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The Gift is NOT Getting To Meet Our Life Goals

alec vanderboom

Today's Psalm in the Morning Office always does my heart so much good to ponder.

But my people did not heed my voice 
and Israel would not obey,
so I left them in their stubbornness of heart 
to follow their own designs.

Psalm 81

I am a recovering "Oprah Girl." I used to watch Oprah when I was in Law School. Afterwards, I'd take invigorating runs around a perfect blue lake in Wisconsin. During those runs, all fired up on female empowerment, my future seemed as clear as the lake next to me reflecting the blue of the sky. I had clear goals and expectations. I was going to take the Oprah Challenge and make my life into something awesome.

Along the way to my life goals, I fell in love with Jon and then his Catholic Church. It didn't take long at eating the True Presence in the Eucharist for most of my plans to go sailing out of the window. Now my plan is to "Follow Him." 

When I read this Psalm, I'm reminded that being free to follow the designs in your heart is a sign of punishment from God. Our life is not supposed to be totally "Self-Directed." The life of a Christian means that I'm supposed to follow a Higher Being who is by definition "higher" than myself. God sees everything. God knows me better than I know myself. When I follow his plan for my life, instead of my plan, beautiful things start to happen.

I'm getting closer to the age of 40.  Now I see with humility that by drawing my down unfamiliar paths, God is actually giving me both "His Plan" and "My Plan" for my life at the same time. I didn't think that writing books could ever be possible while caring for five children, but it is when I'm on "God's Plan," not mine. I didn't think I could have a nourishing intellectual life as a stay-at-home Mother but I'm way intellectual now than when I was a lawyer. I didn't think that a small, hidden life could make me feel so vital and connected to my community. I didn't know that falling in love with one man, could widen my heart to more deeply love the whole world.

I'm too blessed to be a self-determined Oprah Girl anymore. I've met Him. I'm in love. I'm trying to make my heart a better reflection of His heart. I'm finding more joy by starting to live a life that is NOT of my own choosing.