When Our Plans Don’t Prosper

Do you ever feel like you’re wandering through a forest without a compass? There’s a new path everywhere you turn, but you have no idea which one to take or how to get back home. The enormity of the forest swallowing you whole until you feel utterly lost and alone. That’s what I feel like every time someone asks me what my plan for the future is.

I used to be the person who had a five-year plan and could tell you everything that would happen in those years that would lead to my end goal. In all of my planning and brainstorming sessions, I never realized that I wasn’t actually in control of my life. I didn’t know what would happen that afternoon, let alone five years down the road, but I was confident that I could achieve the life I wanted if I planned it and mapped out the action steps. In my foolishness and pride, I forgot to consult the Lord, let alone seek His guidance in which paths I should take. I made plans and then told God about them afterwards, like a teenager telling their parents they’re going on vacation as they head out the door.

Several years ago, I was planning on moving to Germany for a year to be closer to my boyfriend at the time. I applied for visas, did job interviews, and had a position all lined up. I spent half a year planning out this move abroad, and I never once asked the Lord for direction. I simply prayed that He would make the way smooth for me, and for a while, He seemed to be doing just that. But then I broke my ankle, and shortly after, the relationship I was in ended. I remember crying out to the Lord, asking Him why He had brought me so far down this path only to lead me to a cliff. I was physically and emotionally broken, and I couldn’t understand why the Lord had thrown my plans out the window.

We were never promised that our plans would prosper.

When you’re in the thick of disappointment and shattered dreams, it’s nearly impossible to see what the Lord is doing in your life. You can’t see the bigger picture because you’re trapped in the brush strokes. For me, it wasn’t until half a year later that I began to see how the Lord had moved in that situation. Sometimes, the Lord allows us to walk down a destructive path to bring us to a breaking point that becomes a turning point. It’s that pivotal moment when we can either choose to keep chasing after our self-appointed plans or turn and follow the Lord’s leading.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Proverbs 16:9

I was arrogant and thought that if I planned everything, I could present it all to the Lord, and He would bless me. But I had been planning for a future when I didn’t even know what tomorrow would bring. I was so focused on blazing my own trail that I ignored the signs along the way that were telling me to stop and turn around. I don’t know where I would be now if I had gone to Germany or even who I would be. I believe that my broken ankle and shattered heart were the stepping stones to becoming who I am today.

We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. This means that we have the incredible gift of focusing on this moment right now and the work that the Lord has for us. Let’s not get caught up in the planning for a future we can’t claim, but rather focus our eyes on God’s word and seek His timing and guidance.

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