What happens when your plans go awry?

I took some time today to re-read Robert Burns' great poem "To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plow."  You've probably never stumbled across it, but this line might be familiar:
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
gang aft agley.
Or maybe this will ring a clearer bell:

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
The poem is hauntingly beautiful and simple, but having your plans go awry isn't.

Just this week, I resolved to begin getting in better shape by breaking a sweat every day.  Three straight days of hitting the basketball courts near my house and I had momentum.  Then, I broke/sprained/badly-jammed/did-something-bad-but-not-bad-enough-to-go-to-the-doctor to my big toe ... and I'm stuck on the couch.

My plan ... awry.

It was a good plan.  A simple plan.  Designed around an insightful understanding of discipline as training (see a post from a while back on spiritual disciplines and my last attempt to get in shape).  But it didn't include being stuck hobbling for a week.

When plans go awry, emotions bubble to the surface.  Frustration.  Fear.  Fatalistic apathy.  We can gloss them over with bad theology ("God must not have wanted me to _____ ").  We can plow forward, clinging to the plan even though the circumstances have changed.  Or we can do something else.

This "something" else makes a huge difference.  Some might say all the difference.

And here you might be expecting me to say something like "Pray" or "Listen to the Holy Spirit" or "Ask your wife for help."  Those are good things, but not what I have in mind.

No, my "something" is something simpler. 

When your plans go awry, remind yourself why you made the plan in the first place. 

Failing to do this does so much damage.  Imagine the family going on vacation to, ostensibly, make wonderful memories together and relax.  They plan to leave the house at 9am.  The plan goes awry.  An alarm doesn't go off.  Someone forgets to pack.  A child moves slowly.  9am slips by and becomes 9:30.  Honking horns.  Shouting.  Slamming doors.  The memories that stick are of this moment.  Not wonderful.  And no one relaxes.

A simple reminder of why the plan is in place helps us adjust our plans, renegotiate them.  Not idly.  Not on a whim.  But when they go awry, we have no other choice.

What do you do when your plans go awry?

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