I have been blessed with amazing organizational skills. I’m great at planning—even better with goal-setting and backward mapping. My five-year Life Plans are written project documents with milestones and interim deadlines to help me achieve my long-term goals. I review them regularly to track my progress and stay motivated. I also share my goals with others to help hold me accountable and offer encouragement and support.
I rarely wait until the last minute to do things. For the last month, I have been frantically trying to coordinate with my friend and grandmother to nail down the details for Mother’s Day weekend—still four weeks away. I have every weekend planned out from now until mid-June when I leave for the West Coast. I buy plane tickets 3-4 months in advance, and planned my trip to Spain for almost a year before I took it. I learned the hard way in college that I do not do well with the stress of last-minute preparations, so I try to get everything arranged well in advance.
Yet, I do not have one detail worked out regarding all the transitions that are about to take place in my life over the next four months. I don’t yet know where I will be working or living this summer. I don’t have tenants arranged to move into my home in DC. I haven’t booked a ticket to California, although I am planning to leave in about eight weeks. I’m not sure where I will be living in the fall when classes begin. The only thing I know for certain is that I will begin classes at Stanford University on Monday, September 25.
Recently, a friend inquired if everything was set with my move. She knows me, and how I normally operate. She knows how much of a planner I am. My lack of progress hasn’t been due to lack of effort. I started applying for summer jobs in January. I reached out to everyone in my professional network, seeking recommendations and referrals. I have made it to the Finalist round for a wonderful training program for education leaders, but I haven’t been placed with an organization yet.
Not knowing where I will be working is making it hard for me to find a place to live this summer. I could be placed in San Francisco, Oakland, Palo Alto or San Jose. Although only maybe 50 miles apart in physical distance, it would take several hours to get from one extreme to the other during most of the workday. It’s best if I live relatively close to where I will be working. Since that hasn’t been determined yet, neither has my housing situation.
I haven’t booked my train tickets for my cross-country journey for the same reason. As much as I want to hop on a series of Amtrak trains that will take me through the majestic mountains and valleys of this country, I won’t be able to make the final arrangements until my summer employment situation is resolved, and I know my start date. So, I wait. Wait. Wait.
When I told my friend that nothing was worked out, I surprisingly wasn’t filled with dread or anxiety. I know I am going to get out to California somehow. And I am pretty confident that I am going to have a summer job out there somewhere. I’ll find someplace to live for the summer. I have done everything I have to do to apply for jobs and connect with potential employment and housing opportunities. I just have to continue searching and wait to see what job pans out.
In the meantime, I am trying to stay focused on the things in my control. I can apply for jobs and reach out to my network for work and housing leads. I can continue going through my belongings to decide what to discard. I also can find a shipping company to haul everything, including my car, to the West Coast. In a few weeks, I will start packing the remaining things up and getting ready for the shippers. I can hire a realtor to help me find tenants for my place and secure a lease. I can sign a property management agreement, so that I don’t have to worry about minor repairs on my home in DC while I’m in California.
When those moments of panic come, and they have come, I have offered up a prayer to God:
Lord, you know me. You know every detail of my life and my every need.
After my prayer time, I make the decision to trust in God and keep preparing. I do not particularly enjoy walking by faith. I much prefer knowing in advance every step of the way forward. But that isn’t always how life works. At least, that isn’t how my life is working right now. So, I am walking by faith and trusting in God’s goodness.
Crystal Moore began her wellness quest in 2003 after being diagnosed with lupus. Her quest has led her to embrace yoga, faith, exercise, healthy eating, and relationships. Share her journey.