This weekend was the weekend I have been waiting and training for because of the half marathon race in Zion. Blake and I decided to each come up with a word to encapsulate our trip to Zion. We were to pick a word, pray about it and see how God would reveal the word during the trip.
My best friend, Karlee, and her hubby, Andrew, committed to come on the trip with us too. They also agreed to participate in our word game.
For many reasons, the two words that burned on my heart were “surrendered expectations”, I thought it was strange and tried to think of something else. Nothing else could replace those words in my heart and mind.
I pondered their meaning and wondered why they would stand out to me. “Well, the trip to Zion is for a half marathon race. The altitude will be higher and the air will be thinner; Breathing will be a challenge. The entire race course is also uphill,” I reasoned. I concluded I would have to surrender my competitive nature and take the race slower than normal. By no means would I be completing the race and achieving a personal record.
As a detailed planner with a Type A personality, I like to make an agenda for trips listing departure details, mapping out the day etc. I realized traveling to a place I have never been to before with three other adults I would not only need a portion o f patience but to surrender my pretty itinerary. I would hold the schedule loosely and not worry about any bumps in the road.
Little did I know, there would be a BIG bump in the road. Ten hours before our scheduled departure time of 5:30am I got a call from Blake. (I was actually at Bible Study so I had 3 missed calls, a couple unread texts and a voicemail from him). The winter storm that had brought plenty of rain to San Diego (and snow to the nearby mountains 5 minutes from my house) brought snow and ice to the cities we would be traveling through. Road closure notifications began increasing by the minute while my sweet dreams of Zion began fading even faster.
We determined the drive would now be a 16 hour commute with the current weather situation (instead of the original 8 hours). The road conditions were more than intolerable, they were hazardous. Plus, who wants to be in a car for 32 hours over one weekend?!
Plan B now became Plan A. We just had to determine what Plan B was. Big Bear? No, the roads were closed there too. Sedona? Road closure. Palm Springs? Only one lane open. It looked like anything east had ice. We were experiencing our own kind of Polar Vortex on the West Coast. (And later saw many spin outs on the news on the same freeways we would have taken to those destinations). We all decided Plan B would be a day trip to the nearby town of Temecula. But the best part was no ice or road closures on the way to get there!
I wish I could tell you I immediately and happily agreed to Plan B. But surrendering plans is difficult! It was exhausting trying to make new plans quickly. I’m the kind of girl who does thorough research and careful analysis of the options before I make a selection. (Which was hard to do when we were making a change of plans in a matter of minutes). I didn’t realize how much I was looking forward to the adventures at Zion and making priceless memories. When those plans suddenly got ripped away from me hours before the trip I was stunned I cried like a little toddler throwing a tantrum. Tears streamed down my face. My eyes became red and puffy (I don’t Cry Pretty like Carrie Underwood). My heart was hardened by the fact my plans were changing.
You know what’s funny? God put the words “surrendered expectations” on my heart for a reason and to teach me a lesson. It surprised me that our plans changed last minute, but that didn’t surprise God. He knew the weather conditions long before I was aware of them. He knew we wouldn’t be able to drive and arrive safely at our destination. God graciously put those two words on my heart to prepare me.
“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9
I could pout like a child and complain about not getting my way (well, I did do that for a few minutes). Then I recognized my friends weren’t having a poor attitude. They were trying to make the most out of the current situation. I could protest, grumble and whine but I only would have made myself miserable and annoyed everyone else. I made a choice to have a positive attitude. I decided to see the good in the situation. For example, now we would not be sitting in the car for 32 hours over the weekend. Plus, I still got to spend quality time with my handsome boyfriend, amazing best friend and her wonderful husband.
Is there some area in your life where God is challenging you to surrender your expectations?