Yesterday I felt like I would try to be a super mom by taking my son to the museum to play. Year round museum membership=previously-paid-for-fun learning opportunities for my kids. Especially since the weather has been chaotic here in Colorado, it was too cold to go outside so an inside playground was the ideal choice. We would check out the Discovery Zone for kids, walk among the Dinosaurs and pretend to be miners in the gem caverns. Or so I thought. That wonderful plan went out the door when we stepped foot into the museum.
Everyone knows that you have to take your kids to the bathroom prior to engaging in an afternoon of fun, so to the potty we went (yep, I said potty). Whilst we were putting finish up in the potty ALL OF THE LIGHTS SHUT OFF! “Oh my goodness,where is my cell phone? How can I find it in the dark while trying to zip zippers and grab belongings in this small stall?” I said to myself. I was trying not to panic so that my son wouldn’t freak out. Stay calm, think fast, and make it fun.
A minute or two passed and we were able to wash our hands with lights on (the emergency lighting kicked in… finally), and we were back to our plan of fun, fun, and more fun. “Guests of the museum, please be patient with us as we continue to try to figure out why the power outage has occurred.” We were patiently waiting with all of the other guest and staff who emerged from their offices. We chose to play “I spy” while waiting with everyone else. The main level was full of patient patrons: moms with kids, grandparents, couples, students on field trips, professionals who had business meetings there that day. No one threw a fit or began screaming,”Why?”. No one stormed out or walked away because of the plan changing. It was out of our control, and we thought it would be fixed quickly. Not so much.
“Guests of the museum, we are going to ask that everyone please evacuate the building so we can work on the power outage. Save your tickets for future use, which is hopefully today, but in case it is not, please save it,” the man said over the intercom. “Sweet, now what to do?” I thought. Guess we have no choice but to leave and find something else to do. So, my son and I walked out to the car and set off for our next plan.
We didn’t know the power was going to go out that day, or that our planned outing would turn into “patience practice”. We had a choice to get completely mad that this problem wrecked our plans or we could stay calm, think fast, and make it fun anyway.
Friend, I don’t know what problems you may have faced this week or even in this new year. Those problems may feel overwhelming right now because it is causing you to have to change plans. I may not be able to sit and chat with you to see where things went out of control or how this isn’t the circumstance you had planned for yourself. I do know this: The rerouting of your plans may feel out of your control, but it may be a lesson in disguise. When our plans have to change, we have the opportunity to choose to stay calm, and refocus. of course it may feel like we are going to bust with emotions like anger and frustration, but it can be a chance to demonstrate (especially to our children) that even when we are not in control of our circumstances, we can remain in control of our emotions. I’d love to tell you I’ve mastered this skill, but I too am working on it daily. Sometimes even hourly:).
This life will be full of plans that have to change. This life will be full of raw emotions and really imperfect people just like me and you. This life will also be full of lessons that are better learned the first time out of wisdom and mercy than to have to keep repeating them while living through the consequences.
Wherever you find yourself today, know that if your plans have to change (and love, they will!), you can choose to stay calm, you can choose to think fast, and you can make the lesson fun for yourself and for those around you.
God’s strength is sufficient for you, His wisdom will help guide you, and His Spirit will help to calm even the roughest of your life’s storms. You can make new plans work,even when you might not be able to see how right this minute. Stay calm, think, and look for the lesson:).