When Life Interrupts Your Plans: 4 Secrets to Remember

We’ve all been there, haven’t we?

We have our whole day set out. In fact, our whole week/month/year/life is set out! We know what’s supposed to happen. We’ve planned each detail. We know where we are headed.

And then. Life says, “Uh-uh. No way.” And it blocks your path.

Actually, forget that: it grabs you and drags you kicking and screaming down a new road.

Where did those beautiful plans of ours go?

For Me

I could share with you about two dozen different times this has happened to me. Sometimes it was something smaller, like having to graduate from college a semester late. Sometimes it was a life change that completely crumbled my view of the future. And sometime, I probably will tell you about these times.

But today? We’re just going to talk about a small issue.

I started back up my blog.

Yes! I was so excited and pumped! I had so much to share! So much to write! I wanted to build my blog quickly, so I was ready to churn out a dozen posts in a week.

And then… (You know the drill.)

I started two part-time jobs around the same time my blog launched. Suddenly, the days had a lot less hours in them. We had a busy weekend with my amazing children-by-marriage and spent time with family. It was wonderful … but blogging time bit the dust.

So I felt myself deflate a little. I hoped for so much more. I wanted to DO so much more. And then I couldn’t.

Can I still do this blog? I thought. Is it already time to throw in the towel? Can I keep up with it?

Pftt. Seriously, Katy? Seriously? You have a handful of days where you can’t work on your blog as much as you want…and you’re wondering if you should quit?

That’s so silly. Please go back and re-read THIS POST where you already said you weren’t quitting.

(Yes, this is your glimpse into my inner Katy-to-Katy conversations.)

So it took me a day or so to really think through this. And this is what dawned on me:

4 Secrets for Life’s Interruption

1. It’s Not Over

That beautiful plan you had? That thing you were dying to do? Chances are, it’s not gone forever.

That degree you really wanted? Last I checked, you can always go back to school. That country you wanted to travel to, but now you’re too broke to get gas for your car? That country will still be there when you’ve climbed back out of debt. That friendship that’s melted away after an across-the-country move? You can still reach out to that person and find new ways of being friends.

What you wanted may not be out of reach. It may be simply waiting down the line.

Be patient and see what comes.

2. Take Back Your Courage

Discouragement is one of the first things that usually sets in.  It whispers: See, now your plans will never pan out. You’ll never be happy. In fact, your life is probably over.

I want you to stand in front of your mirror and practice saying this one word: NO!

Talk back to your discouragement! Say something like, “Yes, this isn’t what I expected. It’s certainly not what I wanted. But I am not out of the game. I am in control of my life, and whatever path it takes, I determine what I do when I’m re-routed.”

Choose your response when life interrupts. I hope you choose this: Courage!

When life interrupts, I hope you choose courage!Click To Tweet

3. Get Support

Pull in people to support you. Really! Even when I got discouraged about being set back on my blog a couple of days, I told people. I told my husband. I told my blogging group. I’m telling you in this post.

And the people I’ve told? They empathized. “I’m right there with you!” They encouraged. “It’s ok, you can catch up.” They energized me. “You’ve got this! You can do it!”

Life’s interruptions can be really tough, I won’t lie. But you can get through just about anything with the right people at your side.

Don’t be afraid to reach out.

4. It Really Could Be Better

Ok, this might be the hardest one for some of us to swallow. But I’m going to put it out there anyway:

This new path really could be the better one.Click To Tweet

*Cue cries of shock and indignation.*

It’s ok, go ahead and let it out. I know I certainly have.

It’s hard to believe after the devastating breakup that you could ever find someone even better to love. It’s hard to believe that when the new school/career/dream that you pursued is suddenly gone, that anything else could make you happy. The unexpected illness that has knocked you flat — how on earth can that lead to anything good?

I promise you. However devastating it is right now…I promise it can get better

That breakup? Seriously, it can lead to the man of your dreams. The career unraveling? It made you re-evaluate and led to something more fulfilling. That illness? It gave you a hard year or two, but you came out of it. You gained so much understanding and empathy that you now lead a support group for others that changes and even saves lives; and you wouldn’t trade that for anything.

However devastating it is right now...I promise it can get better.Click To Tweet

Yes, Life Interrupts

And it can be hard, disillusioning, or even devastating. Or it could just be a minor disturbance, like in the case of my blog. But whatever the scope of your interruption is, I hope you will remember those four secrets above.

Or maybe even just this secret:

You can still do this. You are going to be just fine.

In fact, you may be great.

Why I Was Terrified, Or: 3 Reasons to Celebrate Failure

I was convinced I would fail. In fact, I was terrified.
(Have you ever been there before?)
My husband, parents, and friends all told me they were confident in me, that I would do just fine.

But deep inside, I knew I wouldn’t. When I took the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Exam, I was ready to fail.

Celebration

My husband and I had agreed: after I went to take the test this morning, we were going to celebrate tonight, no matter the results. At first, I was skeptical when my husband suggested the idea. Why or how could I celebrate if I had failed the test? Surely a more appropriate response was to huddle up under covers in the dark and cry my eyes out?

 

But no, he was adamant. We would celebrate whatever happened.

 

As I chewed over this idea, and as he and I prayed about it, I began to realize he was right. Even if I failed the NCMHCE, there would be reason to celebrate.

Have you ever considered celebrating a failure? Or is there something you’ve failed at recently that you’re wondering how you could even start to rejoice over it?

As I prayed, God showed me three reasons that failure could be celebrated. And in case you’re in a similar boat (metaphorically speaking, of course), here are the “whys” for feeling good about failure.

Why You Should Celebrate Failure

1) It means you attempted something hard.

But Katy, you say, I just FAILED at it! What does an attempt matter?

It matters immensely. It means you saw something that you could potentially fail at, and you embraced it anyways. You didn’t let it scare you. You didn’t back down. You knew that it mattered, and you gave it your best shot.

Do you know how amazing that is? How many other people in your shoes would have looked at that obstacle and walked away from it? You stayed and persevered! You tried! THAT is something worth celebrating. Celebrate that you were brave; celebrate that you attempted where others wouldn’t have. Whatever the outcome, you went for it! Wow…celebrate that!

Even if you fail, celebrate that you were brave.Click To Tweet

2) You learned something invaluable – and you’re better positioned for success.

But Katy, you say, what did I learn? All I learned was that I failed! I couldn’t cut it; I didn’t know enough; I didn’t have the right skills. What does that teach me except that I should give up?

No! Giving up means giving up your advantage for next time! Don’t you realize what your attempt has taught you? First, it taught you how brave you were, how hard-working you are (see #1 above again). What a great thing to know about yourself!

Secondly, it taught you more about the task you want to accomplish. It has informed you for your next attempt!

You know more now; you’re familiar with how the process goes. You know your weaker areas and what to improve on. You know your strengths and gained confidence in those. You’re better positioned for success now than ever! Don’t give up when you’re ahead. Celebrate what you’ve learned and the edge it has given you for next time.

 3) God’s will is being done.

But Katy, you say, … really? God’s will? How on earth was this God’s will? Is it God’s will that I should fail?

Maybe.

But Katy! (Yes, I know what you’re thinking.) How can I trust a God who wants me to fail?

Let me clarify: God isn’t out to make you fail. But God is there to use your “failure” to accomplish His best purposes for your life.

Hear me out on this, ok? There were several key times in my life that I had disappointments and failures, some of them devastating and heartbreaking. I never understood why God allowed me to go through them. As years passed, though, I began to see how God has used every one of them.

The breakup that shattered my heart for years? God used it to save me for my husband today, who is better than I could have imagined. The job that said they couldn’t keep me on anymore? It positioned me to find a job at just the right time that would pay for my master’s degree. That depressive episode that knocked me flat? It lead me to my counselor who connected me to the job where I got most of my licensed intern hours, allowing me to finish more quickly than anticipated.

Time after time, I saw God use each failure and disappointment to position me for something better. How amazing is that? What a reason to celebrate!

I determined that if I failed the exam today, maybe God was putting me in a place where I would get licensed later at just the time that the best job opened up. Maybe God wanted me to focus on other things for a few more months before I got licensed. Maybe God wanted to provide in other ways before I got a counseling job. Who knows?

But I knew this: if I failed, God would work it for good – and not just my good: my BEST.

God can use your 'failure' to accomplish His best purposes for your life.Click To Tweet

Yesterday

God spoke pretty strongly to me yesterday. He showed me why I was terrified; He showed me why I believed I would fail:

I believed I would fail because I was trusting in my own efforts…and not His power.

Ouch.

I wasn’t sure I had put in enough effort, so I believed I would fail. Instead, I needed to be trusting in God’s power and strength in me.

Last night in our church service, God underlined His message to me in the passage we read:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Wow. Ok, Lord! I’m getting the message.

Today

I woke up at 6:00 AM to get ready. My husband made me breakfast and coffee. And I realized I was calm.

 

I knew that going into my test today, I had the Lord at my side. If I passed, it was because He was with me and had strengthened me. If I passed, I knew it would be because of His great mercy. And I was excited for Him to get all the glory in my test results. I was more confident, because I was trusting in God instead of myself.

I could be confident, because I was trusting in God instead of myself.Click To Tweet
I knew I could still fail, but I would praise God for that, too, because it meant He was working something better.

At 9:00 AM, I stepped out of the testing center with a piece of paper in my hands. An outcome was written on it:

Examination Result: PASS

And I praised God, because He had done it!

And I praised God, because I knew He had taught me to celebrate even if I “failed.” And you know what? Whatever you’re facing, you can celebrate failure, too. Because in the end, it’s really not failure. In the end, it’s just one more step into the beautiful plans God has for you.

Trust Him today, and celebrate! Your best is yet to come.

The Last Time: Why You (and I) Can Stop Starting Over

Why, hello, everyone! It is so great to see your bright and smiling faces back on this blog again! I am super excited to connect (and reconnect) with so many of you again.

Have you ever felt that tickle of apprehension? That moment when you’re about to launch back into something that you have tried before…and quit? You want so badly for it to work out this time — but you’re terrified.

For those of you who know me, you know I have blogged off and on for quite some time. I remember writing with blogspot.com in my teens, on Myspace, on WordPress.com, and then finally with the official katyhelena.com address in 2013. The blog continued for a time, and then lapsed as I worked on my Master’s in Counseling degree. I picked it back up again in 2015 for a whopping two posts, and then it died off again as I focused on building my counseling practice.

So with a record of off-and-on blogging, why am I even starting again? What makes this time different?

This time: I’m here to stay.

I heard this quote:

'If you're tired of starting over, stop giving up.'Click To Tweet

Oooh. Ouch.

Now, I heard this quote in the context of working out (another habit I am working into my daily life). But I believe it applies to so many other areas of life.

As a kid, I loved writing and dreamt of being a writer one day; and now I am ready to stop giving up on that dream. It is now or never if I am going to start and sustain a writing habit. But more than that, on my blog, I want to use my writing to help other people…to encourage them, to support them, to remind them of who they can be. That’s important–and I know, because that’s what I have needed along life’s way. When I realized all of this, I knew I needed to start my blogging again.

Will I be perfect? Heavens, no! But do I plan to give up this time? NO.

How about you?

Now, I know many of you have been there, too. You’ve started over so many times on THAT THING that you now wonder if it’s even possible to succeed.

Maybe it’s been one too many times you’ve started a healthier lifestyle. Perhaps you pumped yourself up to read the Bible daily, only to find yourself snoozing over the Scriptures on the second morning. Maybe it’s your marriage — maybe you read a dozen marriage books and attended counseling, but the spark refuses to come back. Or perhaps it’s that addiction you can’t leave, that unhealthy relationship you can’t quit, that person you can’t forgive.

Hopeless, wouldn’t you say? After all, you’ve tried. Like, 50 times. Best to let it go now; accept your lot in life.

Except…

What if…

What if there really was a way to keep from starting over?Click To Tweet What if it really was as simple as not giving up? Not doing it perfectly…but refusing to quit. Do you think you could do that?

I think you could. Absolutely. 100%.

And sure, I know that re-starting a blog is nothing compared to some of the challenges staring at you. But I also know that I once sat on a bed, hopeless about a condition that had never gone away in 18 years. No number of prayers, no number of medicines, no hours of therapy, could make my depression finally stop. And as poorly as I handled many of those years with severe major depressive disorder, I learned to do one thing right:

I did not give up.

To give up meant death. And I would not go there, even though sometimes I wished I could.

Do you know what the crazy thing is? I sit here today and haven’t had a major depressive episode in over a YEAR. I know! I have not felt this way about life since before I reached 13. And for an almost-32-year-old, that is saying something.

So I’m inviting you to do this with me: to stop starting over. Your life is waiting to be lived–and not just lived, but lived with delight, and joy, and ABUNDANCE.

What to Expect

On this blog, we are going to be talking about three things that, I believe, give us the greatest LIFE possible: Faith, Hope, and Love. We’ll look at how matters of faith, hope for change, and the love between us and others can contribute to a life you never thought possible.

This blog, though, cannot succeed without you; because this is a conversation, and we won’t truly learn unless we walk alongside each other.

So here’s my deal: I’m going to keep living a life that’s been hard, though it’s healing, and I will not give up on it. I am going to write this blog, and I will not give up on it, either. I’m asking you to join me in this. Whatever you’re ready to give up on, don’t…not yet, ok? Give it just a little more time. Let’s do this together.

Because maybe if we don’t give up on ourselves, and if we don’t give up on each other…maybe, just MAYBE…amazing things can happen.

I’m willing to take the chance. How about you?