Broken Circles

Broken CirclesI am the kind of person who likes structure, organization, and carefully executed plans. Sometimes, believe it or not, God works within my preferences for structure, giving me a tiny taste of his organization and his planned provision in life. And sometimes, God works very much behind the scenes or in ways I don’t understand, showing me instead that his plans are far greater than any of mine could ever be, and that he is directing this world with precision I could not begin to understand.

Since the beginning of this semester, about a month ago, I have been seeing many things come full circle. I’m rooming with the same roommate I had freshman year, doubting and recommitting to my major once again, and dealing with past struggles. I got a message out of the blue from one of my best friends in high school, who I haven’t spoken to in years, just wanting to share with me about how things are going for her. October marks four years that I have attended my home church, and four years that I have known the amazing pastor and his wife and kids who are seriously family to me. Everything was coming to a close in an organized and structured way, and I was unconsciously preparing myself to go to Thailand for twelve weeks and then to graduate a month after that. I could see it happening, and I was okay with what I saw.

And then reality hit.

A door closed, student teaching became a bit uncertain, stress piled up, meetings had to be missed and rescheduled. I was a bit pathetic and emotional. Then there was a death in my church family this week. There is a lot of unknown.

When something “comes full circle,” it completes a cycle, returns to its beginnings.

American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy

It is as if some of the circles, instead of “coming full circle” and allowing for neat closure, are stopping or even breaking before they reach the other side. To my finite mind, the resolution I expected September and this semester to bring isn’t going to happen.

But is not my finite mind very, um… finite? And is not my God very infinite? Might it be that what I see as broken circles, God sees as a masterpiece he is creating? A plan so big that I simply cannot wrap my mind around it? Might it be that God sees beauty in things I find broken?

Perhaps I wanted the “coming full circle” idea to work because it seems neat and put together. I can daydream about future plans and “perfect” endings all I want, but real life is God’s plan, and he’s taking care of it. I am learning to embrace his ways that are higher than mine, even when they don’t make sense right away. “Besides being complicated,” C.S. Lewis wrote, “reality, in my experience, is usually odd. It is not neat, not obvious, not what you expect.”

So, while I am confused as to why not everything will end with my opinion of nice, neat closure, I am reminded that God’s plan for providing closure for my college years is perfect, whether or not it seems that way now. I can rest in the fact that we no longer have the innocence (and inexperience) of freshmen and that we can make decisions like adults. I can rest in the fact that I have been blessed with a community here at college that is messy and real. I can rest in the fact that God is still making beautiful things out of his broken and imperfect children. I can rest knowing even when they don’t seem perfect to me, God’s ways are perfect. Very much so. Even when I doubt him, I wouldn’t change those perfect plans for the world.

God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true…

– Psalm 18:30


Photo credit: Elizabeth Foote / Flickr / CC BY-SA


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