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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Learning for Life (08/23/04)

TITLE: Life Lesson # 101: Write in Pencil!
By Donna Haug


I was so proud of myself. I had spent a good hour or more that night filling out my teacherís planning book. The seventh grade math class that I teach has occasional quizzes planned into the schedule but they are not obvious in the actual layout of the book. So, bucking my tendency to plan only one day in advance, I took out my teacherís manual and filled in a few weeks at a time. At last I was going to be organized!

Suddenly, I realized I hadnít marked off any of the school holidays on my planning book! That would never do! I got out my school calendar and began crossing off the days we would have off. I cringed as I looked at all my previous planning. Alas, I had written all of my math schedule in pen! The two days off over the Labor Day Weekend successfully shuffled my math schedule ahead two days from that point on. Grabbing my pen, I began crossing out lesson numbers and changing the quiz days once again. Great! Now I was all set.

When I had finished, I began studying the next lesson. As I perused the fine print in the margin of the teacherís book, I read, ďThis next unit introduces many new concepts to the student. You may want to take this unit at a slower pace allowing a couple of extra days to work through the material.Ē Oh, thatís just great! Now you tell me!

As I pounded my forehead with the heel of my hand, I was reminded of one of the most useful lessons I have had to learn in life: Write in pencil! When you live a mobile life such as mine, living in 12 houses in the past 15 years on 3 different continents, you learn to keep address books written in pencil. When you live in Africa where life moves at itís own pace and things are never what they seem, you learn to plan your schedules in pencil. Flexibility is the key! Change is inevitable; be prepared! After all, T.I.A. Ė This Is Africa!

As I consider this most important lesson, I glance down at what is in my hand, and I am reminded of my own life. How flexible and open to change am I when God takes me in a different direction than the one I had planned? When we moved into the apartment where we now live, I prayed, ďGod, I really want to stay put for a while! We have moved so often! I would love to live longer than two years in one place. I want to stay in this house for the rest of our four-year term here in Mozambique!Ē There must have been a mild earthquake felt throughout the world that day as Godís shoulders shook with his chuckles. Here we are two years later with the possibility of another major change looming ahead of us! It seems that we may be transferred to another city a long two-day drive from here. There is no doubt in my mind that the Lord has been leading all the way, but I canít help but overhear that little voice inside whispering, ďDo we have to move? Again?Ē

Lord, I have learned that my dreams and desires are most fulfilled when I am content to follow your leading. Help me remember to be flexible and trust that you will care for me no matter where you lead me. I will seek your guidance as I make my plans, Lord, and Iíll try to remember to always write in pencil!

Member Comments
Member Date
Al Boyce08/30/04
Nice transition from the pen analogy to the way we try to pin down God. Good read.
Lynda Lee Schab 08/30/04
It's so true that when we get comfortable, that's when God chooses to make His move. We always have to be ready to erase our plan and go with His..
Great article! Blessings, Lynda
Teresa Lee Rainey08/31/04
"There must have been a mild earthquake felt throughout the world that day as Godís shoulders shook with his chuckles." Aren't you glad God has a sense of humor when we question his leading! It would be so much easier if we would just say OK. I'm still such a baby sometimes with my "But Why God, WHY????" I love your writing!
darlene hight09/01/04
I enjoyed this Donna especially all the crossing out in your planner. Very fun read!
L.M. Lee09/01/04
loved they way you tied it all into the pencil! :-)