“Close your eyes. Have no fear. The monster is gone, it’s on the run and your daddy’s near. Before you cross the street take my hand. Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy.” from Beautiful Boy by John Lennon
John Lennon penned these words in song for his youngest son, Sean. He clearly wanted him to know that he was safe when Daddy was around. There might be dangers (or boogie men) waiting that he wasn’t prepared to face alone, however Daddy would be there to hold his hand along the way. It’s reassuring to know that in times of unknown danger, there is a protector looking out for you.
I am a planner by nature. So even though I have an engineering degree, my ultimate career path landed in Strategic Project Management. It’s a natural fit for me. I even manage my family like a project, to their chagrin. Everything has a structure, sequence, a “right way” to be completed, and a due date. I am also a recovering perfectionist. I have to admit that when I am thinking of a master plan, I don’t typically include pain and suffering. But that’s my way, not God’s way. God uses trials to help us grow. Contentment won’t challenge your faith.
As I have shared before, 2011 was a difficult year for me. In April I was overlooked for a job that I was duly qualified to hold, met all the requirements to carry out and had paid the dues to be considered. This placed me in a less than desirable place in my company structure. Long story short, when I encountered a difficult situation I had no trusted place to turn. I was now reporting to the boogie (wo)man who manipulated me out of the job I desired.
My mother recommended that I read a book she found helpful in difficult on the job issues, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. I loved it. I read in about three days, and I am not a quick reader. I discovered his other books as well; I bought six of them. Armed and ready to discover how to overcome my employment woes, I tore through five of those books in a 5 week period. The last one was the one I needed most.
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In August 2011, my family life changed forever. Faced with the struggles of being 12, headstrong, not so wise and (as my grandmother would say) smelling himself, we sent Trevone back to Hartford with his mother. I was devastated. The situation was traumatic for the entire family. It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make. In the process of recovery, I remembered that last Lencioni book I hadn’t read yet – The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family.
In a nutshell, he proposes that the family is the primary organization in your life, why not treat like CEOs treat their businesses? Every successful business has a strategic plan, every successful family should have one too. Seems contrived. A strategic plan for the family? Absolutely. We adopted this practice and it works. Anything that falls outside the lines of the family plan is not considered. It keeps us grounded and focused on the goals for the family, which at the time were restoring a sense of normalcy for us all. Go figure.
Also Related: Strategic Family Management – How It Can Change Your Family
Here I thought I was learning how to manage myself on the job and God steps in and uses my natural inclination for planning and organization to help maintain my family. Because I sought peace in the midst of my captivity – I really tried to find a way to make the job situation work out, God provided me peace in my time of struggle.
For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:10-11
Come again? Jeremiah told the people that God wanted to prosper them in the midst of their captivity. When it seemed that all the chips were down and there was no way out, God sent a message to the people reassuring them that even though it’s tough right now, their “suffering” was a part of the master plan.
Our family still uses the family plan to guide our everyday choice and goals. But ultimately, like Joshua, we submit our lives to God’s will in order that He might carry out His overall master plan (Joshua 24:15). John Lennon wrote that life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans. In my experience, in the life of a believer, God is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans. And His plans will prosper us, even in the midst of our struggle.