About roadmaps, blueprints and breadcrumbs
One of the biggest challenges one faces when living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is almost a complete inability to plan ahead. Not only my "big" life plans had to be abandoned, like going back to school, having another child, moving up the career ladder, but it also became a struggle to plan for "little" things in life. Those "little" but nevertheless important things that used to bring so much joy to my heart: being involved at church, serving as a volunteer at a community event, meeting with a friend for coffee or a trip to a mall with my daughter. Planning is a challenge!
It is even a bigger challenge if you are a PLANNER.
There was always a plan in my life to follow. Not only that. There was always a plan "A" and then there was a plan "B" just in case to fall back on. And then there was a "If all else fails" plan. Those were my personal plans, our family plans, my career plans, my ministry plans.
Life used to have a blueprint, it used to have a roadmap. It used to have some landmarks or, at the bare minimum, breadcrumbs to follow. When you go through your entire life following a map, however inaccurate and imperfect it is, waking up one day and realizing that the map is gone can be very scary.
While you know there IS still tomorrow, you no longer have the slightest idea WHY there is still tomorrow.
For a big planner like me for the longest time this adjustment was a struggle. And I must admit, sometimes it still is. I remember asking God "So what now? I thought we had a plan. I was working towards the concrete goals. I was sure that in my plans and my pursuits I was actually following your will. And now when all of it is gone, what now? What do you want me to do now?"
You know how they say that every cloud has a silver lining? Well, sometimes this lining is hardly visible, but you don't have a choice but to find it in order to keep going. I was asking God for the clouds to be gone.
I was asking God to change my situation, but He chose to change my perspective instead.
Did you know that it is actually a blessing NOT to be able to plan. Don't get me wrong, it is hard. It is VERY hard to function in life without being able to commit to things. But at the same time it is liberating not to have a defined plan or a defined path to follow. There is such freedom in NOT having my OWN plans and my OWN expectations about my future. How many times our own dreams, our own desires, our own initiatives get in the way of what God wants us to do!
How many times MY plans got in the way of what GOD had in mind for me!
I learned to appreciate the freedom of just being available to God and allowing Him to shape my future. When external distractions are gone, you really start to understand what is on the inside. You really start to understand what your heart is all about! And there is so much power in truly knowing your heart.
There is freedom in knowing that there is no other desire in your heart and no other purpose in your life but to worship God and to do His will. I know there is a purpose. I know that He called me to serve in His Kingdom. I may not know when and how and I may not be able to plan for it. But the questions "what", "when" and "how" no longer matter if you don't have a choice but to trust God to figure things out.
It is a strange but an equally beautiful place to be where you have nothing left of your own to let go, where you have nothing of your own to give.
All you can do is say “I am the clay. Do as you want, Lord!