Here's a few examples. For many years, I felt bad that I hadn't served as a missionary. It was just always something that I wanted to do, but put aside because I wanted to marry my husband. I in no way regret marrying, but for a long time, I had just wished that it had happened a few years later. Of course, this would have had a domino effect on a lot of other life choices that involved not only me but others--when I gave birth to my first child would be a major time-line alteration. Anyway, all those thoughts aside, the regret that I hadn't served as a missionary when I was young had niggled in the back of my mind until I went and visited where my sons had served their missions and the thought struck me like a blow to the gut. I could never have done what they did. I couldn't have lived in those conditions. I'm pretty sure that I would never have been able to handle living with someone for 24 hours a day. And the countless hours of rejection...It's something I simply wouldn't have been able to do. And of course, the opportunity to serve isn't over. It's something that I look forward to doing with my husband in the near future. And, even if for some strange reason that doesn't come to pass, I can still serve where I am. I try to think that I'm doing just that.
Another realization hit me just a month ago. I could never be a full-time teacher and a writer at the same time--something I've often kicked myself for not trying. Last month I taught at six workshops in one day at a middle school. And it was fun being with the kids and creating stories, but by the end of the day, the back of my legs ached, my throat was scratchy, and all I wanted to do was curl up on a sofa with a book. The thought of doing that five days a week for six hours a day AND trying to write my own books? Impossible (for me.)
The other day, Tuesday, in fact, I was feeling sad and sorry for myself because I knew that other than my walking partner I wasn't going to see anyone all day. My husband would be busy until late at night and I had nothing on my calendar except for writing a book that I'm feeling meh about. (This is typical at the 100 page mark for me.) But on that day, I had a rush of texts from my friends, my daughter, who had no idea I'd been feeling sad and sorry, called and asked if I wanted to get pizza, in the end, my husband came home for an hour or two before he had to go out again, and I had plenty of social interaction plus I'd been able to lift myself out of writerly mehness and my characters were once again witty and charming.
I shared this experience with a friend, who said, why don't we just trust the Lord that He knows what we need and he'll provide? And I replied, but maybe the Lord expects us to create our own lives? There are scriptures that support both ways of thought.