The Spiritual Discipline of Plan B

Ice cubes.  6 small potatoes.  A get-well card.

Sometimes in line at the grocery store don’t you feel like the check-out folks are wondering, “What’s she really up to??”

In this case, each item represented “Plan B” on a day that screamed “I live a PLAN B LIFE!” in big and small ways.

  • The ice cubes were for our broken ice maker.
  • The potatoes for a recipe gone wrong.
  • The card for a friend having a double mastectomy.

But this was just a small glimpse of bigger realities of disappointments and losses that got me asking questions like:

  • Lord, why is everyone else always in control and why do I never get my way?  (Clearly no Theresa of Avila here!)
  • Where are You in this and what are You trying to teach me?  Submission?  Humility?  Trust in your redemptive power? (Could I have Door 2 instead please?)
  • Is there anyone not living a “Plan B” life?  (Hard for me to think of anyone, but then I didn’t really want to think about anyone else cuz this was all about ME!)
  • How did Your Bible guys handle Plan B’s?  (Moses, David, Abraham, Paul…wow, a lot of Plan B’s)

Somehow, the most important Plan B discipline for the Bible guys seemed to be leaning in.  Not understanding necessarily.  Not having 1-2-3 answers.  But having the faith to say, “I choose to believe in you, God, more than this disappointment.”

Perhaps the spiritual discipline of Plan B involves giving up the illusion of control…giving up trying to write our own story and letting God write His story through us.

Or this…One line stood out in my Bible reading yesterday morning…”Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?…How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him?” (Mt.7)  I wonder how often God’s bread just looks like a stone to me because I think I know better than Him how my good gift should appear.  Part of the discipline of Plan B seems to be trusting in God’s goodness...His identity even when we can’t see or understand His activity.

Clearly I don’t have this figured out.  This is just me, wrestling with God after a Plan B day in a Plan B life.

I like to have a plan for everything.  And like all people, I like the plan to go my way.  Plan B is not my strong suit, but maybe it is actually my sweet spot (and yours), because it puts me where God wants me, needing to lean into Him.  For His grace.  His presence.  His power.  His understanding.

What’s your Plan B situation?  What are you learning in it about spiritual discipline?

A resource you might want to pick up if you’re struggling with this is Pete Wilson’s book titled Plan B!

3 Comments

  1. This post made me smile because my life seems to be a series of Plan C’s, D’s and E’s! I definitely battle with feeling like things never go the way I want them to go. What comforts me most is when out of the spontaneity of my C’s, D’s and E’s, something amazing happens and I know that God is smiling down. I often wonder if this is God’s way of keeping me in check (I might have some issues in this area) and that I need to let go of MY plan and to surrender to his beautiful plan and just trust him. It stinks to admit this but the really cool things that have happened in my life have not been a result of my master to-do list. 🙁 (dang it!) Thanks Laura – again you hit another sweet spot. A perfect post going into the weekend.

  2. Thanks for your wonderful post Laura! I loved it! IT spoke to me. I need to reread Plan B… loved it and feel like I should reread it!

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