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.
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.