Dear Lauren,

My family is moving to a different city. I am just so nervous and scared: I don’t want to move! But I don’t have a choice; we’re going. Help!

Lauren Roth's Answer

I’m composing this answer to your question as a voice memo on my phone, because I am, right now, sitting in traffic in the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, on my way to Manhattan. But I wasn’t “supposed” to be going to Manhattan. I was “supposed” to be going to Brooklyn. I am supposed to attend a conference which began at 9 am in Brooklyn. It is now 9:30, and I am sitting in traffic, driving away from Brooklyn. You may ask: “Why?!” Well, I’ll tell you.

As I was driving to Brooklyn, I was in – you guessed it – famous New York traffic. All of a sudden, I had a windfall! I saw the far left lane completely open! Nobody else was in it! I felt so incredibly savvy as I pulled into that lane. “I am so smart!” I thought. “I wonder why nobody else thought of this option!”

Well…I had a completely clear path for, unfortunately, miles and miles and miles. I say “unfortunately” because my exit was NOT miles and miles and miles away, and that lane had no way to exit it! I watched my exit as I passed it. I even waved at it! I had to travel all the way into Manhattan, then I had to turn around and cross a bridge to get back into Brooklyn…!

If it’s God’s plan, then it’s a good plan.

This part, my friend, is the answer to your question. The entire time during this loooong detour, I kept saying, “Okay. I didn’t want to be late for this seminar. But God had a different plan. And if it’s God’s plan, then it’s a good plan.” I know that’s a simple example; sitting in traffic, allowing the traffic to take you to a place you didn’t necessarily want to go. But when we practice it with the small stuff, like traffic, then we can learn how to apply it to things that are serious, like: which family we’re born into, whom we marry, our financial situation, or where we have to move. Life becomes much easier to live once we truly, madly, deeply understand that God has a plan, even if we don’t agree with the plan. And if it’s God’s plan, then it’s a good plan, even if we wouldn’t have chosen it.

That’s not to say that we shouldn’t try to change what we are able to change. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t be activists in our own lives, bettering whichever situation we believe needs bettering. It does mean bringing serenity to our lives by accepting the approach they say in AA: “God, please grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

You might remember a few months ago when I wrote an article in this column about finding my glorious dream tree right in my own backyard. Well, guess what? Last week, I drove past the place where that tree lives, and beheld: huge bulldozers, belching black smoke, ripping up every piece of foliage in that area, including my beautiful tree. I also saw huge excavators, and massive dump trucks – hauling away the remains of my chopped-down, uprooted, chopped-up, glorious tree. As devastated as I’ll admit I was (I seriously almost cried; tears came to my eyes), it was at that moment that the thought struck me: God has a plan. And if God has a plan, then it’s a good plan, whether I agree with it or not. Whether I want it or not.

Would you hold God hostage to your script?

God always has a plan. Even if it doesn’t align with your plan for your life, if it is God’s plan, then it is a good plan. As I heard Iyanla Vanzant say recently: “You make up a story about what you think your life is supposed to be, and then you hold God hostage to your story?” You write a script for your life, and then expect to hold God hostage to that script?

So you’re moving. And you don’t want to. I get that. I also think that’s what God does to us always in life. He puts us in situations where we think, “No, no, no, no, no, no! This is NOT the situation that I wanted! This is not the situation I voted for!” And God, as it were, says, “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! This is the situation you need.”

Right now, there is a monster in your head. Its name is “We’re MOVING! ARGHHH!” But you really don’t know; that monster could turn out to be a fantastic boon in your life. You could, quite possibly, love the new place you live. Or maybe you’ll hate it at first but grow to really appreciate aspects of it. Or maybe you’ll just hate it, period, but learn a lot about what you do and don’t like, and learn a lot about yourself in the process of moving and creating new connections and new friends.

I guess you just need to be patient and wait to see what plan God has in store for you this time. Just one more thing. While you’re waiting for the plan to unfold, try not to worry. As my father recently said to me, “The decision has already been made. So it’s not worth perfectly good stomach lining!” Don’t let impending events tear up your stomach or your psyche with nervousness. Try to believe that God has a good plan in store for you, always.