Tonight I was coming home on the metro and saw a guy standing with a backpack on. He probably thought I was about to rob him, but I was looking at his backpack and thinking about how it was different than mine. (I’m going somewhere with this… I think.)
His backpack only had one big zipper and a little pouch in the front. I got my backpack off Groupon about a year ago. It’s made to carry a lot of stuff at once. One of those camping-gonna-be-gone-for-six-months backpacks. I started considering that his backpack was never meant to carry that much. Mine was built to hold quite a bit.
It seems that each of us are given a different sized backpack in life. We all are forced to carry burdens on our backs. Some weigh a bit more than others.
I’m not sure why there are different weights on different backs at different times. I don’t know why it’s not more like school where everyone has to go through the same amount of grades. I don’t know why some people seem to suffer so much more than others.
I’m not saying I am anywhere close to the suffering many others are going through, it’s just that my backpack has been feeling a bit heavier lately. I had a Plan A, and then that failed, but it was all right because I had a Plan B. That one just fell through as well. I usually plan on my plans working out, which is why it’s hard on me when they don’t.
A lot of people like to tell you to have a plan, and then they will tell you you’re not successful because you didn’t lay out a good enough plan. Can I just say that I think that’s bull? I’m not for going out there and constantly winging it, but to set out a “Where will you be in five years” track is unrealistic to me.
Think back to where you thought you would be five years ago and tell me if it’s where you are. If your path played out perfectly, then congratulations, you’re annoying everyone.
If you watch football you’ll likely see the quarterback call what’s called an audible. An audible is called when the offense sets up for a play that they had planned on running, but the defense is lined up differently than they expected. An audible changes the play on the spot to something else. I’m finding out life is a series of one audible call after the next. At least mine is. Maybe yours is, too. You can spend as much time as you want at practice or in the huddle, but the game will always change everything you had planned out.
You know I try to shoot you straight on here, so let’s get really real for a second. (I mean I already told you about my back cyst. We’ve deepened our relationship quite a bit.) The other night my girlfriend Brittany and I went to the grocery store to get some chicken so she could make us some chicken salad because she makes awesome chicken salad. Since I lost my job I’ve been trying to hold it together pretty well. I’ve been writing blogs talking about finding the good in the circumstances you hate. I’ve been trying to give glory to God and not disappoint anyone or make myself a burden on my family and friends. But sitting in that parking lot with the rain coming down, I just broke down and cried. Like really wept.
Perhaps you know how it feels to cry after you’ve been trying so hard not to. It’s a peculiar release. Through my tears I just told her, “I hate this. I’m not strong enough. I don’t think I can keep getting up.” I knew things could be worse compared to some of the weight other people have to bear in the world, but in my own world, I felt like God had put too much into my backpack, and I didn’t know how much farther I could carry it.
As I said, I don’t like it when I spend my time and hopes in planning things out and then they all collapse on me. I wonder what the point of it at all was.
It might sound funny to you, but I think God knows how I feel. He had a plan that didn’t work out. He planned on mankind living in peace and without sin. But we screwed it up. I mean right from the beginning the plan collapsed. So he had to call an audible. Jesus stepped in and took the cross. I don’t think that Jesus sat there and thought, “Oh this is fun. This is the Father’s will and I need to shut up and do it.” I’m quite sure he had his own version of sitting in a grocery store parking lot.
I’m not smart enough to get theological on you and give you a hermeneutical defense of the purpose of everything, but I can just tell you that life is full of collapsing plans, and we’d better get used to calling audibles early on. It doesn’t make it any easier, but to think that everything will go according to plan is kind of silly.
2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “We walk by faith, not by sight.” We like saying that verse but it’s another thing to live it out. Faith doesn’t let you plan too far ahead. Faith just looks for the very next step. That’s where that whole “daily bread” thing comes into play. You’re not getting bread that will last for the next two years.
Plans are good and I think we need to consider where things are heading, but the maps of our lives are just not meant for us to see. I think that’s all right. Faith is continually putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes quite slowly. Maybe that’s why we don’t run by faith, we walk by it.