Plan B LivingFriday, January 7, 2011
(Over the years I have posted this article several times because its message is timeless. I'm posting it today as a good word for the first week of a new year.)
Some time ago I heard the following statement on the radio and thought it was worth passing along: "The key to success in life is how well you adapt to Plan B." There is a world of truth in that simple sentence. So many of us go through life frustrated because we're still working on Plan A. That's the one where everything works out, where your marriage lasts forever, where your children grow up without any problems, where you climb to the top of the career ladder, where everyone loves you, where all your dreams come true and you live happily ever after. Plan A is life the way we all thought it would be. It's life with a happy ending.
Unfortunately, Plan A rarely pans out. Life isn't that simple, or that easy. Check out Exodus 13:17-21. When the children of Israel left Egypt, God did not lead them by the shorter coastal route to the Promised Land. Instead, he led them south into the wilderness. No doubt there was some grumbling and murmuring. Why go the long way? Why not take the road that goes along the seashore? Answer: The Philistines lived along the coast and God wanted to spare the Jews from having to fight them and be tempted to return to Egypt. What seemed like a detour turned out to be for their benefit. In this case, Plan B was better.
Meanwhile the people who are frustrated by the failure of Plan A are overtaken by the folks who have decided to make Plan B work instead. What's Plan B? It's the reality that your divorce is final and your marriage is over. It's the reality that your first career choice was a mistake and now it's time to start over. It's the reality that you
don't have the money to buy the bigger house you want. It's the truth that you have cancer and your future is uncertain. It's the understanding that some people who seemed to be close friends aren't going to be there for you when you really need them. It's the reality that your dreams aren't going to come true, at least not in the way you expected.
Born in poverty and educated at home, he failed in his first business venture, ran for office the next year and was defeated, failed in yet another business, had a nervous breakdown, and was defeated in five more elections. But he never gave up, and in 1860 he was elected president.
Plan A not working out for you? Don't despair. Plan A rarely works out. Your success in life is largely determined by how well you adapt to Plan B. Just ask Abraham Lincoln, the greatest Plan B president in American history.