Recently I've come across two analogies for life.
1. Jazz (As summarized by my friend AJ)
Jazz is very go-with-the-flow. The performer knows the basic elements/structure of the song but doesn’t know specifically what special distinctives it will take. Jazz requires that the player learn to move with the direction that the piece takes in the moment, interact with both the music and the other players, and improvise.
2. Surfing (As described in The Present Future)
"In the weeks I observed surfers I never saw one surfer plan a single wave, but I did see them prepare to ride the waves when they came." God is making waves all around us. The people busy making their own plans won't get to ride them. It will be the people that are prepared to get in on what God is up to that will get to ride them.
Basically the message that I think God is trying to get through to me with these analogies is firstly, "Control is an illusion so quit grasping for it." Secondly, "If you must make your little plans, hold them VERY loosely and be prepared to see all obstacles to your plans as waves that I'm inviting you to ride."
If obstacles are waves then waves are my kids. In my daily life it's my kids who most often thwart my best laid plans. Seeing their ill-timed accidents, neediness, and tantrums as fun waves to ride would be a stretch. But not all waves are fun rides, I suppose. Quite a few of them kick your butt and leave you wondering which way is up while ingesting salt water through your nose. Since we can't know which waves will be exhilerating and which will be humiliating, we have to keep getting on which ever ones come our way lest we miss the ride of a lifetime.
I long to hold my plans loosely; to give my days to God and say, "Not mine, but your plans be done." The best days are rarely the ones where everything goes according to my plan. The best days are more often the ones where by God's grace I go with the flow, move in the direction that the piece takes, and experience the beauty and blessedness of improvisation.
Which word best describes you: surfer, jazz musician, or control freak? I'd love to hear how you are working this out in your life.