Friday, July 23, 2010

Advance Planning - RSVP Required?

I am now (and always have been) a planner. I like to plan well in advance and make sure things happen according to plan. Friends and family have always commended me for my innate ability to plan big and small events and carry out the plans. I enjoy planning and seeing the project through to fruition. Advance planning makes me happy since I can list tasks and check them off as they are accomplished.

On the flip side, I find it a challenge to be spontaneous and have mild anxiety about surprises...even simple ones like surprise birthday parties or gifts that I did not preview. Case in point - my sister has planned a birthday brunch for me and I really don't want to go...not because I don't think it will be a fun time or good food, but because all I know is what time to be at her apartment. Too many questions are unanswered - what to wear, what kind of restaurant, who will be there, etc. It bothers me and I'm trying to be gracious and flexible in accepting this birthday gift...especially since she has rescheduled on me three times previously. My idea of being spontaneous is running an EMS call when the tones drop on my radio at some point during the 6pm to 6am squad duty night I am assigned as a volunteer. LOL

There have been quite a few instances where my plans did not go according to plan. I wanted to be a lawyer ever since I was a young child and that changed when I did not get accepted to law school immediately after graduation from the University of Richmond. I revised the plan to include working as a paralegal for a few years before trying the admission process again. By then, I felt God was leading me in a different direction and prayer warriors joined me in seeking God's will for my life/career. I was called to be an educator and spent four years as a high school history teacher in my hometown. I loved the challenges and rewards of my time as a classroom teacher but moved into higher education last year. I now work for a local university as the person responsible for admitting students to the various teacher preparation programs, coordinating placements for the various internships required in the programs, providing orientation and training sessions for faculty and students, and assisting teacher candidates with licensure paperwork and requirements upon successful completion of the teacher preparation program. I love the experiences this position provides and the people I work with (and for) are second to none!

That being said, I am still very much interested in my own personal education plans and potential career goals with those additional degrees (masters' and doctorate). I started on an Educational Leadership track and have encountered some obstacles to progressing as originally planned. There are some options to getting things back on track but there are also new options I had not previously considered. I could get a masters' degree in a related area of education, get my doctorate and be teaching at the college/university level. I could get a masters' degree in a related area of education, then get a second masters' degree in Ed Leadership and pursue doctoral and/or career as assistant principal/principal. I could try to seek admission to another institution's graduate program at greater personal cost and without guarantee of admission. This of course is just one example of my thoughts. Then there's also the personal questions - will I find "Mr. Right" and get married and live happily ever after? Will I have children? Will I lose the rest of the weight I have been working to shed for personal health/fitness? So much is unknown at this point and it scares me. Too much is beyond my control. Did I mention I struggle with patience and surrender?

Jeremiah 29:11-13 has always been an encouragement to me through the ups and downs and twists and turns in my advance planning efforts. God has plans for me. He knows them inside and out and they are good for me and for His purpose. The real struggle is in surrendering to His will and accepting His plans without knowing them in full. It's like being issued an invitation to this wonderful event and needing to RSVP without knowing when, where, who, what, why or how. I guess the RSVP is in being open regardless and I find this challenging...almost immobilizing. Does it make me less genuine in my faith to have these doubts, fears, and reservations?

I may not know what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future. I'm going to have to work to trust Him without reservation or in spite of my doubts and fears. He is my only hope for plans that are good and will prosper after all. Thanks for your prayers and words of encouragement and support!

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