Be Encouraged When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned

by | Sep 25, 2017 | #live2017, Love Others

Surprisingly, life doesn’t go as planned, even as much as I would like it to. Take for an example our recent trip to Tennessee. Looking back, it was a fabulous trip. But, kind of like life, it didn’t go as planned.

My husband and I traveled to this beautiful state to bike in the Bike Ride Across Tennessee, and to cross Tennessee off our #50statestandembiketour list. We arrived with high hopes, excited emotions, and were physically ready to tackle the five days of tandem bicycling.

But, from the first night we seemed to have issues. On our way to our hotel–in the dark–our SUV’s rear sway bar link broke. What do you do when you’re 500 miles away from home and have major car problems? In the dark? Thankfully my husband is mechanically gifted and was able to fix it well enough in the wee-hours of the morning to get us up and running again.

Our ride began early the next morning, and we and the three couples we were biking with were off to a great start. Until mile marker number 15 when our rear skewer on the bike broke. That’s the piece that holds your tire on. A necessary piece. After repair (thank you, Jesus!), the hills appeared, some nearing 15% grade. Friend, those kinds of hills and tandem bicycles don’t play well together. Not only are they difficult, they are unsafe. We did finish, but exhausted, with 84 miles and lots of Tennessee hills under our day’s belt.

BRAT Ride 2017

Day 2, however, was even hillier, and the worst ones were at the end of the day’s ride. After 76 miles, we arrived at camp frustrated and depleted. Our excitement had turned to misery. We knew the hills were going to be tough, but we had no idea how steep some of them would be.

We took a few moments to re-evaluate.

After much discussion, prayer, and thinking, we decided it was time for us to take a detour and go off on our own. I’m not one who quits, but I am one who tries to be sensitive to God’s leading. Once we made the decision, a peace came over me which confirmed we had made the right decision.

Monday morning arrived with fresh hope and a new perspective. Our excitement returned as we were almost giddy with anticipation for our adventure ahead.

Friend, what do you do when life–or vacation, or a career change, or a decision made–doesn’t go as planned? Have you ever had to re-evaluate, too, and maybe change your course? Did God have a different–and better–plan?

Coming from one who is a planner, it’s not easy when things don’t go as I/we plan. Maybe you know what I mean. I’ve learned, though, when things begin to go awry, I become attentive to God’s leading. Could His plans be different than mine?

People can make all kinds of plans, but only the Lord’s plan will happen. Proverbs 19:21 NCV

When life doesn't go as planned... God's plans are always better than mine.

His plans are always better than mine.

Hands down. Always.

We hopped on the Natchez Trace Parkway and biked into Alabama and Mississippi, crossing them both off our list. That’s something we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do. Laughter, sunshine, and a relaxed pace filled our 40-mile ride. It was lovely.

Biking on Nachez Trace Parkway

Feeling accomplished and rejuvenated, we decided to load our bike and drive to Nashville. Surely there would be more adventures awaiting us there. We were right.

The sights and sounds of Broadway Street were unexpected joys for us Midwesterners. Downtown Nashville treated us well. We spent two fun-filled days in Music City, relaxing and enjoying all we could. And, at the last minute, we found two incredible tickets for Wednesday night’s Grand Ole Opry show… in the front row! WHAT?? Yes. We couldn’t believe it. We soaked in every musical moment, not wanting any of it to end.

Our night at the Grand Ole Opry #live2017

Would we had been able to experience this if our plans had not changed? Doubtful.

We left Tennessee refreshed, reconnected with one another, and ready for our next leg of this grand adventure with God.

You know? God reminded me when life doesn’t go as planned, we can remain encouraged. He may have something better in store… something He knows we need… something He wants us to experience. I pray He reminds me of this trip to Tennessee the next time things don’t go as I plan. May I trust God’s plans are better.

When life doesn’t go as planned, God may have something better.

Who knows?? He may just bless us with front row tickets to something that might take our breath away.

Bless you, friend!


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  1. Tara

    Nashville is such a fun experience!

  2. Cindy

    Such an important reminder!

  3. Sabra Penley

    I love this, Julie! What a great testimony to God’s leading and amazing plan for us. So glad you had such a great trip (adventure). God is so good!

  4. Teresa A Snyder

    Thanks…..I needed to hear that message.



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