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Assuming everything will go exactly according to plan, is one of the worst mistakes that we can make. Most of us plan our lives as fairy tales that do not include any effort or inconvenience. It is this type of thinking that leads to disappointments and discouragement. If our dream does not include the adversities that comes along with it, it is merely a fantasy. Fantasies only come true in Disney movies. Life's twists and turns are, as I stated in the previous post, ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. It is important for us to have a plan in order to move in a particular direction, but we should also leave flexibility in our plan to adjust to life's circumstances. Without leaving room to adjust, we are thrown completely off course at the first sign of misdirection. In my experience, life has been more about how I have adjusted to unexpected happenings than anything else. I have gained more knowledge, wisdom, and patience from situations that were unplanned than ones that were premeditated. The birth of my son is the perfect example. Bringing a child into the world was the furthest thought from my mind at the time I found out that he had been conceived. Being a father to him has been a winding road that continues to pave itself each day. I learn more about being a parent with every moment I spend with him. I have learned to be the example of the person I want him grow to be, realized that I have to differentiate when I am playing with him and when I am serious, and understand that he doesn't have a full knowledge of right and wrong and may have to be told some things more than once. Although I had no intentions of having a child when it happened, he has been the biggest blessing I have received from God. It was here that I realized that life's plan was the same as God's will and that God's will is always more important than our own. I honestly believe that He entrusted my son to me at the perfect time in my life. He knew that I was entering into a transitional stage because my last semester of college was nearing a close and I needed direction. Although my son could not give me the direction, he gave me the motivation to seek guidance from God. James 4:15-16 states, "Instead, you ought to say 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.' As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil." It is vital that we consult God before planning anything. It reminds me of the old saying "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." My son did not deter from me accomplishing any of my goals or ambitions, but he did make me prioritize and rearrange some things. I have, in fact, taken a notice to certain things that I gave no attention to before-- blessings I almost missed because I was PLANNING LIFE WITHOUT CONSIDERING LIFE'S PLAN FOR ME.
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I have noticed, that at times, I find it difficult finding the silver lining in adverse situations. I sometimes question myself about whether my goals and ambitions are truly MY goals and ambitions and even question God about what He has in store for my life. A couple months ago I went through a 3-day period of depression while dealing with various situations. Those who were around me daily noticed that I was not being my normal self. The joking, smiling, loud and energetic Jonathan was nowhere to be found. (Anyone that knows me well will tell you this is VERY RARE.) About the third day of my depression, I really became discouraged. I called a close friend to talk about it, and he spoke words that changed my entire mindset. He told me that the things I was dealing with were ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY in order for God to mold me into the person He predestined me to be! Some of these situations are premeditated by Him (such as Job) and some are consequences of disobedience (such as Jonah), but they all serve the same purpose -- qualifying us for the position He has for us. When entering the job market, most employers seek those who are certified (hold degrees), but more importantly, those who are qualified (experienced). Life's circumstances are ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to give us the qualifications required. They put our attitudes, desires, and passion to the test. Once we start to view our situations in this manner, we begin to see them as being worthwhile, not easier, but worth the effort. As Matthew 22:14 states, "Many are called but few are chosen," or as I translate it, "many are CERTIFIED but few are QUALIFIED." I'm sure everyone knows an athlete that was the hometown hero and had all the potential in the world, but lacked the ambition necessary to capitalize on it. When tests came to "qualify" them, they were not found worthy of being "chosen." There are only a select few that meet all of the criteria to be deemed worthy of accepting the calling God has for us and no one makes it there overnight. It is a process that begins with us understanding that everything is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.