Thursday, March 8, 2012

How to React to Life's Unexpected Turns

Have you ever noticed that no matter how carefully you plan, life has a way of taking unexpected turns?  Last Wednesday my daughter and I spent the night in Helsinki, Finland, the last place on earth I would have expected to visit. We had just the clothes on our backs. No pyjamas. No toiletries.

A bus stop in Helsinki

My husband and son were travelling from Turkey to the United States on a different airline, and we planned to meet up in New York City to spend a day sightseeing before we continued our trip home together.  I was excited because I’ve dreamed about going to New York City all my life. We planned our day carefully: Ground Zero, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Broadway, and Lombardi’s pizzeria.

The first hint that things were not going as planned came when we checked in for our flight.
The computer showed a different itinerary than the one on my e-ticket. The airlines agent struggled for one hour to print tags for our luggage, and she could only give me boarding passes for the first leg of our trip, so I’d have to check in again during our 50 minute layover in Helsinki. We had to  run to catch our flight out of Izmir, and to make a long story short, after a second harrowing run through the Helsinki airport, we missed our flight, but our bags went on to New York.

Tears welled up in my eyes at the prospect of looking for a hotel in Helsinki and missing our day of sightseeing in New York, but during lunch with my daughter at the airport, I decided to laugh. Spending a night in Helsinki with no pyjamas and no toothpaste had better be funny, or else I’d start crying.  Funnier still was the fact that my husband and son were on their way to New York with a suitcase full of souvenirs and home school supplies.  Their clothes were in our luggage.

Life is full of unplanned surprises.  How can we handle unexpected twists and turns?

Trust that God is in control.

He’s with us every step of the way, even when things don’t go as planned.  Getting upset about things I can’t change doesn’t help my situation.  Remembering God’s care for me helps me relax.

Look on the bright side.

My daughter and I decided that rather than being miserable, we would make the best of things and look at it as an adventure.  When in our lives would we ever have the chance to be in a Nordic country and see such wonderful pine trees and huge snow drifts?

Adjust your expectations.

When things go differently than I expect or hope for, I often remember this word from Joyce Meyer: “Adjust your expectations.”  Decide that you can still enjoy your day. You can still enjoy life.


Give thanks anyway.

This is my attempt at handling life’s glitches.  How about you? What helps you to stay positive when things go wrong?


Linda said...

Oh, Olive Tree! I'm smiling but I'm also fighting tears. "Spending a night in Helsinki with no pyjamas and no toothpaste had better be funny, or else I’d start crying." BLESS YOU for your sweet spirit. I trust this will be something you and your daughter talk about and laugh about for decades to come!


Rebecca said...

I am so happy you stopped by my blog, because I am so excited to read your blog and "meet" you :) I have always been drawn to Turkey~its history and culture, and hope to visit someday. Until then I will soak up lots of goodness from your blog here, and I promise I will try every recipe you post :)

Alida said...

We always try to laugh when we is better than crying!

Stephanie said...

This can be so hard for me, too! I am a planner-extraordinaire!!! I am so sorry you missed your sight seeing day! But, this too was a gift from Him!---that is where the trust comes in. Sounds like your decision together to make the best of it and make it an adventure was amazing and pleasing to our loving Father (such a good thing for your girl to watch and learn too). May you know His love over you as you walk this furlough with all of these great "tips" in mind. Every day! Blessings!!!

Jamie Jo said...

I'm not stuck in Helsinki, but life's taken some unexpected turns here lately for sure. Thanks for the timely reminder. Good post from a fellow laugh-instead-of-crying kind of a gal.

OliveTree said...

Blessings and grace to you, Jamie Jo, as life takes unexpected turns for you too!

I'm giving thanks for blogging friends today, Stephanie, Alida, Linda and Rebecca!

us5 said...

:( i'm so sorry you missed NYC. but oh! i think God gave you an amazing gift...a thankful heart and an incredibly unique memory, demonstrating to your daughter a deep-rooted faith and trust. that's priceless.