I admit it. I love to plan, make lists, and organize. I used to schedule every moment of my day, week – future. I thought being organized allowed me to accomplish more, and perhaps there is some truth to that. Everything had a time and place and fit into nice little slots. Or so I thought.
The reality is little worked as I hoped. I believe that God tried to show me that adhering to my master schedule was not always in my best interest. Obstacles often popped up along my path forcing me to veer, dodge, and jump. But I continued to try to structure my life.
And then my husband developed Alzheimer’s. It took the massive challenge of assisting him with this disease to force me to relinquish the imaginary control I thought I should have over my life and allow God to direct me. God is the Master, after all.
You need an unlimited supply of patience when working with someone with Alzheimer’s. Even very basic thoughts are confusing and everything is continuously repeated. If you try to rush them, the consequences are far greater than allowing them to process and act at their own pace, which a turtle could outrun.
Now my plan is to not plan. There isn’t any way I can anticipate how things will go, so it is pointless to etch my day in stone. Of course I have appointments and events marked on my calendar. I save and prepare. However, I don’t over-schedule and I keep in mind that if things don’t fall in line as I hoped, it is OK to modify and go with the flow. By remaining fully in the moment I enjoy life more, however it goes.
Saint Theodora understood this. Her ministry was nothing as she imagined it to be. When she was transferred from one parish to another in France, she would rather have stayed where she was. She loved the people around her and didn’t want to leave them, but she cheerfully accepted her new assignments.
Nor had she ever considered missionary work in the United States prior to being asked to found the American motherhouse and schools. Mother Theodore, as she so fondly is known to her sisters, students, and friends, thrust her heart and soul into God’s work wherever it took her. She followed the scripture: “Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established” (Proverbs 16:3).
Our God is a God of surprises. If you think you know exactly where you are going, I can tell you from experience that God will most likely make some changes to your plan. You cannot control everything in your life. But you can trust in the Lord. God’s plan for you is so much more powerful and dynamic than anything you can imagine.
©Mary K. Doyle