Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Plan

No one is perfect at making decisions. Everyone has their own little weaknesses and flaws to their decision making M.O.

Some people get bogged down in the details. They can't make decisions about little things like which ice cream to buy at Ben & Jerry's: Should I get a sundae or a shake or a cone? Should I get small medium or large? Should I get mint chocolate chip or coffee or brownie chunk or some combination thereof? They hem and they haw and they twist and turn--and take forever in the process-- but once their mind it is like pulling teeth trying to get them to change it.

Some people don't get bogged down at all. They just go with what they feel. Details aren't as important as the big picture. Just go and do and be. Adventure is the name of the game. They can make up and un-make up their minds without blinking.

And there are a whole mix of people in between. Me? I am one of those in between people. I am a big picture hem-haw-er. I don't care so much about the details, but when it comes to big decisions it can take me near forever to think everything through. I pick whatever makes the most sense. And once I choose, I stick with it until someone pries my cold dead metaphorical fingers off of it.

Highschool was a time of hemming and hawing. Deciding what to do with the rest of your life kind of tends to produce a little bit of pressure. Because what you decide to do determines what degree you need, which determines which college you should go to, which determines who you will meet, which determines who you will marry; it also determines how much money you will make, which determines where you live, how you live, and what you live in. One slip up here, right at the beginning of real life, and I could go tumbling down into some less than ideal/not my full potential version of my life (or so I thought then at least). So what was I going to do with my life? How can I get the most out of it? And how can I be sure I am making the right choice? You can see why I might be a high-schooler of great consternation (in case you were reading fast, thats conSTERnation, not conSTIPation. Though sometimes that did come up in a non-decision making kind of way.)

So like any good American boy, I looked at what I was good at. The best version of my life, and the most fulfillment out of my days and ways must lie in what I do best--right? So I thought about what I could see myself doing for years and years and actually enjoying. I liked writing. I was pretty good at it. So maybe I could pursue that. UF had creative writing as a degree. I could go there and bright futures would pay my way. Which sounded like a pretty good option.
But then again, there was this whole God thing. Growing up, I always said I wouldn't be a pastor. I am not too good with people and emotions and stuff. Shepherding is not my gift. But the thing about it was...I loved preaching. I mean really loved it. It was pretty much the bee's knees and the cat's pajamas all rolled into one. Plus, there was this one CIY where I said I would do ministry. How do I combine writing + God + preaching - shepherding?

After a little bit of concocting, I had it! I would become a professor at a Christian college! I was always good at school, so getting the degrees wouldn't be a problem. And it fit perfectly with all my strengths! I could write books in my spare time, talk about ideas all day, do ministry, and preach whenever I felt like it! And so "The Plan" was born. I would go to FCC, then to a seminary, then maybe get my doctorate, and then be this preacher/writer/teacher synthesis. Boy, was I going to be happy.

With my vice-like fingers gripped firmly around "The Plan", I headed off to FCC. Everything was going to be great. I was going to be happy. I was going to great things for God. I was going to be in control.

And then God came along and screwed it all up.

~J.L. Smith

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