When Plans Don’t Work

Planning isn’t one of my natural strengths, so the Holy Spirit has helped me grow in this area over the course of many years.  I’ve come to appreciate that if I want to accomplish big dreams, then it’s important to develop some plans and structures for these dreams to become reality.  So what happens when the plans don’t seem to work?  Then what?

In the Gospel of Mark, I’ve been reading about how Jesus healed people, often not according to the human contrived plans, i.e,  the Syrophoenician woman whom Jesus calls a dog, the 4 guys who break through a roof to get a paralytic in front of Jesus & the blind guy whom Jesus spits on for his healing.  It seems to me that Jesus almost never follows our human plans, so it begs the question:  why plan?

When you have plans to seem to go awry, maybe these ideas could be helpful:

  • plans help us think in constructive steps to achieve goals & dreams.  No planning = no progress
  • planning with prayer is a massively helpful combination
  • consider Proverbs 16:9, “The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”

Take a minute to order a copy of my newest book that can help you to stay

In Step with the Holy Spirit!

The Ugly Jogger

That would be me, hands down. When I take a jog outside, I suspect that animals scurry, the lithe alert melts down & it feels like my body is in perpetual revulsion mode. So why go through such suffering & cause others to writhe in agony?
Ok, over dramatic, but you get the point.
I jog on occasion for a few reasons:

  • I want to control my body rather than my body control me
  • Move it or lose it – I want to stay active for a long time & without action, this desire will turn into a painful delusion
  • Mental clarity – when my body is tired from physical exercise, oftentimes my mind becomes more alert & keen
  • Paul said that physical discipline is profitable, even if just a little bit – 1Tim 4:8

Sometimes what doesn’t feel or even look good, is still good for you 🙂

On Time

My husband and I have different perspectives about what it means to be “on time” for an appointment.  He thinks that being “on time” for an appointment is sitting in a chair at the appointment 5minutes before that scheduled time.  I think that being “on time” means that I’m in the parking lot of the building or near vacinity at the scheduled time.  This discrepancy in opinions has created just a little tension in our 20+ years of marriage – ok, maybe more than just a little tension, say I with a wink.

Generally, I get myself to places I need to be mostly around the right time but this strategy doesn’t always work out so well for me, of course.  There have been occassions when being late has caused me to miss important things, created unnecessary angst and I’ve burned a few meals because I haven’t paid attention to the time.

I’m thankful that God is always “on time.”  While we might think that God is late or last minute, let’s be abundantly clear that God is in charge of time, so maybe “late” is only a human experience.  Indeed, Martha & Mary thought that Jesus was too late to heal their brother Lazarus when he died.  In one sense, Jesus was too late for healing, but in another sense Jesus was right on time for resurrection.  Let’s be certain that we keep our plans adaptable to God’s schedule!

In the meantime, I’m endeavoring to work on that “on time” thing.

Walking in Uncertainty

I think that most of us like to have a plan & know what’s happening, not only in our day to day activities but also in some longer time perspectives. This was a challenge that Jacob had, having served his father-in-law, Laban, for 20 years. There was a lot of stability & safety for Jacob as he worked for Laban, with of course some hotspots to navigate (deception, wage changes, etc). But there was a time for Jacob to move his family away from Laban & back to his homeland, but not without some tricky conversations & exchanges. It seems to me that absolutely there was uncertainty & instability in Jacob’s family in this season. 
So how do we walk in seasons of uncertainty? Here are a few suggestions:

  • pray a lot
  • determine to get better at trusting God (Prov 22:19)
  • keep your focus on God & not only the circumstances or people
  • keep moving – don’t get quagmired in fear, analysis or distractions 

Of all things, be sure to stay in step, on pace, with the Holy Spirit!! 

  

be prepared :)

I’m laughing as I write this blog because I might possibly be the least prepared person you’ll ever meet.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found some definite disadvantages to the “leap before you look” approach, having gotten myself into all sorts of challenging situations, especially when you consider all of the variables that can go with any kind of international travel.  With all that being said, I’m becoming an ever increasing advocate of being prepared & this also applies to the area of my connection with God.

In my experience, I know that God is altogether gracious with me & far exceeds any of my best efforts & I’m crazy grateful for God’s grace to me everyday!  While I totally appreciate God’s grace, I’ve also come to the conclusion that my relationship with God seems to have more depth, gravity and fullness when I maintain a few preparation things:

  • go to bed early so I can get up early & spend time with God
  • talk with God throughout the day – more inclusion & less exclusion / isolation
  • understand that God’s connection with me spans the entire spectrum of uber shallow to depths of which I have yet to explore
  • fresh forgiveness – super important to keep a clean heart
  • unified prioritites:  seeing all of the various responsibilities that I have within the context of God using them to improve & enhance my relationship with God 🙂
  • have a prepared mindset that God can do any thing at any time 🙂

planning

I have lots of people in my life who are great at planning.  They know dates, expectations, schedules and how things are supposed to happen.  They educate themselves, assemble the resources that will be used and do all kinds of preparation, thinking and planning.  I’m really grateful for these people because these kinds of things can be kind of tricky for me.  For example, I’m grateful that my husband frequently asks me when I make international with Saving Moses trips if I have cash with me for traveling because I can forget important things for concentrating on not forgetting my coffee supplies ,)

Here’s my saving grace, it’s been my experience that The Holy Spirit, Whom I call The Helper, is my Great Planner – seems to go along with how God organized & planned the world in Gen 1.  This gives me great confidence that God is planning my life and Helping me along each step of the way – and for you as well!! 😀

 

wisdom from my husband

 My husband & I are somewhat different.  While we agree upon our goals & values, we don’t always see things in the same way, nor do we always take the same path to our goals.  Early in our marriage, when he was still an engineer, we were talking about my efforts to hang wallpaper (which were “sketchy”).  He was unhappy about how my wallpaper project had turned out because the pattern was slanted rather than perpendicular as it should have been.  He began to ask my about the process I went through to hang the wallpaper & what I had done to properly prepare for a successful project.  He gave me this quote, “Proper prior planning prevents poor performance.”  I didn’t really care for the the cliche approach & it took me awhile to think through what he was trying to say – even though I didn’t like to admit it, I knew that he was right.  This lesson is still being worked through my life even after almost 20 years of marriage.

What is even more breathtaking to me is when I consider that God is the Master Designer & Planner.  God is working in our lives to prepare & refine us, growing & challenging us not only for today’s necessities but also for tomorrow’s successes 🙂

More thoughts about Cambodia

We are finishing our time in Cambodia & this has been a really amazing trip. It is absolutely fantastic to watch God’s hands move, organize, facilitate & connect. I’ve met some very incredible people, being used by God in many different, life-changing ways. I have to say that whenever I leave this country, I’m always captivated by the people here – such grace, poise, warmth, care & love.
In relation to saving Moses, it looks like we have some really good relationships with whom we can move forward over the course of the next few months to begin implementing the plans for nightcare. I’m leaving here feeling very encouraged about the future of nightcare w saving Moses in Cambodia. I’ll keep you posted on our progress here as I anticipate to seeing nightcare getting launched possibly by the end of this year 🙂
God takes the definition of “good” and puts His “infinite & extreme” stamp on the human expression of “good”.
I’m awestruck.

preparation

As I’m writing, my kids are getting ready for their swim lessons today:  swim suits, goggles, flip flops, towels, sun screen etc.  Reece always says, “proper prior planning prevents poor performance.”  This is extremely true for swim lessons.  When I don’t prepare well, they get sunburns, have stingy eyes and ride home grumpy – an all around bad experience that could have been good, if I had prepared better. 

This is a great lesson in life – preparing for what’s ahead.  Now my kids don’t always know what’s going to be happening & its my responsibility as their mom to do my best to make sure they’re ready for what’s around the bend.  They need to be adept at various skills before they can move onto to the next challenge (even if they don’t know what the challenge is).  Same with God.  I think He’s always preparing us for what’s next.  Thankfully, we can trust Him even more than ourselves, that He will keep us prepared for what’s coming – even swim lessons.  😉