One of my favorite quotes is “What makes God laugh…men making plans.” But, to my total frustration, I cannot, for the life of me, find out who said it or even remember where I saw it. But I did, and it has helped me immensely both in my work and in my life. Oh, I did find somewhat similar quotes from people like Woody Allen and a few others. But their quotes seem to be asking how I might be able to make God laugh…you know, entertain him. I don’t really want to try to make God laugh. I’m far from a comedian. How would I start? “Hey, did you hear the one about the little boy who brought his sister to school dressed like an elephant? Somehow, I expect he probably already heard it.
No, I think the reason I like the “What makes God laugh…” version is that it implies that God sees me making plans in this life, which is the only one I know right now. He understands why I must make plans, but He knows when and why I will have to rethink them…they just aren’t going to work long term. I’m a planner by nature. God built me that way. He knows how I think and how I react. That’s how I built my life. He knew when I thought I had all the right answers…had it all figured out. That had to make God chuckle, if only a little. My arrogance was showing. I just couldn’t imagine why so many folks weren’t smart enough to do it, too. Those poor souls; how can they still smile. But they did and they still do. Many of them I meet in church. They seem to know things in their heart that I didn’t. I finally realized that if I don’t focus on the really important things in life, I can never build my own big plan. And I really can’t author that plan…only God can. Did they learn that sooner than me! Maybe I wasn’t so smart.
I don’t remember being in my mothers womb. I was and that existence was very real and well documented. God knew I was there and certainly Mom and Dad and a host of family and friends knew it. But to me, it is a time that just didn’t exist. I don’t remember it at all. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. It did. I must accept that I don’t and won’t know everything, but God does and will. I was always in His plan. Other times in the past and probably yet to come, all will be folded into a bigger picture that only God knows. My attempts to control the future are futile and of no consequence in His world. His vision and world are bigger than the universe and don’t focus on trivialities of life here on earth. It is bigger than I can ever understand…an existence that is beyond my ability to see. It demands using senses (mental, physical and moral) I have yet to acquire.
So, why does that quote and the realization that I am not in control make me happy? One would think it would overpower me with the fruitlessness of trying to plan at all and be ready for anything. Actually, it helps to remind me that what is important one day can quickly change. And it’s ok. The plans I make have to change, too. But, without a doubt, a comprehensive, truly long-range plan exists…Gods plan. The things I feel obligated to plan for today may wind up in the shredder tomorrow. I just don’t have the data and couldn’t interpret it if I did.
How my life unfolds is out of my hands…it’s not my job, it’s Gods. And what a relief! I can rework plans, but only when one minute piece of God’s bigger picture is revealed to me, typically without explanation. Sometimes it comes in the form of success…sometimes sorrow and trouble. Then I have to rethink what I’m going to do next. It keeps life interesting and challenging. Making money and career advancement is wonderful…a gift. Success came upon me in ways I never imagined, and with each success I had to change my plans accordingly. But, somehow, buying that new BMC wasn’t a realistic or worthy goal when the price of gas soared. Maybe building that beautiful mansion-like home in the country wasnt’t such a good idea after when the mortgage crisis hit and values dove. These are just things, momentary pleasures. Worrying about buying a smaller car or selling the farm is unimportant when I’m sitting helpless next to a sick grandchild or trying to understand when and how to help a struggling family who just lost their home.
That budding retirement fund was the money tree of my plan that would assure comfort for the rest of my life, at least until the investments at its roots were reduced to mulch, the .com bubble burst and the government’s economic challenges proved to be only bubblegum patches. Or when I lost my dear husband, who just drifted into death at 67 without any warning at all. What about that retirement plan now or my shock at loosing my best friend and retirement buddy. The life we thought we were prepared to live needs to be reworked once again. I can only imagine how hard it must be for others who get warning…too much warning…as helplessly they watch as their loved one struggles with agonizing sickness and slow, seemingly unending death. These are the things that also send plans to the shredder.
“I Am Who I Am” is a song from “La Cage aux Folles” and “Birdcage” that describes a state of mind worth my striving for now. I must accept my pluses and minuses and value them all. As good a planner as I thought I was, if my plan doesn’t include all aspects of who I am…the real me…how can it ever work. It’s certainly not God-quality.
And the loved ones around me, my family and friends today plus those I have yet to meet, must be there in my big plans, too. I must accept that even these elements will change as Gods plans evolve. One thing is sure. I must believe I am there in His plans and accept that I will not and cannot know the details. In my planIp, I must fully trust God to love me and who I am. After all, he built me. He will be there to protect me when His plans must move forward, even though they may affect mine gravely. God owns the plan, I am not in control. Once I understand that, really accept it in my heart and in my mind, the rest is up to “Time and Love”. I must believe!