I just finished reading the third book by ‘The Single Woman’ Mandy Hale: Beautiful Uncertainty. It is about embracing Jesus to lead your life. Learning to accept not knowing what lies ahead and even more importantly accepting not being in control. Just like Mandy I have to admit to being a control freak. I like making plans. I am one of those people who has a week planner, a month planner, and a year planner. I make to do list after to do list, and regularly update my annual goals. On more than one occasion have I been told I seem like a person who is heading straight to my destiny.
Let me tell you… I am not walking straight. And that is my own fault, because I make plans without checking with Jesus if I am on the right course. And maybe I have even tried to not hear his plans, because I disagreed with them. When I was about 15 I decided I wanted to be a doctor. I could see myself wearing a white coat and making people better on a daily basis. I was certain that was my destiny. At the time it proved out of my reach and I had to make a different career choice. I looked at many option and eventually, almost at the last moment decided to do what I had thought about many times before. I went to do my nursing training. Not because I wanted to, rather because it felt like the right thing to do. I didn’t really enjoy the course, but I was good at it. I had high grades and learned from my placements I cared deeply about my patients.
But nonetheless, I was making plans to try to get into medical school after my nursing training. At the same time a friend of mine asked me to join her to attend an open day about a master degree course in Nursing Science. When we left I decided it wasn’t for me. Research was boring and after all, I was supposed to be the person in the middle of the action. I was supposed to be the person keeping people alive in the heat of the moment. I was not the person reading books and writing articles. Or so I thought…
I didn’t get into medical school, so I went to start working as a hospital nurse. I learned a lot, saw a lot, and most of all realised that nursing is a beautiful, valuable profession and that is actually suits me. Nonetheless, I also felt that I wasn’t at my destination yet. So I went to another open day of a master degree course. Only when I was well into this course I realised it was the same one as I had attended with my friend. But this time I was hooked. This time I knew this would fit me like a glove and that same night I enrolled as a student for a course I once thought was boring and definitely not for me.
During the course I bloomed, and amidst the lectures, tests, books, and articles I found my destiny. Not the one I had planned, but the one that was planned for me. I had always been an average student, apart from the last two years of my nursing training. And here I was doing a Masters Degree, and my grades were higher than I could have ever dreamed off. Several tutors, professors, and supervisors told me to think about doing a PhD. For a while I thought this would be a ridiculous idea. After all, I was just an average student, I was a nurse and not a doctor, and I was told several times I was a doer not a thinker. So how could I ever do a PhD?
I am now about a year away from becoming graduating for my PhD in Nursing. Not because I had such an amazing plan, and not because I have been heading straight towards my goal. On the contrary, I have been quite difficult, I have been arguing with God on more than one occasion. I didn’t like nursing at first, tried twice to become a doctor without success, at first ignored the course I eventually graduated from, and needed quite some encouragement from quite a few people to actually believe I could start a PhD, let alone finish it.
So what is the moral of this story? His plans are better than yours or mine, and arguing with Him is useless. And also… He will help you when you are following his path. A PhD is a constant confidence struggle, a constant out-of-my-comfort-zone-experience, and a high workload and so little time, but He has never let me down.
And lastly, I do deserve some credit… I did hear his plan for me when I was 15, I just misunderstood it. I may not become a medical doctor with a white coat and a stethoscope, but I will become Dr. Hanneke after all.
“Because the only time you don’t find what you are looking for is when God has something far better waiting for you to discover.” (Mandy Hale, Beautiful Uncertainty, P 179)