Making a Choice When Plans Change (guest post by Beth Vogt)

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Today’s guest post is by friend and author Beth K. Vogt. I’m not sure when our paths crossed online, but I’m delighted they did. Since then, Beth and I have found we have much in common from falling on our faces (specifically our noses) to becoming first-time grandmas to baby girls in July. I’m happy to have Beth here today, sharing her story about changed plans and promoting her latest book, Catch a Falling Star. 

Also, I’m honored to be guest posting about changed plans on Beth Vogt’s blog, so please stop by there too.

Unknown-1Here is Beth’s story – 

I have no one to blame but myself.

What did I expect when I decided to write Catch a Falling Star, a book that wrestles with the question “What do you do when life doesn’t go according to plan?”

Wait. I know what I expected: to wreak havoc on my imaginary characters’ lives – and then resolve all the conflict by the time I typed “The End.” Not that everything would be wrapped up neatly with a virtual bow – I try to write realistic fiction – but there would be growth and acceptance and some sort of happily-ever-afters.

The problem?

All the ways my life didn’t go according to my preferred plans this past year.  Here’s a glimpse of how my life went off-course while I aimed for a deadline:

  • Vertigo knocked me off-kilter again.
  • My computer crashed – never a good thing, but especially inconvenient when I’m editing on deadline.
  • The Waldo Canyon Fire forced my family to evacuate our home just weeks before our daughter’s wedding. (Her wedding dress was the first thing loaded into her car.)
  • Tension erupted with extended family. (Pardon me for being vague. Sometimes vague is best.)

Catch-a-Falling-Star-bookcoverDid I really expect that I was exempt from answering the “What are you going to do?” question I threw at Kendall and Griffin, the main characters in Catch a Falling Star?

No. But if God had whispered in my ear “Hey, Beth – your plans for your life? They line up completely with my plans for your life” I would have breathed a huge sigh of relief and said thank you.

I’ve learned a lot of different lessons as I’ve squared off with vertigo, computer melt-down, a forest fire, and family friction. But there’s one truth that surpasses all the rest: God is at work even when I don’t see anything happening. 

My first reaction when life spins out of my control is to figure out a way – my way – to make things right again. But I’m learning to keep my hands off of circumstances beyond my control. To pray. To act – or wait. And if waiting is what is needed, to believe that God is working to change me and to change anyone else involved.

Life will sometimes go according to my plans – and sometimes it won’t. And I choose to believe that God’s involved with both – rather than assuming I’m on my own when my plans are derailed. Just because I’m surprised by what happened doesn’t mean God is.

How do you handle life when it resists going according to your plans and dreams? What lessons have you learned from a time when your life took a detour?

2013 Pro Photo Colorado Casual 1
Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best is often behind the doors marked “Never.” Despite being a nonfiction writer and editor who said she’d never write fiction, Beth’s second inspirational contemporary romance novel, Catch a Falling Star, releases May 2013 from Howard Books. Beth is also the Skills Coach for My Book Therapy (MBT), best-selling author Susan May Warren’s writing community.
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21 responses »

  1. I was disappointed, as any writer would be, when a project I proposed to an editor at a conference received a flat, unemotional rejection a few months later. Although if the editor had gotten emotional over rejecting the novel, that could have created its own set of problems. It stung for a while, as all rejection does. But six months later, I heard the announcement that the fiction department of that publishing house was closing. Rejection was the choice that kept me from even larger disappointment and from leaving the novel in a swirling vortex of uncertainty and crushing disappointment. It didn’t occur to me until this minute! That novel is the same one that–rewritten and matured–just released! When the Morning Glory Blooms!

    • Sometimes we can’t see the reason for a roadblock until months (years?) later — then we think “Oh!That’s why that happened.” And sometimes we never know why … and we have to let it go. Worrying about what was — and what wasn’t — just keeps me tethered to the past.

      • I love the insight you shared, Cynthia.

        On Easter Sunday, I had a very strange 30 second conversation with a waiter who asked me an innocent question, but actually stepped into the middle of a family mess. He had no idea about the situation. I wondered when we’d ever let sleeping dogs lie.

        However, last week, another unexpected circumstance came up. I realized I needed to know what the waiter told me in order to deal effectively with the more recent event. Just another reminder God knows what he’s doing so I don’t have to figure it out.

        Good luck with your book. What a beautiful title.

  2. Sometimes I kick my brain into high gear to plan and strategize ways out or around the problem. Other times I realize the direct-hit is so on target that it’s far beyond coincidence and wait (often impatiently) for God to show me what He has in mind because past experience has shown me He’s still in control, though His timing may be more patient than mine.

  3. Must be something in the air. I recently had vertigo the day I had set aside to prepare for a family party for a baby naming for our newest granddaughter. My computer crashed- no deadlines to meet but was down & out for a week when I intended to get a newsletter out. Clearly things happen. Unlike you, I don’t turn to God or faith, but have learned to “not take it personal”, to just be with the circumstances & look for solutions by asking for help & staying calm. That has worked for me & so I will continue to focus on who I will be in the face of unfortunate events.

  4. I am so sorry that you’ve been hit with vertigo too. It is no fun, even though I joke that I have a virtual roller coaster in my head. I like your perspective about not taking unexpected events personally.

    • I like that phrase also, Roz. I take everything too personally, especially something like an unexpected event. I’ll jump to the conclusion that God is punishing me, like he’s a terrorist or something. I’m really going to think about what you shared.

  5. Have recently started a Bible Study on the book/life of Jonah … and how his normal, profitable, nice life as a prophet was “iterrupted” by God telling him to do something he really did not want to do. And yet … had he not [eventually] obeyed, his legacy would have been 2-3 verses in I Kings, instead of a 4-chapter book in the Bible that has been read, re-read, told and re-told for centuries. I have to wonder sometimes how many times God has “interrupted” my life and I have tried running away first. Your blog reminded me that so often what I see as “disaster” or interruptions, may take me to a place where God uses me to make an eternal difference in my life or the life of someone else. Thanks for the reminders Beth!

    • It’s so true that interruptions can be exactly the point — God’s point — for my day, the time when I influence someone else or interact with someone who is going to change my perspective.

      • Peggy, can you please, please, please live in my comment section? You share good stuff.

        I’m with you. I think God lives in the interruptions, while I go about thinking the rest of my day is the important part.

  6. God can be so ironic sometimes! “What did I expect when I decided to write Catch a Falling Star, a book that wrestles with the question ‘What do you do when life doesn’t go according to plan?'” Thanks for sharing how you handle derailment. And for the reminder that God is always at work. I would do well to keep that truth in the forefront of my brain.
    I think I usually try to plan and dream as little as possible so I can’t be hurt if things don’t happen. After writing that out and re-reading, I must say it’s a pretty sad way to approach life!

    • I’m all for dreaming big — which, yes, means I’ve fallen flat on my face big-time too. Sometimes in front of a crowd. But God is a God of “more” not less and I’m trying to embrace a glass-half-full outlook on life, rather than a glass-half-empy. Or, as one of my friend’s says: There’s always something in the glass.

      • I needed your honesty, Beth P. And I needed your insight, Beth V.

        Like I said before, so happy to have so many Beths in my life. I’m a lucky gal. Thank you both.

  7. “God is at work even when I don’t see anything happening.”

    So, so, so, SO true. I feel like I’m experiencing that right now….the, “OH DUH, he knew what he was doing all along” thing. When things weren’t going according to my plan, it’s because he had something so much better. Thing is, I want to get better at remembering and embracing that truth when I’m in the middle of those “Uhhh, is anything all happening?” moments. 🙂

    Loved this, Beth!

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