When Life Has Other Plans: Embracing Change When the Answer is No

By: Sandy Churchill

I am one of the billions of people on the planet who has faith in a higher being—to me, God is blessedly in charge and provides a caring, listening ear to everything from praise and gratitude to parenting and marriage challenges, career woes, and world crisis prayers of all kinds. There is comfort in having someone else “in charge”—to talk to, pray to, and trust that there is a greater plan in the works. But what happens when our own well-conceived plans go awry?

Sandy zipline pic Christmas card

Job losses, health concerns, financial woes, relationship hurdles, and conflicts with family, friends, and colleagues can wreak havoc on our hope and happiness in this world and ruin more than a few perfectly good days, months, or years. We are all dealt blows from time to time and some of us roll with the punches with more finesse and cope-ability than others.

The delightful (sarcasm definitely intended) unpredictability of menopause moods and unreliable coping skills have made changes—and thwarted plans of any kind really—difficult to say the least. At the doctor’s office I explain this quirky life phase as “limited coping skills” which is a serious understatement. Until this fair-weather friend called estrogen evens herself out, I am unpredictable, teary, cranky, and not-at-all a go-with-the-flow partner in life. At least not yet. (I still hope this talent and handy skill returns.)

So on the last day of a summer vacation down the Cape, our family did some mad-dash unpacking upon returning home and I made the mistake of checking email. (Curse you, responsibility!) I discovered I was “let go” from a ghost-writing job I loved due to budget cuts. Sure—it’s not personal, and I truly understand the budget issue at hand—but I did not take the news well. Tears ensued. Yep. Zero to sixty—minimal coping skills, remember? I took it as a failure. Rejection. Another no, and another door shut for inexplicable justification in my universe.

Sandy voting CHRISTMAS CARD 2018

My son hugged me (definitely a kindred spirit) and my husband assured me I should be working on my books. I have some completed manuscripts and several others in the works and my reluctance to spend serious daily hours in the projects has always stemmed from my practical side which needs to help pay the bills. So he sees the silver lining. Or at least a lining—because there won’t be much silver for awhile.

So what blows have you dealt with of late? Surprise medical issues that might be life-saving warnings to take care of your health? Arguments that usher in relationship mending? Reminders that time is ticking and we have other work to do on this journey? Yes, God has other plans for at least some of my time. I am hoping I can muster up enough faith and courage to dust off the rejection and disappointment and give the new plans a try.


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