I had a plan. But I ended up with something I didnít plan on.
Like many young guys I had dreams for my life and I planned to make all of those dreams come true. I remember so many of them clearly; even being able to put times and faces to some of their birth dates.
I remember sitting in the living room with my sister and her boyfriend, John. He was a carpenter and my favourite lesson in school was Wood Work. I was thirteen years old and fast approaching middle age. I just had to get out my book of plans and share them with him. Thatís right; I had even gone that far. I had a book in which I had drawn all of my plans for the future.
I had plans for the house I was going to build, the furniture I was going to make for it and even for the garden I was going to put around it. I had plans for life too. I was going to work for myself. I had seen my father lose his job too often; no security in working for someone else. I was going to work hard and become rich by the time I was forty and then spend the rest of my life helping other people. But there was a missing part of the plan.
I didnít plan or even consider how I was going to handle the rejections and pains in life. And I should have thought of that; they started right then, the day I brought out that book of plans.
John and my sister laughed at me that day and told me to get my head out of the clouds and grow up. They told me that life doesnít work that way and by the time I was forty I would just be a struggling worker in the minefields of life. I remember being hurt, but I buried it away and left them to their open mockery.
I guess I buried a lot of things away those days. My father was an alcoholic and my mother was a prescription drug addict. They did not have a good hold on life. My eldest brother ran away from home to get married and my eldest sister had a nervous breakdown the week before her wedding. My second sister, the third child in the family, got pregnant to John; but ended up not wanting to be with him and also ran away.
But I convinced myself that none of this really mattered. I would square back my shoulders and push ahead with my dreams and visions. And thatís what I did.
By the time I was forty I had reached many of my goals. I had two nice, new cars and, though I didnít build the home I lived in, I had done enough renovations to satisfy my ego. And I had built much of my own furniture. But I was as miserable as all hell.
I had become a binge drinker. I would go for months without touching a drop, but then start drinking and within a few months reach a stage where I was drunk every night. I would fight and argue with people, was totally self centred and couldnít give a darn for anyone elseís opinion. And my moral code was simple; whatís good for me is good and who cares about the law.
I guess it is pretty obvious where this sort of life leads and my life led me there. I ended up with a divorce, lost my business, home, cars, bank balance and worse; I ended up in jail. I planned the garden I wanted for my life and reaped what I sowed. I became rich to discover that there are far more important things in life than what money can buy. And that was my salvation; literally.
I was sent to prison to be set free. While in that horrible place I met Someone I didnít plan on meeting; Jesus.
Am I rich now? It depends on how you look at it. I donít have a lot of cash and live in a rented house. I still work for myself but times are tough and my business is really struggling. But I have an inheritance that would make your head spin and that no-one can ever steal from me.
If you want true riches, let me introduce you to Jesus.
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