“Have I ever given you reason not to trust me?” –Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean
Today was a mess. I was put in my place, reminded that hope is really not for me. As my three o’clock meeting approached, my computer (yes, this one, that works so great right now) and internet decided to conspire against me. I spent more than an hour trying to get it up and running and online. Yesterday I downloaded every update, ran every scan possible, and was ready for my web conference. I had an hour to just get onto the website and, go figure, couldn’t. I did everything in my power and ended up in tears watching a job opportunity slip away.
I quickly called into the number listed with the web address and hoped I could get by with just listening in. I was late and missed the first minute or two of the meeting. I took notes the best I could, scribbling every term or direction that they gave, for a program that I could not see in front of me. I tried to calm myself and focus and planned how to best send an apology email and ask to still be considered for this training session. In less than half of the time we were told, the meeting ended. I apparently understood more than most of the other candidates did, who asked questions, without ever seeing the website. I got all of the information that I needed to log on (miraculously) after the meeting ended and was able to easily navigate the training site.
I called my mom, still shaking from the frustration and emotion racing through me. (I may have used some very, very harsh expletives when yelling at my laptop.) I calmed down as I told her all about the frustratingly unsurprising bad luck I had. I tried to shake the tension with a quick shopping run before rush hour set in in the valley. As I walked down the hall to my car, one thought flooded my whirling mind. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.'”
I have felt discouraged and hopeless about much in my life since graduating from college. I have felt stuck, cornered in a place that I never intended to be. I have tried, but grown so tired trying to find a way out, a way back. At some point, I resigned myself to the fact that it doesn’t get much better than this. So it goes. And then, though I fought it, I allowed myself a little hope, a bit of dreaming. And then it all failed me. I barely made it through and it remains to be seen whether any of this will work out. Yet in my frustration, through all my self-pity and self-loathing, I heard it: “Plans to give you hope and a future.”
My plans are not His plans, and His are rarely mine. Since graduating and losing (and perhaps leaving) much of my faith support system, it is far harder to hear His plan. Perhaps I have not been seeking it, and that’s why it’s not clear. I am still unhappy, still stressed about this new venture, but today I heard Him. I know that, while I still doubt and fear, deep inside me is rooted this promise. Somewhere, beyond what I was aware of or thinking about, His words echoed. Somewhere, woven deeper within me than my skepticism and self-destruction, is the knowledge that He does have a plan to give me a future, one full of hope, worth hoping for.