If I were just able to plan my whole life myself, nothing would ever go wrong, and everything would be perfect. I would never have anything disappoint me, and everything would go just the way I planned it. Obviously, my way would work out so much better than anything that anyone else could plan for me.
Unfortunately for my ego, that's not quite how it works. The fact of the matter is, I don't know what I'm doing. More and more, most notably as I have been in college, I have seen that God's plan for me is better than my plan for me.
For many years, I was determined that my career would be working with horses. I wanted nothing else than to be in the Olympics competing in come equestrian sport. Jumping would be ideal, but cross-country or dressage would also be acceptable. I refused to consider any other possibility for my life.
Even after I was dancing around the house one time and my mother insisted that I looked more graceful dancing than I had ever looked on horseback, I insisted that that was only because I had not yet been riding long enough (though I had been riding for several years at that point).
After awhile, I finally told my mother that I would try ballet lessons if she would get me a horse. The horse never materialized, but after a few months of ballet lessons, I was hooked. I even asked her why she hadn't forced me to start years earlier. (The answer, of course, is that I was completely set against it, and if she had forced me to try it, I would have hated it, because it would not have been my choice.)
Despite my insistence that horses would be my future, ballet quickly became my passion. Because I started dance at the ripe old age of fourteen, and because my first few years of training were not very intense nor high-quality, I accepted the fact that I would never be a professional dancer, and began to look for other alternatives. As much as I may hate to admit it at times, this too was an act of God's providence. If I had started dancing sooner, I might have devoted myself to becoming a professional dancer, and I would probably have missed my real calling: teaching.
After my first year of dance, I was asked to be a teacher's assistant, and I realized that teaching dance was what I wanted to do with my life. As the years progressed, I realized that what I wanted to do was open my own studio, so that I could teach the way that I felt called to, without any outside pressures.
Now obviously, the way to learn the skills necessary to own a ballet studio is to major in dance. So I applied and auditioned for the dance program at the university I wanted to attend. I did not get in.
I was expecting that; I had only been dancing for four years at that point. So I took a year off between high school and college to be able to focus on improving my ballet technique. That was one of the best years of my life. Looking back at the end of it, I could see that I had matured a lot, partly from getting a job and partly just from getting older. The next year, I auditioned for the dance department again. Again, I did not get in.
This year, I was devastated. I had no back-up plan for this. I thought this was what you wanted for me, God. What am I supposed to do now? As I thought and prayed, I felt led to a different program: Arts Administration, and again I saw that God had thought of things that I hadn't. This class had several required classes that I would never have thought to take if I had been a dance major. Things like Accounting, that I would need to know to have a studio.
So I went ahead and became an Arts Administration major, grateful but a little grumpy. But as I took class after class, I gained more and more confirmation that this was indeed where I was supposed to be. Last semester, for example, I took a class in music administration. As part of this class, we each created our own hypothetical organizations. Because dance is so closely related to music, I was allowed to create a dance studio. So when I graduate, I will essentially have all of the major documents that I will need, all ready to go; like the vision and values statements, goals, and other such documents. They will probably need minor tweaking when or if the time comes for me to actually start such a studio, but I essentially already have all of the foundation work done already.
I would never have thought to take a class about music administration. It would never have occurred to me that that would possibly be a relevant class to take. But because I am an Arts Administration major and not a Dance major, I have the tools that I need, and the knowledge of how to start over from the beginning, should I find a need to do so.
I have always had trouble relinquishing control. If something is not going my way, I try to finagle things around until it does. But the longer I live, the more I see God's hand moving things around to put me exactly where I need to be, rather than allowing me to go where I thought I needed to be. It is taking a long time, and I'm not fully there yet, but I am slowly learning to let go and just trust that yes, He really does know what he's doing, even when I don't like it.