I think most people have a plan for their life and their marriage. But what happens when things don’t go according to plan? What if things completely fall apart? What can we choose to think and believe about our life when things are so different than what we wanted. Find out more on this week’s episode.
I think most people have a plan for their life and their marriage. As a child and teenager you probably imagined meeting the man of your dreams, getting married, having some kids, and living happily ever after. You may thought that there might be some hard times here and there, but you would get through them together. I don’t know of anyone who plans on things falling apart. You don’t go into the marriage planning on it not working out. That would defeat the purpose, right?
But you’re an adult now and you’ve probably realized at this point that rarely do things go according to plan.
Maybe it took you a lot longer than you expected to find the right person to marry.
Maybe children didn’t come at all or as easily as you expected they would.
Maybe you or your husband or a child has had health issues.
Maybe your husband lost his job or doesn’t make as much money as you thought he would.
Maybe your husband has decided he no longer has a testimony and has left the church.
Maybe your husband has issues with pornography or has been unfaithful.
Maybe you have had issues with pornography or have been unfaithful.
Maybe you are wondering how you ended up where you are, because it is so far from what you had planned for yourself.
One of the things your brain loves to do is tell you that something has gone terribly wrong. We think that because life doesn’t turn out like we had planned, that something is wrong. This leaves us feeling disappointed, hurt, and miserable.
But what if it isn’t? What if what we had planned was actually wrong. What if what is happening is exactly what is supposed to happen? What if your life is exactly as it’s supposed to be.
When my husband and I met, we knew right away that we were meant to be together, but we had to wait for the timing to be right. So on our official first date I gave him a framed scripture that I love. It’s Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I love this scripture because it helps my brain calm down when things don’t look like I planned. It reminds my brain that there is a higher power in charge and His plan is far greater than my own.
When I was married to my first husband, my brain was constantly telling me that something was wrong. That THIS was not the life I was supposed to have. That thought made me miserable. But when I look back on that time in my life, I understand God’s plan and his timing and I know that it is exactly what was supposed to happen to bring me to the life I have now. So many times we can’t see the end when we are in the middle of the mess. We just see the mess. But if we can remind our brain that nothing is wrong, and while it may not be what we had planned, it is exactly the life we are supposed to have, we can be happy in the now, even when things are hard.
I started fasting, praying, and going to the temple about divorcing my first husband in October of 2003. My answer was never “NO” it was “Now is not the time, you have more work to do.” So I kept plugging along trying to understand the “work” that God wanted me to do. Part of that work was having another child. Part of it was improving myself. Part of it, I think, was being obedient to the promptings. In the Spring of 2011, my answer finally changed. It was “Your work is done. Now is the time.” I went through with the divorce in the fall of 2011 and I met my husband 1-1/2 months after my divorce was final. But…what I find really interesting is that those 8 years that I was praying so hard…those are the 8 years that my husband was married to his first wife. He had lessons to learn too. He had children that needed to come to this earth not through me. It was all the Lord’s timing…and how grateful I am for that. My husband is actually a couple of years younger than me. If we had met when we were younger, we probably wouldn’t have gotten together. But while we were both in the midst of marriages that didn’t turn out as we had planned, we were miserable. But when we look back, we know why and we can see that the plan was so much greater than our own.
There is a book I love called “Promptings or Me – Recognizing The Spirit’s Voice” by Kevin Hinckley. https://amzn.to/2Yc2zSY I’m going to read you one of my favorite passages….
“Imagine, if you will, standing before a great chef at a world famous restaurant. Seeking his advice you explain, “I’m trying to cook a gourmet meal for some very special guests. Should I cook up the beanie weenie or the spam surprise? Which would be the best choice? If we did have the chance to get a recommendation from a famous chef, would we seek to limit him or her to the dishes we could think up, based on our limited experience, or would we instead want him or her to give us the benefit of his or her experience and knowledge, perhaps suggesting things we’ve never thought of. In other words, would we want to choose from our limited set of possibilities or from the vast array of options based on the chef’s experience.”
I often think about this passage. We have a very limited vision of what our life could be, we are only seeing beanie weenies and spam on the menu when there are so many more options available to us. Now, that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to have hard things in our life. Of course we are, we just need a perspective on it. We need to reframe how we look at these things, not as “things have gone terribly wrong” but “what lesson am I meant to learn from this?” “What can this teach me?” How is this going to help me grow?” “I wonder what goodness will be up ahead once I learn what I need to learn.”
Our Heavenly Father knew this life was going to be hard. He wants us to have joy and happiness but He knows that we also need to experience pain and sorrow, disappointment, and hurt to truly understand and appreciate that joy and happiness. Opposition in all things.
We all have lessons we need to learn. Those lessons come from trials and hardships. They come from things not going as planned.
If you are anything like me, you have spent many a night not sleeping and worrying about all the possibilities in the future. Worry often seems productive, but it really isn’t. I’ve pretty much decided not to worry about anything any more. Because worrying actually doesn’t ever solve anything. I’m basically just causing myself pain now in case there might be pain in the future. All the what ifs…. So I try to actually play those out in my mind.
What if my husband loses his job?
What if my child dies?
What if my son doesn’t go on a mission?
What if, what if, what if….
If you have a case of the what if’s, I want to encourage you to play it out in your mind.
What if my husband loses his job? Then he will look for another one. We will cut back. We’ll make it work.
My answer, when I play it all out in my mind is always “I’ll figure it out and it will be ok” Because we can always figure it out. Even if my child dies…yes I will be sad for a time, but I will figure it out and eventually be able to resume my life in a new way.
These are all thoughts my friends. Your brain will offer them to you and you get to believe them or not. Question them! Are they useful? Are they giving you the results that you want in your life? You have all the power.
So when life doesn’t go as planned…remember, maybe nothing has gone wrong at all!