When Things Don’t Go As Planned…
“I just don’t understand why this has happened?” I said in a tearful voice. “This is the first time in my life that I truly do not know what to do.”
The soft and wise voice on the other end of the phone replied, “Chris, God is so interested in you right now, he has made the circumstances of your life such that all that is left to do is trust him. This is not between you and your daughter…this is between you and God.”
That was a conversation I recently had with Sue, a women who came to me in a phone call whom I now call “my angel from God.” Sue is 30 years my senior and 3 years ago found herself facing the same challenge I am today. A good friend referred her my way and she happened to return my phone call at the exact moment I needed her…when I was at an all time low.
For the last 2 months I have been pretty silent on the writing and speaking front. I have always said that God gives me my material through my life experiences and lately, he sure has been delivering! As many of you may already know, my oldest daughter suffers from addiction. After her second time in rehab in February, her and my grandson moved to Arizona to live with me. Shortly after the move, my daughter found herself back in rehab…and I found myself alone taking care of a 6 month old full-time. It has been 2 months now and my daughter will not be home for some time, if ever. So here I find myself, having found independence and running the business of my dreams and all of a sudden the plans changed. For the first time in a long time I looked into my future and it did not seem as if it is going to go as I planned. I planned to be a grandmother…not a mother again. What about my business? What do I do when I need to travel? What about a social life…not to mention dating anyone?
I would love to tell you that when I was faced with the situation of having to raise my grandson alone that I was ecstatic and looking forward to the opportunity…but the truth is, I was angry. My anger existed on many levels; anger at my daughter for the choices she was making and the messes she left behind that I always seemed to (choose) have to clean up; anger at losing my independence and now not being able to do what I wanted when I wanted (after all, I raised my kids already 20 years ago…I paid my dues!); and mostly, I was angry at God…really angry! What about me? What about my plan? Why do I always seem to find myself taking care of other people’s needs and never my own?
The last 2 years have not been a joy ride for me, to say the least. Three words sum up how I feel I have been treated in the last two years… used, cheated and lied to by the people in my life I called friends, family or significant others. I have always believed that the people in our lives mirror back to us lessons we need to learn to move forward, and knowing full well that the pain increases each time until we get the lesson, I knew I was near the end due to the extreme amount of pain I have felt in the last 2 months. So, I finally asked myself, “What is really going on here?” “What is the lesson I am to learn?” “What do I need to let go of to finally heal?”
A friend recently told me that anger is a sign that we have been silent for too long. Having lived my life always aiming to make everyone else happy, I could relate to keeping silent for too long. Years of not speaking up if I disagreed with someone; years of allowing others to walk all over me because of a fear of being alone; years of not telling someone how I really felt because I was afraid of what they would think of me and that I would hurt their feelings…never mind my feelings. I was starting to get it.
Am I healed yet? Not quite. Is the anger gone? Not totally. But here is what I have learned so far:
- Your external circumstances do not dictate your happiness. It is only from a different internal perspective that you find true happiness. You must first be happy and then your external circumstances will follow.
- Life does not happen to you…it happens for you. If you find your life is in turmoil at the moment, know that God is so interested in you that he decided to stir things up in order to wake you up!
- In any given circumstance, you always have the choice to change your thought. If the thought you are thinking does not feel good, change it to one that does.
- The true power of life lies in the unknown. “Needing to know” is a result of fear. Uncertainty is one of the only constants we have in life. Learn to have faith and trust that powers beyond you are working behind the scenes to orchestrate the perfect outcome for everyone involved.
- Trust God. This one is easier said than done. I have never quite understood exactly how you “let go and let God.” I guess it is the controlling part of me that has a hard time with it. But trusting that he has my back and truly believing that he is working miracles in my life as we speak, even though I may not be able to see them yet, gives me hope in times when I feel hopeless.
- Never give up. Keep moving forward and take one day at a time. You cannot live your whole life at once. Stay in today and do not allow yourself to constantly think of the future or re-live the past. You only have today and this moment. Make it a good one…and the one YOU want!
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, ‘I’ll try again tomorrow.’” ~Mary Anne Radmacher
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Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc.
Chris – Thank you for sharing. This post really speaks to me.
Chris, you already have 1/2 of the value down……….. belief!
The second and most valuable part of trust is to remember. Try this, look for God in all things. “If you seek Him , He will be found by you “. 2Chronicles15:2
That requires time and concentration. Start with the things of creation. Look at the beautiful life growing infront of you every day. Nothing is by chance, all things are by design. Seek the designer and be amazed that YOU had nothing to do with it! How can we look forward and trust that God will do, if we can’t remember the things he has already done?
I have prayed for God to comfort you and to increase his presence in your life today
Nancy Lyn Cotter
Thank you and congratulations to you dear Chris for being so authentically candid, open and honest. This will resonate for many people on many levels. We are all the walking wounded, the only difference is to the degree is which we have been “victimized” and the depths of our wounds.
As you are so keenly aware, our task is to learn how to honor ourselves in each moment of choice and to grow in our responses to all that life “throws” at us. As you so beautifully have written, there are never any guarantees about anything – change is the only constant and it is not always by our personal choice that those changes happen. Our personal plans often seem to make a mockery of reality, just as the friendships and relationships we have counted on often show themselves to be built on illusions.
Sometimes relationships end in betrayals of trust or abuses of power because they exist in false realities of our own (unconscious) making. I have learned the hard way numerous times as well, and like you, especially over the past few years, that our minds (and hearts) often “choose” to believe something that is not really true in order to make us feel better about life and ourselves. So much of what goes on for us as human beings is in the unseen realms, in our subconscious, and in the collective, cosmic consciousness and energies swirling around us.
The one given as you describe, is that there is no certainty about anything. We can not claim to “know all” nor can we profess to have an “inside track” onto higher knowledge that somehow puts us into a position of superiority over any other. There is no true hierarchy – we are all of equal value and all have something to give, something to contribute, something special to share and teach.
As we all struggle to make sense of Life and its many challenges, we begin to recognize that we are being pushed, pulled, prodded and sometimes emotionally and spiritually pulverized and squeezed into higher realms of consciousness. When our pat answers and platitudes just don’t measure-up to the questions and crises before us, we have no other recourse but to turn the cosmic mirror towards us. We are required to look with unflinching and glaring honesty at every wrinkle, wart and secret little story we may still be trying to hide from ourselves about ourselves.
Like you, I found many unplanned and definitely unwanted things in my path as I sought only to find higher truths and spiritual connections. And like you, I have discovered that the reality and truth we seek is more indepth self-knowledge as we learn to respond to situations and circumstances from a higher realm of understanding, detached from our small selves and emotional, ego-minds.
There is a higher reason and purpose beyond our current knowing in any given event, and no doubt you will feel blessed in many, many ways you did not imagine in the days, weeks, months and years ahead as you open yourself completely to this newest gift in your life. Much love to you and yours my friend.