I’m a habitual planner. If there’s something that needs to be planned, I’m there. If there’s something that doesn’t need to be planned, I’m there anyway trying to sort everything into colour coordinated flow charts and file folders. I love to plan out where I’ll live, how I’ll achieve my dream job, what my wedding will look like; it’s all in my five-year plan, and it would be written in stone if I had my way. So it should come as no surprise that when things don’t go according to plan, I get anxious very quickly.
People would always quote Jeremiah 29:11 to me when my plans fell apart, and if I’m honest, I hated it. Because I didn’t want to hand over my precious five-year plan and trust that God would work it all out. I didn’t know how or when God was going to allow me to prosper. I had no idea what changes or challenges would come into my life if I opened myself up to follow God’s leading.
Comfort is something that we all crave, and the element of uncertainty that is involved in laying down your hopes and dreams before God is terrifying.
But the heart of my resistance in surrendering to God was that God’s plans were not my plans, and I loved my plans. But whenever I put faith in the works of my own hands and the ideas of my creation, I always came out the other side holding a map that led me nowhere. I put so much stock in my planning that I thought that I could force God to go along with my ideas because after all, they were so well thought out and colour coded.
So there I was barrelling headlong into achieving all that I had hoped and dreamed of when God broke through my tunnel vision (literally) and reminded me that His plans are so much better than mine.
I was working towards achieving a life that would have to lead me farther away from God and deeper into pain, but I was so focused on my envisioned end goal that I had blocked out any voices of reason in my life, especially God’s. The only way for Him to get my attention was to break me physically, and only then could he begin to rebuild me.
At first, I saw this brokenness as anything but the merciful hand of God in my life. He had taken away everything that I held dear. My job, my relationships, all of my planning for the next years…gone. For a long time all I could see was the rubble around me, but what I couldn’t see was the new life that was beginning to grow out of the wreckage.
What I can see now is that in the process of taking away what I had planned, God was challenging me to alter my perspective.
In all of my planning and preparation, I had become stagnant, unwilling to push myself or change and grow in the Lord’s leading. I had become solely focused on where I wanted my life to go, and I was utterly ignoring the life that God had laid out before me. When all that I had left was a swirling mess of shattered dreams I was forced to rely entirely and wholly on God; there was no other way that I was going to be able to navigate this new terrain alone.
Sometimes it’s hard to see change as an act of God. We get so focused on how we want our lives to turn out, that we forget to shift our focus onto to the promises and plans God has laid out for us. But I want to encourage you to remember that we never go through the seasons of change and transition alone.
We have a Heavenly Father who is leading us and bringing us into a land flowing with milk and honey, a land of fulfilled promises and renewed life. When the changes come, (and they will come otherwise how would we ever grow?), remember that even if we don’t understand what’s going on, God does.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah. 55:9
While I wish that I could say that I have hung up my planners and pens for good, I will say that rather than trying to plan out my whole life perfectly, I am now trying to align my life with God’s calling for me. I can weather the stormy seas and hurdle the obstacles in my way because I don’t have my faith set on the plans of my creation, but I have my faith in the One who has a plan for everything in His creation.
Instead of running away from changes, I embrace them because I know that I am fully known and fully loved by the One who works all things together for the good of those who love Him. Change isn’t something to be feared, but rather something to be welcomed because it’s an opportunity for us to lean into God and grow more in tune with Him. And that’s a change worth experiencing!