Are you a planner? I definitely am! I love to know the plan, make the plan, and see the plan come to fruition. There is a sense of accomplishment in this, at least for me there is.
I also have a hard time when the plans change or fall apart. It can leave me with a sense of panic and disappointment. There is a feeling of defeat in this. I can take it as a personal failure. Maybe it’s just me, but plans make me feel secure.
As I type this I have to laugh. My life is anything but planned. In fact, my life has been a living testament to plans not working, unexpected changes, multiple detours, and if I think about it most of my plans have led to a different path altogether than what I had thought they would. God has really been reminding me of several things these past few weeks as I have thought and pondered about my plans.
The first thing I was reminded of was Proverbs 16:9: “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” My plans might look good on paper or in my head but the reality of it is I would much rather know the Lord was determining my steps.
I think about my son, Justin. He went to college at Georgia Tech and while he was in college he would substitute teach two times a week just to make some spending money. He graduated from Tech majoring in management with a certificate in finance and started a job with a financial planning firm. He worked there about six months and one night he came into my room and told me this was not what he wanted to do. He said he felt like his passion was teaching and he really felt like God was leading him in that direction. He left his “sure thing” job, went back to school, got his Master's and became a high school math teacher and coach at Buford High School, where he taught for 15-plus years. This past year he was promoted to assistant principal at the high school.
He was a coach, teacher, and now administrator who loves what he does and loves the Lord, and it shows. He has a great relationship with students and, in my opinion, he is a great example to them as well on how to live your life for the Lord. You see, he was brave enough to allow God to change his plans and direct his steps.
Another thing I think the Lord reminded me of was Proverbs 20:24: “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” Every single time I see or read this scripture I think about questions that I don’t have answers to, such as why my child has to have autism? Why did my friend have cancer? Why did my sister-in-law have to be a widow at a young age? Why do people have to deal with death of a child? Why is this happening to me/us? Why? Why? Why?
The answers to those questions I do not understand, at all. However, I have come to realize that I don’t have to. In fact, it’s probably easier if I don’t know the answers beforehand. I have come to see that the best part of that verse is, “The Lord directs our steps.”
I don’t have to have all the understanding of the "whys." In fact, I really don’t think I could handle all the answers. The truth is I have to know and trust God’s directing of my steps and not try to plan and direct them myself.
The last verse I thought of was Psalm 119:105: “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” If I want to know and follow God’s plan I have to be in the Word. For me to be able to trust the One directing my steps I have to know the Bible to hear His voice when He is directing , otherwise my path has no light whatsoever.
I just don’t randomly trust anyone without knowing them. Trust comes from experiencing and knowing someone. My experience and knowledge of God through the Word tells me over and over that He is faithful to provide, encourage, uplift, comfort, and strengthen me. He is even gracious enough to send me believers to support me when my plans do not go the way I “think” they should have gone.
The bottom line is I have to realize my plans may change. God’s plan is the only plan that matters. The One who knew us before we were born will lead, guide and direct us on this journey called life. I don’t know about you, but that is real security to me. I am sure I will continue to make plans for the remainder of my days but my desire is to remember this verse from Isaiah 48:17 every time my plans change: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”
His ways are so much better than my ways. My best-made plans might not be where God’s steps are leading, and where He leads is where I want to follow!
Jill Johnson, a staff member at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, finds spiritual applications in her everyday experiences as a wife, mother, grandmother and Georgian. She is available to speak to your church's women's gatherings. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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