When life doesn’t go according to plan

This wasn’t the way things were supposed to turn out. 

I had finally taken the step to fulfill a lifelong dream by applying to serve with the Peace Corps. That summer, I left my job, ready and excited to be posted as soon as possible. So, I was disappointed when I found out that they were not taking applications or placing volunteers, because of the Covid pandemic. They also couldn’t provide an expected return-to-service date. I felt very naïve and foolish for having left my job and was frustrated that my plan was not going the way I wanted. Unemployed and feeling down, I didn’t know what to do. 

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While I was still waiting to join the Peace Corps, I was asked to be a part of the leadership team at an outdoor education center in the Colorado Rockies. This was a center where I had always wanted to work, but I was still caught up in how everything felt like bad timing. 

It’s easy to believe in God’s goodness when things are going the way I want them to, but the moment they aren’t, it doesn’t feel as easy to trust. 

I grew up going to a Christian Science Sunday School, where I’d learned that God, divine good, is always guiding and governing every aspect of my life. Of course, it’s easy to believe in God’s goodness when things are going the way I want them to, but the moment they aren’t, it doesn’t feel as easy to trust. That’s the way I was feeling as I took this new job: excited but frustrated.

My new job allowed me to have a long winter break, so I was able to see my family overseas for the holidays. I was trying to enjoy the visit but was also getting more and more impatient waiting to hear from the Peace Corps. Meanwhile, I was offered an internship at the school I had graduated from, working in a department that I’d always dreamed of working in. Gratefully and humbly, I took the offer. Did I recognize at the time that this was part of God’s guidance and an expression of His goodness? Not really. I was still caught up in my own idea of how I wanted my career to play out.

During this waiting period, I was also led to take Christian Science class instruction. This twelve-day course was an opportunity to learn more about Christian Science healing and to grow spiritually. 

Each experience was proof that every good idea works in harmony with every other good idea. There’s no conflict or bad timing under God’s government.  

This class was a turning point for me. As my thoughts were transformed over the twelve days, I realized I could see the events of the previous two years in a totally different light. Rather than a series of delays, every opportunity that had come my way had actually been evidence of divine Love, God, leading me; there had never been a moment when I’d been separate from God. Each experience was proof that every good idea works in harmony with every other good idea. There’s no conflict or bad timing under God’s government. All of the frustration, worry, and feelings about imperfect timing and lack completely lifted, and I felt so much peace.

Not long after this, the Peace Corps reached out for an interview and eventually offered me a job. When I received the offer, I didn’t sigh with relief or think to myself, “Finally!” Instead, I felt gratitude and a clear sense of God’s love for me. And the good kept flowing: My housing needs before my Peace Corps service were met by loving family friends; I was asked to work at the outdoor education center for another season before my service; and more. This experience not only helped me see the good in every experience I’d had but was also a reminder that the timing worked out perfectly because God’s ideas can never conflict with each other. 

My trust in God has also deepened. I now know that even if an answer isn’t clear to me yet, divine Love is guiding every step forward in my career and my life. This helps me turn away from feeling lost and frustrated and to instead listen for Love’s direction, which is always there.

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