Plan A… Or B?

The charity my Dad set up (asphaleia action) posted a quote on Twitter this morning:

If plan A doesn’t work out, there are also 25 more letters in the alphabet.

It is very interesting reflecting on life choices, how we approach them, what we end up doing, how much risk we are willing to take.

Do we chase dreams or take a safe route? If we have a Plan B does it somehow reduce our likelihood of succeeding with Plan A? There are many influential people in our lives along the way who can help set the tone for our approach to the dreams and desires we have.

We watched Interstellar on Friday night. At the end I turned to my husband and said, “I have no idea what was going on, but I enjoyed it”. Something to do with gravity and time and black holes. Anyway, there was a Plan A to save the people on earth and without Plan A the main man to fly the rocket would not have gone. He had a dream of saving the world and returning to his children but actually it turned out that Plan A had never really been seen as possible. Plan B was the real Plan A. However, this guy’s determination that Plan A must work out enabled him to save their lives and mission at several key moments because he was not willing to give up on Plan A.

I’m thankful that I had an earthly Dad (and Mum) who encouraged me to follow my dreams. I did an Art Foundation and then started a Fine Art degree. When Robb died I didn’t have the capacity to go back to it. I went to Cambodia for three months and served a church, then I took a year out doing an internship-type thing with my local church in England.

Then what?

I didn’t fancy going back to Fine Art and felt I needed to do something useful. So I picked an English Literature and English Language Teaching BA. Why? Because I was good at English Literature in school and college, even though I didn’t especially enjoy it. I got full marks in my AS level exam on poetry and plays. I’m still not sure how. I bunked a few lessons here and there and when my teacher pulled me up on one particular truancy, observing that I had potential, I said I’d had an opticians appointment..

“But you don’t wear glasses?” Was the confused reply.

“Yes, but I had to see IF I needed them.”

“I see.”

My friend still laughed about that years later when we were all grown up. When I chose my A-levels I chose Photography and Drama because I enjoyed them (Plan A). Then Maths and English because I was good at them and they are useful (Plan B). So I’m back to plan B thinking choosing English Literature at degree-level, but the thing was, I had no Plan A anyway (well maybe if I were honest with myself it was get married and have kids, but couldn’t just attend a course to procure that one). I opted to do the ELT part and gain TESOL as well thinking that would be useful if I headed abroad again.

I didn’t really enjoy my degree. At all. It took me about four years to want to read for pleasure again. Suddenly, it’s become all I want to do. That and write. But everyone still wants to have conversations with me and stuff.

In the last ten days, I have read three books, read a quarter of another one, started two others, read five or six i newspapers (not from cover to cover). I’ve read blog posts and written blog posts. I’m no wonder-woman because yes I’ve read a lot but my house is a mess.

So it turned out that Plan B was actually serving my current Plan A and I didn’t even realise. I’m so grateful for those three years of slogging away at something I didn’t love but knew I should be doing.

Sometimes we don’t even know what the dream is or should be. Or we have to wait for it, for whatever reason. I’m thankful that along my journey people have spoken belief in me and my capacity to choose, so I’ve always chosen the path that felt right, even if it wasn’t always based on passion and excitement.

I’m also thankful that I can trust the peace that guides my decisions knowing that God knows Plan A before I do and will help it come about.

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. Jeremiah 29:11

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