Denial…Change of Plans

change-of-plansDenial…Change of Plans… Throughout this Lenten reflection, I’ll ask a number of rhetorical questions. After some questions… pause… allowing yourself time to consider them and reflect on your personal experiences, perceptions and views. What’s the connection between Denial and a Change of Plans? How on earth are those two, seemingly different notions, connected? And, WHAT do they have to do with Lent?

When we speak of Simon Peter, most often it’s his repeated denial of Jesus that comes to mind. But when we explore more of the scriptures than just those highlight ones of the Christmas story, Easter, the Transfiguration and so forth… we find that, to many, Peter was thought to be boastful, emotional, IMPULSIVE. Do any of those traits apply to you? What about when your well thought-out plans are changed by a situation or circumstance that you have no control over? Without forethought, whether it be publicly or in the privacy of your own kitchen, office, or car…what is your exclamation? What’s a variation of the very first thought that goes through your mind? “NO!!!! No! No! No! I had my day planned! It has to go the way I planned because that allows me to then do…A…B…and C. And if it all would just go according to MY plan… then I could probably also… Who knows what! The possibilities could be limitless!”

What do you see in that scenario? A CHANGE OF PLANS? A DENIAL? Something beyond your control happened – a grandchild is sick and has to be picked up at daycare or school. Can you do it? OR Your truck has a flat and the spare’s flat, too. Your usual go-to people (or your tools) have gone into hiding! What?!?!? What do you mean the cattle are on the road?!?!? I checked that fence LAST NIGHT! NO! NO! NO! My day was planned! Now I’m late, or WORSE! My day can’t follow the schedule I had in mind. A change of plans and denial…all in one fell swoop!

We’re human. We don’t like change…not sure why, but that seems to be a rule. Although I don’t know who made that rule. Regardless, we just don’t like it. HOWEVER…life, everyone’s life, is sculpted on a moment-by-moment basis. We are blessed with the gift of CHOICE. YIKES!! Now, in the midst of an abrupt change of plans, We have to make choices and that’s A GIFT?!?!? HOW DO YOU FIGURE?!?!?!? Yes, we do have a choice, and the ability to choose is our gift.

We can give into immediate reactions of irritation, frustration, and discouragement. We can curse, throw things, even speak or act rudely to those around us. OR we can teach ourselves to redirect our focus to the Lord…to Jesus on that cross… hanging on that cross for our salvation. And in shifting our reaction we can embrace patience, acceptance and tolerance – for ourselves… and for others. Rather than casting blame, judgment or criticism, or (even worse… in our own minds) feeling helpless — we can choose the compassion, forgiveness, understanding and acceptance that Jesus showed for those beneath Him…for EACH OF US… as He hung on the cross.

What will you do? Will you deny that things happen beyond your control? Will you fight a change of plans? OR will you embrace the “what is” just as Jesus accepted what was His to do on the cross for us?