Saturday, June 16, 2012

Reflecting On I Thought I Knew Best, But Was Wrong

By the time I was 22 years old, I thought I'd help God plan my life out by clearly laying out what I never, never, ever, ever want to do in life. There were three important areas where I clearly marked I will not enter! To start, I had wholeheartedly promised myself not to do a marathon, let alone a half marathon, or even a 10 K, or even a 5 K. I absolutely thought that it hurts to run...period. Second item I promised to never do was to teach at a university and not to teach at Loma Linda University. Now I had no idea why I thought this. I loved going to school at LLU and my teachers were all great and wonderful. There was no rhyme and reason to my ignorant, young mind back then. All I had planned as far as career-wise was concerned is that I will be a clinical dietitian forever! The third area of "never ever" is that I believed that going for a doctorate degree is extremely way too hard and that it really should just be left for the total intellectuals who are total nerds. By next month, it will be a whole twenty years later since I told God what I would NOT DO!!!

Before I go on, I just want to say, what a relief God didn't listen to me. I'm thankful God listened to my request that "God, my every day life is in your hands, so just take over." Ha! Little did I know what I meant when I let Him have control over my life.:) I'm grateful God made me swallow up all of my very own horrible words and immature thoughts. I sure have learned that you still keep growing and evolving through every decade of your life.

Almost two decades later, I am thankful for the enjoyment and thrill of completing two full marathons, four half marathons, two sprint triathlons, a 10K, and a little dinky 5K. I thought I'd be content just going to the gym, lifting those li'l machines and going to aerobic classes. The journey of preparing for a marathon is not easy, but definitely has provided life lessons which I wouldn't have learned just going to a gym. The opportunity to teach at LLU was presented to me and I'm very thankful for the other passion of life I now partake in, which I didn't know I had. Working with students is greatly rewarding and satisfying. The teaching part is not difficult, but what is hard is dealing with a few students every year who are difficult at times. However, we are blessed at LLU that most students are such wonderful blessings to have. I'm still shocked that I am working on this third degree. I am thankful that I have learned so much and have enjoyed all of the new ideas and concepts I have acquired in the past five years in the area of educational technology and e-learning. What truly has been difficult is working on my dissertation. There have been several times that I've cried...and I hate to admit, want to give up. With God's help though, I will not quit.

What have I learned from "detouring" in the areas I promised myself I would never get into? Well, I have learned even more clearly about discipline, patience, and endurance. Oh a whole lot more! God sure knew I needed way more growth in those capacities. I have learned that even if these three areas of "I don't want to go there" were God's will for me to get into, He did not promise all areas would be a rose garden. With all of the difficulties and challenges I continue to encounter in these scenarios of my life, God has always been there to help me get through one day at a time. God certainly has provided me with guidance, strength, courage, and fortitude. I know He will continue to provide that for me, because that's how much He loves me. The other thing I learned is that even though I can make my own plans, I'm glad when He takes over and has better plans in store for me. Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know that plans I have for you. Plans not to harm you, but to give you a future and a hope". So even if things don't work out the way you had originally intended, just know that when God is control, things work out for the better, because God knows best! He definitely knows me better than myself and He definitely knows you better than you know yourself. 

What surprises in life are you enjoying now that you did not originally plan for yourself?

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