Joy Depends on How We Handle “Plan B”

Leave a comment to enter to win this fun space to keep track of the gift in life's Plan B's. Winner to be selected on Sunday, January 19.

Leave a comment to enter to win this fun space to keep track of the gift in life’s Plan B’s. Winner to be selected on Sunday, January 19.

Think of a recent situation that didn’t work out the way you wanted. Got it in your mind? Good.

In that Plan B situation—that moment when what you planned went totally awry or dissolved before your eyes—how did you respond?

If you’re anything like me, the death of Plan A dragged you through thoughts like:

  • Why is this happening to me?
  • What did I do wrong?
  • I wish it was different.
  • If only I’d. . .
  • If only they’d. . .
  • This is a mess!

What if, instead of reacting to or resenting life’s Plan B’s, we reached out to to them?

I mentioned in a recent post that my One Word theme for this year is “Expectant.” So, of course, about 32 minutes after posting that, I get an email from my sweet, struggling girl’s teacher: “Can we meet after school to talk about her math?”

“Sure. No problem,” I think. When I show up a few hours later to a table at which are seated my child, two teachers, and the director of the after school program. . . I think “I’m not in Kansas anymore, Toto. This is a serious meeting!”

Within 2 seconds, I’m reacting to the loss of Plan A (a.k.a. “my daughter’s doing well in school, since we’re doing all her assignments each night together at the kitchen table and I’m not smacking her for the eye-rolls and fussing”).

No. Not so much. Actually, her old hurts and fears have acted up again in the wake of transition from holidays to school routines, and she’s not just shirking homework, she’s lying, leading teachers on a wild goose chase, and not turning anything in.

Plan A was a burning pile of ash in front of me. Plan B made me want to hide under the desk in this teacher’s room. I wondered if my dream of a daughter whose life and heart is whole is impossible, if it’s just that—a dream. I wondered if the dream never existed at all.

Then this quiet whisper: Expectant. Be expectant.

And the next day, I saw this cute notepad in a gift shop. Usually, things like this aren’t my style. On a bad day I’d want to toss something like this in to the nearest trash bin. But today, with “expectant” marinating my brain, I thought, “God, what’s possible in this moment. . . in this perceived setback?”

And this verse comes to mind:

“He who began a good work in you [and me, and my daughter] will be faithful to complete it.” – Philippians 1:6

Which reminds me, expectant isn’t just waiting for good that’s not here yet, it’s about expecting good in what’s a mess today.  {tweet this}

It’s about learning to trust Plan B. To take an unbiased look at what’s possible in the wake of Plan A’s ashes. For me, it’s looking at the gains we’ve made since our troubled girl moved home last spring, celebrating them, working toward what’s needed now, and not letting the deficit get me discouraged.

What’s it about for you?

Giveaway: Share your thoughts on your life’s Plan B’s, or about the one that’s showed up fresh today to enter to win this sweet little notepad/pen reminder to hope!


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  1. says

    OH Laurie!! I wish we’d have had more time together at She Speaks b/c we have a lot in common! : ) Plan B’s – yes, I hear you. My whole life has been one HUGE plan B!! Ha! God is so good though.

  2. Cheryl Pelton Lutz says

    When my plan A fails, I have to remind myself that, “The mind of man plans his way,
    But the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
    We are to plan, but in the end, God will direct our steps.
    Plans B-Z don’t take him by surprise. But SO incredibly hard to trust & believe in the midst of the trial.

  3. Mary Gemmill says

    I’ve had a plan B in the past few days and God sent me these words from a wise blogger: God is in the mess too, and He has plans for using it for your good. That was so consoling !

  4. Lanette Haskins says

    Oh so many Plan B’s, so thankful that God’s plans are so much better than my plans!!! Thanks for the encouraging words!

  5. says

    Gracious, Laurie. With all the stuff swirling around my mom’s stroke, Plan B is a distant memory for us. We’re on to Plan M or N, and they don’t seem to be working either! But you’re so right: there is joy in every moment. We just need to be willing to search for it.

  6. Alexis says

    OK that photo that showed up by my name “Alexis” is not me! Please do not be misled. Do you have that photo an “auto” for anyone who posts as a “Guest” because that’s what I selected the box that says, “I’d rather post as guest”…you may want to fix that feature…

    • says

      Yep, it’s not you, it’s me :). An old photo of me. Thanks for the tip – looks like the disqus settings weren’t set up for guests. Now they are. Yay!

  7. Alexis says

    What if plan A was my plan B and plan B was my Plan A? LOL Seriously! 🙂 Great post! You definitely got me thinking now…

  8. Amy S says

    Thank you for sharing. It’s nice to know that others face “plan B” and sometimes “plan c, d, etc.”

  9. Liz Jones says

    My Plan B happens daily:) I wake up expecting my kids to be in good moods, husband to pick up the house and for work that makes a difference. By breakfast I am disapointed at my kids attitude, annoyed at my husband’ s socks on the floor and by lunch I feel like I am the wrong gal for the job. But God…ALWAYS SHOWS UP IN MY PLAN B. Here’s how-just one example: my sons attitude pushes me to pray more fervently for his heart to be happy in Jesus, my husband socks remind me to have grace and to praise God that my husband worked hard and goes to school, socks are not a big deal,and my feelings of inadequacy in my job, remind me to let God be in control.the lessons are simple, pray more, show more grace, and trust God always. I need this on a daily basis, and it comes in my plan B.

  10. Jennifer Hallmark says

    My life’s plan A changed drastically last year when my best friend died after a short bout with cancer. We had so many plans for the future. She was one of my biggest writing supporters. Still trying to adjust to this new plan B…

  11. says

    Great post! My Plan B was the birth of our now 17yo daughter with moderate cerebral palsy. I never questioned God’s plan for us, but in the last 10 years, I’ve definitely shifted to tackling our days as having a divine purpose with her disabilities. Isn’t it all about HIS plan anyway?

  12. says

    Oh I love that verse from Philippians!! I think a lot of times I see my life as a Plan B when really it was God’s plan all along…I just hadn’t been following Him to begin with so my idea of what my life should look like was mine – not His!

  13. says

    Laurie, I love the verse God brought to your mind about the good work in your daughter! I love it when God brings us the illuminating moments. And I love the idea of redeeming the ashes of plan A into something beautiful in plan B.
    Praying for you! Valerie

    • says

      Thank you, Valerie. I think if I could summarize all of life in one word, it would be redemption. God’s constantly redeeming, reweaving what life breaks!