Wednesday, January 26, 2011

This is your pilot speaking...

Going into the holidays last year, Chris and I decided that gifts would not be a really big part of our Christmas. We really don’t like how Christmas has become about obligatory giving instead of sharing time and making memories with friends. My belief is that if you are going to give someone a gift, it needs to have thought behind it. Something that made you say, “Oh you are going to love this!” rather than, “Oh, I need to get something for so-and-so.”

One of the best gifts I’ve ever been given is a flying lesson on a Cessna – just genius – I loved it! I don’t have any plans to become a pilot, but the whole experience was thrilling and unique, and the kind of gift that took a lot of thought.

Leading up to my lesson, I did a lot of research on the instruments and the pilot’s responsibilities. One thing I found fascinating is that pilots file a flight plan before they go on a trip. It maps out where they are going and precisely how they are getting there. This keeps them from running smack-dab into another plane along the way. And once in the air, they follow the flight plan detail by detail.

When I came to Capstone (my current company), I found out that my boss had written a book with a friend of his who had been diagnosed with, and has since passed away from Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS). The book they wrote is called “Change in the Flight Plan.” My boss’ friend, Paul, had been a recreational pilot and understood the importance of filing and following a flight plan. But when it came to his own life, his flight plan was changed drastically when he heard the doctor speak his diagnosis. Not that his ultimate destination had suddenly changed, but the way he was going to get there had taken a radical turn.

I’ve thought a lot about the “flight plans” of my life. For practically everything in life, I make the decision. I am in control. I decide where I am going and how I am going to get there.

You too?

But every once in a while, God either gently or abruptly reminds us that we are not actually in control, and we not the final “filers” of our flight plan. We get a diagnosis, or our spouse moves out, or we lose our job, or Mr. Right doesn’t call back, or the stock market crashes – our situation changes, or our plans change. It can be devastating.

I am in the middle of a change in my flight plan, and as I look around, so are many of the people in my life. The thing I am keeping in mind is that my flight plan has not been removed altogether. God isn’t going to send us out without a plan on file, allowing us to potentially crash and burn. There is a plan in place. It just may not be the path we originally planned to take. But if we get to know God, and we learn over time to trust Him, we will see that His plan works. It might be out of our comfort zone, and it might be the most difficult thing we’ve ever gone through, but it may be the one way that He shows us who He is – rather than letting us do our own thing and missing Him completely.


  1. Beautiful post! I was reminded of the great book I am reading now, "One Thousand Gifts". I just finished the chapter about God's grace.

  2. I am SOOOOO glad you are writing again. At least for now. Very well written and so applicable to many of us. I am teaching a Bible study that I had done about 3 years ago. I have my old book with me here and was flipping through it curious what i had written at that point in my life. There was a passage about God's timing and the question was what in our life are we impatient to change and we are waiting on God to do so. My answer? I'm impatient with our living situation. We need a change.
    I literally laughed out loud sitting here in Singapore of all places realizing that my flight plan did not include a move halfway around the world, but God's did and I am so, so glad that I didn't take over the controls and crash the plane!
    I'm praying for you and Emmy....keep us posted on how you're doing!

  3. What a wonderful post. It sure gets me to thinking. Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. My "flight plans" have changed so radically, like changing from South American to Iceland lately. And yet, I'm thanking God that He still has me in the air and I'm moving. :) I have a copy of that book. Hope to pick it up and read it once I finish this degree.

    Love you, my wise little sister....