I think we all struggle with having faith and trust in God’s master plan for our lives. I’m sure everyone can think of an occasion where they felt shafted by God—the promotion that skipped you over, the ill timed injury before your most anticipated athletic event, the heartbreak incurred by the boy you thought was the “one.”
We’ve all had occasions where we felt that our vision for our life was completely disconnected with God’s vision for our life. As I look back on those heartbreaks now, I can truly said that God’s plan for my life was much bigger and grander than I ever could have imagined. I would gladly choose His path over mine if given the chance.
Take for example, my undying desire to attend the University of Virginia as an undergraduate. When I was looking around for colleges, I instantly fell in love with the quaint charm and history of the colonial University of Virginia. Unfortunately for me, my chances of getting in were pretty slim—I’m originally from Maryland and UVA is required to have 2/3 of their enrollment from Virginia, making the competition for those out-of-state spots fierce.
I spent months and months pouring over my application, saying silent prayers, and wishing positive thoughts—only to receive a letter placing me on the waiting list. At the time, I thought it was the end of the world. My dream had been crushed and so had my heart.
By the end of the acceptance/rejection process, I had landed two viable and diametrically opposed options—University of Maryland and Vanderbilt. My parents and I flew down to Nashville to visit Vanderbilt’s campus, where I instantly fell in love all over again. Its southern charm was undeniable but so was its price tag. If I chose to go there not only would I saddle myself with an insurmountable debt (think $40,000 per year times 4) but I would also be placing a plane ride between me and the family I adored.
In the end, I chose to go to Maryland for logistical and financial reasons. It just seemed to make more sense. But didn’t make the heartbreak go away any faster.
Fast forward to the end of my college career where my academic strengths and internships landed me the auspicious honor of being selected for a 5 year joint Bachelors and Masters program. Through the career center at the graduate school, I was able to find my current job, which is where I ended up meeting my husband.
If I had followed my plan and not God’s, it’s safe to say I probably never would havecrossed paths with my husband. He works in the printing field and I work in the public policy field. So the odds of us working together in another location are pretty much slim to none.
The purpose of God’s plan came full circle in my life as I returned to visit UVA with my husband this weekend (we decided to go to Charlottesville as an anniversary gift—post trip posts coming soon!). As we walked through the prestigious pavilions and stared at the famous Rotunda, I told my husband about my story of not getting into UVA. But before I could get myself depressed again, I quickly reminded us both that I never would have met him had I chosen a different path.
And meeting him is certainly more important than my shortsighted dreams coming true. We have to trust in God’s plan because he sees our entire life and how our small everyday decisions can build into something larger and more meaningful. When God closes a door for us, it’s because he’s opening up one that’s more important.
I would gladly give up achieving my UVA dreams if it meant that I got to meet my soul mate. And when you look at life through those rose colored glasses, it all seems to make sense.
How have God’s no’s in your life turned out to be blessings in disguise?