. God is in control. 4. Look to see where God is working and moving and shaking and shaping. 5. Re-orient to God. 6. Live in God’s control. 7. Throw away fear. 8. Embrace the one guaranteed stable choice. 9. Renew strength. 10. Top up my love tank. 11. Give and love. 12. Give and love relentlessly. 13. See lives change. 14. See my life change. 15. Repeat. And you know when I give directions (the “sig”) for medications and if I can’t quite read all of the doctor’s handwriting, I typically add “as directed” at the end for good measure. So my “sig” for life when it’s not going as planned is this: “follow steps 1 through 15 as directed.” (Of course ‘as directed’ allows room for the Holy Spirit to guide and for the voice of God to speak that I may follow.)