“This is not what I planned! I’m going to miss out! I wish things were different!”
These were some of the many thoughts that went through my mind as I grasped to find another flight. My perfectly timed flight was canceled, and the next available flight was not until 4 days later. This meant I would be missing a good friend’s wedding. “I can’t miss this!” I thought as I scrolled through my phone to find another flight:
“If my situation would just change, I’d be happy.”
I found myself trying to change my circumstance, because I thought that would make me happy. And while it might be easier to be happy in a different circumstance, it was definitely possible for me to be happy in the place I found myself. This is because the emotion of happiness comes from a thought in my mind.
To add a cherry on top, I was on day 8 out of 9 days praying the Surrender Novena, where every day I repeated, “Oh Jesus, I surrender myself to You. Take care of everything.” Ironic? I think not. I believe the Lord was offering me a way to practice the surrender I was praying for.
So what did I do about my flight? Does surrender mean to say “I give up?” No, but rather to say the words of the Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
When my flight was canceled I called the airline right away, but it was out of a place of haste and frustration.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…
Fortunately for me, I was put on hold. It was as if the Lord was saying to me: “STOP! You are trying to write this story by yourself, but I, your God, want to be involved!” After journaling and reflecting, I became aware of the thoughts that were leading me to anxiety and was able to see that they were not benefiting me. By becoming aware of my thoughts, I had the ability to choose to think differently.
… courage to change the things I can…
By the end of the day, I tried calling again, but this time I called to know and truly understand what was happening.
… and wisdom to know the difference!
While it still seemed true that I would be missing out, I came to realize that this thought wasn’t helping me. And in fact it was harming me by complaining and getting irritated. Instead, I could focus on what I could change: my thoughts.
My flight was still canceled, and I couldn’t change that even though I tried. So, instead, I chose to focus on thoughts that would be helpful: I could live stream the wedding mass, I could spend more time with my family, the weather was clearing up and I could take a walk, I had time to catch up on phone calls with friends… This change in plans actually could be for the better! If I had spent all my time focusing on missing out, I would miss the biggest gift of all: the present time which is right in front of me!
“Depend on the Lord in whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3
About the Author
About the Author
Beth Kopczyk is a certified Catholic coach who is passionate about helping single Catholics find meaning and purpose in their life through coaching and prayer. She works in the Marriage Prep and Natural Family Planning office of the Diocese of Phoenix. Amongst her other duties, she enjoys teaching Natural Family Planning. On the weekends, you can find her at the top of a mountain dreaming about the future with a cookie in hand, worship song on her lips or dancing the night away in a thrift store dress.