"If you have any goals at all for your trip, make an itinerary. I never start a trip without having every day planned out. Your reaction may be, "Hey, won't my spontaneity and freedom suffer?" Not necessarily. Although I always begin a trip with a well-thought-out plan, I maintain my flexibility and make plenty of changes....With the help of an itinerary, you can lay out your goals, maximize their potential, avoid regrettable changes...and impress your friends." (Steves 68)This got me thinking about how an itinerary is like a goal-specific mini life-plan: they both help a person set goals for the future, have the ability to take care of the necessary details for each step, and get the best experience by taking the worries and stress out of life/trips.
Now, if you have read any of my previous posts, you may have gotten the feeling that I am not a big fan of life-plans. In fact, you could probably say that before this weekend, I was completely disgusted with life-plans or anything that resembled a life-plan. You could also say that I had been burned...by a life-plan.
When I was nine years old, I decided what I wanted to be, a nurse. From then on, I planned my life from that decision. Everything from what to be when my sisters and I played dress up to what classes to take in high school and where to go to college. On my fifteenth birthday, my family moved from Oregon to Colorado. Now for a insecure teenager just having started high school in the town she had lived in nearly all her life, that was the hardest move ever. I went to two high schools that year, ate lunch in a bathroom stall the first day, and adamantly decided that I was going to move back to Oregon as soon as I could, which meant for college. I was determined to dislike Colorado: it was too cold, too windy, too hot, and just plain too sunny! And to top it all off, it snowed...a lot!
Junior year: take Med Prep class through the nearby community college to prepare me for nursing school. When senior year came around, my parents decided to have me take an aptitude test from Johnson O'Conner Research Foundation (JOCRF) just to "make sure" that nursing was what I really wanted to do and what would be the best for me to pursue. So I'm sitting in the office of JOCRF, waiting for the proctor to explain my results. She comes in, sits down, opens up my result folder, looks at me then at my parents, and proceeds to tell me that with my aptitudes, nursing is not the best option for me. It was a life-changing moment. The moment that I heard her say that, it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I was free! I didn't have to be a nurse! Then, I realized that my plan of going to a college in Oregon or Washington for nursing then living in Oregon/Washington for the rest of my life with my husband and kids and visiting Colorado as rarely as possible was not going to happen. In a few moments, with only a few words, one woman had completely knocked my life-plan out. KO. In the weeks that followed, I decided that life-plans were horrible because things just messed them up and then what was the point in having a plan if it didn't work out. I was burned by my life-plan.
What I realized with Rick Steves' book is that a life-plan is just a well-planned, well-thought-out rough guide to a journey. It's not something that is stagnant and doesn't roll with the punches. It is always changing, not letting the unexpected knock it down.
Abba, I ask that you lead my new life-plan. Help me to roll with the punches and see that even if something happens that completely throws off my plan, you are there guiding me. I ask that you be my ultimate life-plan, that every goal that I have on my plan comes from You. Give me the serenity to remain in You in every part of my life including my hopes and dreams.
"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." ~ Jeremiah 29:11