When Life Doesn't Go the Way You Planned
  

Thursday, November 29, 2018

When Life Doesn't Go the Way You Planned

I wrote this blog post in July. Then I chickened out and left it as an unpublished draft.
It's exactly 19 weeks later (many Thursdays since) and I thought of this post, re-read it, and decided to go ahead and post it. Maybe some of you will be able to relate to it. Maybe you'll have something to share from your own experience. Either way, I guess I just felt ready to share it, so here it is:

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If you've been following my blog for a long time, you might remember when I used to post "Thursday Thoughts". It's been a long time since I wrote a post, just sharing my thoughts, and it seemed about time.


It's weird.
It's like our Disney trip separates our life now from our life before it.
Everything before Disney seems so far away.
Everything after Disney has been very difficult. (Well, not everything, but many things)




Things were difficult before Disney too- I won't forget the times I found myself parked in an empty parking lot, praying and crying, desperately pleading with God for this "trial" to end. It was so hard to have Ken's PhD continually take longer than we planned. It was hard to watch time pass by, knowing that we weren't getting any closer to the way of life I had envisioned for this time of our life.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, without ever consciously recognizing or stating this belief, I just thought that we would have our own house with our own yard for our young kids to play in. I was patiently waiting for that time to come, knowing that we had chosen a long path but that it would pay off in the end.

At some point though, I realized that our kids were growing up and the path seemed to keep getting longer and those things I thought were at the end of the path weren't happening. I realized that those things likely wouldn't be able to happen in time... meaning that by the time that house with the yard could happen, it would no longer line up with the time in our life when we would have young kids who wanted to play in it. That realization brought a lot of pain to me, emotionally, and a lot of struggle, mentally.

After Disney, the smoke happened, and weeks of struggle followed as we dealt with that. In the midst of those weeks, Ken accepted the post doctorate position in Utah & we planned our move. It was SUCH a whirlwind with so many things happening. So much went wrong- it has been almost comical the way that things continue to go wrong, even now, since early March. There has also been a lot of good- things that did work out well, and people who have helped us along the way.

I have really struggled throughout the last 4 and a half months (I just had to stop and count those months out like 3 times in a row, because I was so surprised to realize it has been that long!), with my thoughts and feelings. It is so hard to feel so frustrated for so long! It's discouraging, it makes me really sad, and then I feel quite guilty for having those kinds of thoughts & feelings because I know that things could be much worse and that we do have many blessings.

I've heard a lot lately about how our thoughts affect our emotions. It seems that we have more control over how we feel than we tend to think we do. I guess I'm new to learning about this because I can't seem to figure out how to put it into practice for a positive result just yet. At this point, more than anything, I think knowing that just increases the guilt & the confusion for me, because I ask myself why I feel so negatively about things if I actually have a choice- and I wonder how I can choose to feel more happy and to stress less. I hope I can learn how, but right now it's a struggle.

It seems natural for our minds to gravitate to problems- we notice and focus on the negative things, the problems, out of a need or desire to work on and fix them. The danger in it, I think, is that we can find ourselves "wearing blinders" so that we're focused on all of the negative things that are happening in our lives, so that the positive things shrink into the background, sink out of focus, or even completely disappear from our view.

On Sunday at church, we talked about praying for help with a situation by asking what we can do about it (rather than just asking for it to be taken away). That's something I've been thinking about and want to try. I'm also trying to focus more on gratitude, to see if that will make a difference for my mindset.

I'm grateful that I have taken the time to document our life this year, with photos & blog posts because each time I finish one of those posts, I am kind of surprised by all of the good there has been in each week or month. We've managed to keep life pretty fun and exciting for our kids, despite all of the things we're struggling with. If I hadn't documented it, I don't think I would realize how much we've managed to do that.

Sometimes I don't want to share my thoughts here unless I have a helpful conclusion or a way to tie it all up nicely with a bow. But today I just wanted to share my thoughts, even though I'm still right in the middle of all of this, trying to learn something from it. Maybe some of you can relate, and maybe some of you even have some advice from going through something similar. If you have any thoughts to share on the topic, I'd love to read your comments or emails!


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20 comments:

  1. Oh one of these days we will get to Disney!

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  2. Many times I have sat in my own vehicle and prayed (and cried) as the path I envisioned was not what I was currently seeing. I have also had to remind myself to be grateful for what I do have and just continue to pray and believe. It's not always easy - but it's what I believe to be right!

    Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, yes, I agree with you. Those reminders are important and, like you said, not easy to put into practice sometimes! :)

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  3. I think you are doing great, everything is getting better. It took years to move a little bit so few months is just normal, trust me!

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  4. Thank you for sharing this. I know what it’s like to struggle and I hope it gets better for you. I’m hoping it gets better for both of us. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. - CK

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  5. You seem to be doing fine, I have been following your site for a few years now, and you always have done some great things, just think it will all work out in the end, be proud, hold your head up and smile at all the accomplishments you have gotten through so far!

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    1. Thank you Lynda. You're right, focusing on all of the good helps so much! <3

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  6. I am happy you posted this! i believe it is such a big help and a weight off your shoulders to write your thoughts done and to share with other. Life is all about experiences, learning and creating new memories. stay positive <3

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    1. Thank you. Yes, it was a weight. It took 4 months to get up the guts to post! Maybe I'll write more about what I'm learning as I continue through. :) Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

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  7. Hang in there Momma! Your kids have you and that's worth more than a big house with a big yard. My family also made a big move this year (Southern Ontario to the Yukon!). Change brings joy, but also some struggles. Continue to focus on the positive and ask for help from those around you if you need it! :)

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    1. Thank you Kristy! I wonder how near we were to each other when we were both in Southern Ontario! :)

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  8. Thank you for sharing this. I'm certainly not glad about your problems, but I feel like I read blogs and all I see are happy, positive people who have no problems. That just makes me feel small and unaccomplished, like I am just doing something wrong when things don't go as planned so it's nice to hear that I'm not the only one.
    Again, I'm sorry for your problems. I have found that our plans never seem to match with what the universe has in store for us, but that we always come out the other side. I think it's also important to give ourselves a break and have those breakdowns and moments of anger as it helps us process everything and almost acts like a purge so we can start again.

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    1. I know what you mean. Thank you for your kind comment! Yes, and sometimes those challenges/problems teach us far more than we would've learned if everything had gone the way we wanted.

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  9. LOVE hearing your heart! Thanks for getting up the courage to share! It's so inspiring to hear how people keep-on-keeping-on through their struggles. Love ya!

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  10. Thank you for sharing this! In life we sometimes just can't tie everything up in a nice bow because it take us time to live and learn from everything we are going through and we just have to keep putting our trust and faith in our heavenly father to help us get the bow tied up together.

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    1. You're so right. It's taking a lot of time to get the bow tied on this one ;)

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  11. I think the same way about things but it's always what things were like before my father died and after. Bad thoughts really can get you into a really dark place but you can control that. Sometimes it's hard but sometimes I just go for a run and that gets me into a good headspace and I feel better. I hope you feel better too soon.

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    1. I'm so sorry. That's a good tip- moving your body can really change your mood. I'm trying to get into better habits with that!

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Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment- I love reading them! :)
~Heather Lynne

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