When things don't go the way you planned
A Christian Science perspective: When you face a test that feels so much bigger than you are, it’s good to know that there’s something far more reliable to lean on than your own talents and energies.
For years I had known that I needed to worry less and trust more that things would work out. But I couldn’t quite get past the feeling that it was up to me to organize things well enough and cover all the bases thoroughly enough to keep everything under control. And if you’ve ever tried this approach, you know that no matter how well you prepare, there are always going to be things over which you have no control.
So when I was asked to conduct an all-day meeting, I really had to come to terms with this. It was one of those meetings that takes months of planning and has a very tight, very detailed agenda. In preparing for this meeting, I prayed to understand and honor God as my Father, my guide and Shepherd. God is Love, and I am Love’s own likeness. So the love that motivated this meeting came from God, and my ability to express love was being guided and inspired by divine Love.
God is divine Mind, the source of all intelligence and wisdom. I turned to this Mind, affirming and trusting that divine Mind had an intelligent plan for everything I, and those attending the meeting, would be called upon to do. As God’s children, we are naturally receptive to Mind’s direction and are embraced in the fulfillment of Mind’s plan and purpose – a purpose that would bless everyone there.
God is divine Principle. Principle is consistent, well ordered. So it stood to reason that any outline and content proceeding from Principle would express order, cohesion, and completeness. I trusted that the meeting would unfold according to God’s timing, not mine, providing just the right space for each idea to be well expressed and well understood. All of this planning and organizing was ultimately God’s responsibility. My job was to listen, to trust, to follow this divine plan.
The morning of the meeting arrived. Everything was in place. I stood ready to begin. And just before the host turned the meeting over to me, I heard her say, “We’ll break for lunch at 11:30.” I had planned the day with the understanding that we would break for lunch at noon, and had worked up an agenda that fit neatly around that break.
I knew the meal had been catered, and it would be next to impossible to change the time. But I was so convinced that God’s plan was in place that I quickly and silently turned to God to ask what to do. It was as if I could feel Him saying, “I have this, Linda,” and I knew that He did. I launched into the meeting. During our morning break I looked over my notes and quickly worked out which items could be moved to the afternoon. The day came off without a hitch.
A few years ago, that hiccup would have really rattled me. I would have been distracted all morning, irritated about whom to blame for the mix-up, the pains I had taken to prepare the original agenda, and what a wrench this was throwing in my carefully planned day. None of that even entered my mind. I felt free to give my full attention to the important work at hand.
When I look back on earlier projects, and my feeble attempts to try to control every detail myself, I realize that I was really leaving God out of His own creation. As if God had abdicated responsibility and was sitting off to one side leaving it to me to make everything right! Christ Jesus, centuries ago, said, “How happy are those who know their need for God, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs!” (Matthew 5:3, “The New Testament in Modern English,” by J.B. Phillips). Not only do we need God, but we need to trust that God is here – that He “has this!”
We all face tests, sooner or later, that feel so much bigger than we are, and that call for talents and resources that we, personally, just don’t have. It’s so good to know that there’s something far more reliable to lean on than our own talents and energies. The founder of The Christian Science Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, said, “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. vii:1-2). And, as I found that day, it’s great to experience the equanimity that comes with actively leaning on the “sustaining infinite.”