I love to daydream. Staring out the window or lazing on the sofa, I’ve projected my appearance into a musical or to being invited to appear on Strictly Come Dancing – which I obviously win – after I’ve become a well-known author. All my life I’ve fast forwarded to the next thing: leaving school, going to college, university, marriage, children. You name it, I’ve imagined it – and I’m sure I’m not alone.
My future, as my childhood favourite Anne of Green Gables said, “seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road”. As I left university and married my teenage sweetheart, I knew where I was headed, and life was good. I had a lovely Christian husband, and we were involved in different ministries in Church. I didn’t love my job, but in a few years we would have a family and I would go part-time. Sorted.
Until my husband left me. He no longer loved me and no longer wanted to be married, he said. I believe this broke God’s heart as much as mine.
The road that seemed straight and clear before was now lost in a thick haze of fog. My road was crumbling beneath my feet as I tripped and faltered over potholes and rocks I could no longer see.
This was not in any of my daydreams.
The only way to keep moving was to focus on the next step. Every day I got up early and prayed on my knees for my marriage, my husband and myself. I didn’t project ahead, focusing only on today, and at a push, tomorrow. I hoped and prayed that the fog would lift, and there would be the road again. Straight ahead. But for now my marriage and hopes for the future were no longer visible. Instead, I found a bend in the road appearing. An unexpected turn. A blind bend, with no view round the corner.
After a year and a half of separation, my time of waiting came to an end: he decided to divorce me. It wasn’t a wasted time; I had learnt a lot, grieved a great deal, and changed as a character. I’d learnt what it was to rely on God wholeheartedly for something I could not change. Finally, I, the worrier, had learnt to “not worry about tomorrow”, as each day definitely had “enough troubles of its own”. Matthew 6:34. I got through each day, one at a time.
Even with the blind bend ahead, I still knew I wanted to leave my job. I had no job to go to, but a deadline to resign by. So as I took on the mortgage singlehandedly, my resignation went in and applications were submitted. My daydreams went no further than to get a job and earn some money.
Three months later, at 4:30pm on my last day at work, I got an incredible job offer.
I’m now working in London and enjoying life immensely. Happy in a new job, enjoying single life and the freedom to be myself, I’m beginning to ponder on life again.
What if I meet someone? What if I don’t? How will I meet someone? And it dawned on me – I was fast forwarding again, slipping back into that old habit.
I was projecting forward the possibilities rather than enjoying each day. I was forgetting, even having lived it painfully firsthand for years, that God’s paths are not always ours. Things happen that we don’t expect, but if we let Him heal and shape us, God brings good from them.
God’s timing is impeccable. We often feel it’s cutting it fine, but that doesn’t mean it’s not perfect timing.
I don’t know what is around the next bend in my road. I can anticipate, daydream, plan and engineer, but I imagine I won’t get anywhere close to God’s plans and ideas. So rather than fast forwarding, I’m just going to press play, and go along with what He has planned, trusting that God is good, even if circumstances aren’t what we would want.
I wonder what the road holds.
“I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend, Marilla. I wonder how the road beyond it goes – what there is of green glory and soft, checkered light and shadows – what new landscapes, what new beauties, what curves and hills and valleys further on.” Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery.