How's That Working For You?
When I was a kid, my favorite musical group was Styx, and my favorite Styx album was Paradise Theater, which contained the song "Nothing Ever Goes As Planned." The lyric from that song that has stuck with me for well over three decades goes like this:
'Cause, nothing ever goes as plannedIt's a hell of a notionEven Pharaohs turn to sandLike a drop in the oceanYou're so together and you act so civilizedBut every time that things go wrong you're still surprised
That song was written for me. I'm likely not the first to think that.
You see, I love having a plan.
I love seeing the plan go according to the plan, and I do everything I can to be a hundred moves ahead so that if the plan goes awry, there's a plan for that, too.
As I write this, I can hear the voice of a guy I used to know a long time ago, playing a particular question on repeat in my head.
That voice that plays in my head from time to time is annoying. But I've also learned the question my friend used to ask is a question that needs answering, even if I don't like what the answer might be.
He would ask, "How's that working for you?"
I heard this song some time ago by the group Bad Book that included these lyrics I jotted down to remind me of the futility of trying to control everything in my life:
You bank on a linear life evolved by your command.
You'll find the painful prize of watching it unhinge.
Life isn't linear, not by a long shot. It's full of twists and turns and unexpected detours, and very seldom do you find yourself exactly where you thought you'd be. We all know this to be accurate, no matter how hard we try to resist the truth of it.
But we sure try to bank on a linear life, don't we? We try hard to bank on a linear life that unfolds before us precisely as we want it to, but it never seems to work out that way because life is so confoundingly long and winding.
If you've been struggling with this conundrum and never seem to find a better way to be, then maybe it's time to answer my friend's question:
"How's that working for you?"
One of the many things I'm learning about God in my faith journey is that God wants so much more for us than we want for ourselves. We tend to settle for less than.
We also tend to keep trying the same old way of doing things, even though they aren't even remotely in line with the full, abundant life God desires for us to live.
It takes surrender to live that full, abundant life. It takes surrendering all our outcomes and our desire for control over them.
It takes trust that God, in God's loving kindness and mercy, will never leave or forsake us and will always be there to pick us up even when we fall flat on our faces after taking a hard, unexpected turn in the road of life.
May you find the strength to trust in God throughout all the twists and turns of your life's journey. May you find peace in surrender. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.