Tuesday, August 7, 2012


that might not actually be the word for it, but that's the word that comes to mind.

i've got this heightened awareness for hearing people speak about their lives in presumptive ways.

i mean, i get it.

unless you've lived through the experience of having your life turned upside down, it's probably hard to imagine it ever happening. it's hard to imagine the plans you have for your life not coming to fruition. especially when so many other things in life have seemed to go "according to schedule."

i'm somewhat of a believer in self-fulfilling prophesy. in setting one's mind to something and expecting it to happen. in identifying the desires of your heart and expressing them to God (and the universe He controls), and falling in line with what will come.

i also know that life can't be lived without a certain measure of planning and expectations. without them, things would come to a standstill.

but i know that control, for the most part, is an illusion. few things are givens or constants.

so i'm a bit turned off whenever i hear someone talk about the future with complete certainty. about what will happen when they marry their spouse who has yet to be identified. about what will happen when they finish their degree. about what will happen five years down the road. about when they'll have their first, second, and third child. all are wonderful and important things to hope for. but none of those things come with guarantees.

and i guess if i'm honest, that confidence seems like arrogance. and that arrogance gets under my skin.

when i hear people talk in presumptive ways, i want to put my hands on their shoulders, and shake them. or i want to interrupt them and ask, "how can you be so sure?" and both of these responses are completely inappropriate, so i refrain from saying anything. instead, i smile faintly.

perhaps part of me isn't mad at their assumptions as much as i'm mad God will allow them to live with their assumptions (a luxury i didn't receive).

and all of this may very easily boil down to my personal fears. perhaps living with more assuredness would have changed the outcome of my circumstances. but that seems somewhat hard to believe. the fact is, i'm more confident than ever that i'm not promised anything. that life can change in an instant. and i now strive to live in a way in which i'm open to what may come.

either way, when i witness it, i pray for the people who are captured by it. i pray their illusion doesn't come crashing down. i pray they continue to experience the kind of lives where things are planned and things go according to schedule. the kind of life i thought i used to have.

now listen, you who say, “today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. what is your life? you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. instead, you ought to say, “if it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that. - james 4:13-15


  1. Hey Jessica!

    Another wonderfully written post. I completely understand what you mean. I think any form of trauma and loss shakes your ability to "plan" your future. You and I talked about this over dinner.

    While there is wisdom in knowing that life offers no guarantees, there is a certain level of faith we're called to have. Faith and hope are the bread crumbs God leaves us to keep pushing forward--to keep believing. I think it's prudent to have the faith that Meshach, Shadrach and Abendego had. They were certain God would save them from the furnace, but were okay with the possibility that He may not.

    We can plan and those plans may fail. We can love and our hearts may get broken. We can try and find that it was all for naught. Nothing is certain but this; no matter where we find ourselves God will always be there.

    "A man's heart plans his ways but it is the Lord's purpose that will prevail." Proverbs 16:9

    Love you!

    1. hey shakes! i totally agree with you, my wise friend. there's a balance that must be struck between hoping for things to come and being open to things turning out differently than how we hoped. and i think your point in crucial -- regardless of the outcome, God is constant, consistent, always there, always in control.

      what i've observed is that when we set our minds to something and achieve those goals throughout life, we are prone to forget how dependent we are on God for all the things we have, and it becomes easy to feel as though we made all of those things happen, outside of grace or a master plan.

      I love proverbs 16:9 - i've even quoted it here on the blog before - http://jessicaliving.blogspot.com/2011/01/proverbs-169.html

      thanks love!

  2. This one hit home with me. I remember a big fight I had with my sister, who is quite certain about how things will happen -- where she will live and work, when she will marry her boyfriend, whether they will have kids, etc. Not only is she very young -- and we are all prone to change our minds and paths -- but she saw my life fall apart in an instant. To me, it's incomprehensible that she has that certainty, that arrogance. Of course I hope all her dreams come true, but I can't fathom the fact that she doesn't acknowledge the possibility that life could interfere, or even that circumstances might cause her to change her dreams and aspirations. Of course, it probably also bugged me that part of what she is so certain about is "I could never move away from my family"....kind of felt like a dig against me, who chose to do that, because it was right for me.

    I identified with so many of your feelings in this post, and I do think it is somewhat short-sighted (and not very considerate) of someone to think and proclaim this to another who has gone through what we have. It also makes me wonder if people are appreciating their blessings, or taking them for granted, because they "know" those things will always be there.

  3. i certainly learned that this past summer! there are so many variables that are outside of our control, and we assume that they'll always bend in our favor. not so. it gets worse when people equate god's love w/ things "working out." that doesn't always happen either. it's good to be reminded of that.

  4. I learned that tomorrow is not promised to anyone. 10years later and I'm still in awe that my older cause didnt get to see my child be born or grow. That the joys we shared as kids, teenagers & pre-adults is all I have from her now & until the day GOD decides to take me back. Just like you said Jessica trying to live life before its time is something I no longer do on the contrary I live my life one day at a time and welcome everything I'm blessed w within that time period. I enjoyed reading every single of your posts they were BEAUTIFUL. You have a "new friend" in me if I can extend my hand out to you. Stay joyous beautiful strong & blessed.