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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Great Expectations (not about the book) (08/25/11)

TITLE: No More Bullet-Points
By Lisa Johnson


No More Bullet-Points

As a rule, I don't think anyone automatically expects for their life to be a disaster. In general, I think most people try to have a hopeful outlook on life. Their high expectations should never be mistaken for delusions of grandeur. The Bible says “without a vision the people perish.” A Civil Rights Activist, Martin Luther King Jr.'s most famous speech was his “I Have a Dream” speech. So people are justified in dreaming their dreams.

When I was very young, I once heard someone say, “If you reach for the stars, you may never actually hold a star, but you can be sure you won't wind up with a handful of mud for your efforts.” Not very spiritual, I'll admit... but it made a very great, visual impression on me.

I have always dreamed big dreams. My expectations have always been for the very best of everything. Heck, I even had bullet-points...

*The best education (I was very focused)
*The best career (note to self: career not job)
*A fairytale romance (I'm over here, Prince C.)
*A perfect family (1 boy, 1 girl, 2 dogs)
*A house in the 'burbs (fenced yard, pool)
*College for the kids (straight “A's”, scholarships)
*Retirement home (in the mountains)
*Sitting on a wrap-around porch (log cabin, anyone?)
*Listening to a running stream (mood music)
*Writing (the next Great American Novel)
*Grand kids (when I'm old and gray)

Somehow, nothing turned out quite the way I had expected, but I always had that sincere response... “there's a reason for everything.” I pressed on with “Plan B”... “Plan C”...”Plan D”...etc. All the while, I have held tenaciously to the expectation that, in the end, everything would work out the way it is supposed to.

Then... out of left field...the unexpected... the unimagined...

One word...


Life's camera shifts... the picture out of focus... temporary disorientation...

Paradigm shift... or is it?

“I know the plans I have for you...”

“Yes, Lord... I know you do...but...”

“Plans to prosper you and not to harm you...”

“Yes, Lord...I know...”

“Plans to give you a hope and a future.”

“Yes, Lord.”

Not a hiccough... not a speed-bump... not a detour or a deviation. Part of the plan all along.

I have no more bullet-points.

I expect that I will wake up each day, grateful for the gift of one more day.

I expect that I will walk... not blindly or fearfully, as one feeling their way through a labyrinth... but boldly... as one who is holding tightly to the hand of Someone who knows the way.

I expect that I will tell everyone I know, “You are not promised tomorrow, so do not squander today. Seek God's plan for your life, and live each day for His glory.”

I do not know what tomorrow holds... or next week... or next year. I don't have to worry about what the future holds... I know Who holds my future.

I expect it will be great.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Scripture References:
Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

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This article has been read 878 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 09/03/11
Oh my! This story was so engaging in a "poignant and cold splash of reality" type way. I have known many people who have heard that diagnosis from their physicians...But, each one knew that the "Greatest Physician" holds their diagnosis in His mighty hands. I loved this and the scripture references...Thank you for sharing. God Bless~
Linda Goergen09/05/11
Oh wow, what a well written, well presented moving piece - the message and voice of faith so beautiful and powerful! This just really touched my heart and I feel blessed to have read it! God Bless!
Margaret Kearley 09/08/11
Wow - this is so powerful, really touches the heart. Wonderfully written and very thought-provoking. Congratulations on your win. It is very well deserved.
Janice Fitzpatrick09/08/11
Whoaaaaaaaaaa! I never expected the last part but God sure brings blessings and hope out of big bumps in the road, that often have caused many to get out of focus and instead take fear and depression as their bosom buddies. It would be understandable too but God can take the bad and make good out of of it, praise the Lord-for His ways are above our ways, and we can "EXPECT GREAT THINGS" in HIM. Congratulations on your placing first-this is such a touching piece-reality with a message, shifting between humor and drama and HOPE!! Praise God!!
marcella franseen09/08/11
Congratulations! Thank you for sharing such a well written, transparent piece.
Patricia Turner09/08/11
Wow! Super congratulations on this outstanding piece and your first place EC!

If this is a true story, my prayers go out to you.

It is a true story for my sister-in-law, who has lived this just about to the letter, including the last part where she knows that every day is a gift and lives it just exactly that way.
C D Swanson 09/08/11
My heartfelt congratulations on a well deserved first place win. This story was so touching and I am so glad you won first place. May God Bless you now and always~
Loren T. Lowery09/08/11
Reading this, one cannot but stop and put things into perspective. Life is so fragile - we plan, but God directs our steps. How good it is to know that He is ever faithful in His plan for our lives. Congratulations on your EC.
Rhonda Ritenour09/08/11
Wonderful piece and very well written. The testimony found in this story shines brightly and is an encouragement to all who read it! Thank you for sharing honestly and from the heart!
Lisa Johnson09/08/11
And as Paul Harvey said... now for the rest of the story... I wrote this at 1 AM Thursday morning. I went to see my surgeon and my endocrinologist later that day, expecting to find out the treatment plan... got miraculous news... the cancer was a mixed cell type which would be harder to treat, but it was found tucked inside a benign tumor, so it had not one but two capsules around it. It had not spread, they think they got it all, and no treatment necessary right now... just frequent monitoring for the next year, then yearly after that. I feel like a walking miracle, and my life plan remains to live each day like it is my last, and to tell every one how God has blessed me. Thank you all for your kind comments, and PRAISE THE LORD!
Susan Ferguson 09/10/11
A well deserved win. It is moving and written extremely well. You deserve publication for your work. I have read several others that you wrote and I like your writing style. God is with you and is using you for His glory. Thank you for the touching article.
Bonnie Bowden 09/12/11
Congratulations on your 1st place EC award. Very poignant piece and title. It is a great reminder of who holds the key to our future.
Bryan Rudolph01/14/12
Plan B, C, D, E, F, GOD ! Give us this day our daily bread. Lisa, you are a genuine master storyteller and I hope so much that all of your fans one day soon sees from you Plan PUBLISHED AUTHOR; I know I would have Plan BUY IT NOW.

Congratulations, Lisa, on all facets of the winner you are.