It’s a rare occassion when I’m waiting for an appointment or for a reply from someone because I’m usually late, ill-prepared, running behind or I’ve just plain forgotten something on my schedule. So when it happens that I’m on time & fully prepared, waiting for an appointment or a person, it feels weird.
Which makes me wonder about God’s plans and daily participation in my life. I appreciate that we are each uniquely made, so some of you reading this don’t relate to such disorganization & others of you feel simpatico with me. And thinking about God structuring our days, organizing our schedule and quilting together times, people and experiencing, can be a really helpful mindset. Indeed, when I try to run my life & plan my days, things get messy. So I’m grateful that God organizes each day for knowing God better!
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
Yesterday, the transmission in our rental van broke causing us to adjust our plans for an entire day of our family vacation. My husband was a major champion working with the rental company to get a replacement van & this was no small task. In the meantime, the kids took some time to relax, do a bit of school reading & we caught a movie at the local theatre. For me, I had the immense pleasure of catching up with a friend from high school. We talking deeply about the Bible & God’s work in our lives.
If we give our lives to Jesus, then it’s essential to hold loosely to our plans & goals, so that we can have some adventures that are led by the Holy Spirit & not just our human agendas & strategies. God’s surprises far exceed our best plans!
This is a picture from an incredible waterfall in Yellowstone, as well as a strolling bison 🙂
I changed my plans for today at the last minute. I was going to go snowboarding, but decided that there are more pressing needs at home than my snowboarding interests.
In 1Samuel 13, Saul changed his plans as well. He & Samuel made a plan to make a sacrifice together but he got scared & offered the sacrifice without Samuel. This was a major downfall for Saul & Samuel explained shortly after Saul’s fearful decision, that God had sought out a different leader for Israel, a man after His heart (1San 13:14).
Saul changed the plan he had made with Samuel because he was afraid of his enemy, the Philistines, & saw the Israelite’ support of his leadership rapidly eroding.
While I’m a massive advocate of flexible planning, I’m growing to appreciate the importance of keeping God’s goals as unchanging piers to anchor my soul, regardless of my environs, feelings or selfish preferences.
God’s goals always related to genuine love & connecting humanity to God’s heart in deep intimacy. Let’s be sure that we keep God’s plans more central to our choices rather than our selfish interests, including my snowboarding plans 🙂
My husband & I use different routes for driving our kids to their various activities. Normally, I think my way is better: faster, less traffic, etc. Today, I see that I’m wrong. The route he uses is far superior to my way & I could’ve learned this much sooner had I not been so obstinate.
This seems to ring true between the Holy Spirit & me as well. How many times have I stayed glued to my methods & plans only to learn the hard way that the Holy Spirit always has better ways than me. Let’s live in the reality of Isaiah 55:8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.
God’s ways are always the upgrade!!
What are you planning for your vacation this year? Are you going to do the regular stuff: pools, driving, sunburns, etc? Why not try something new?
Here’s a cool idea: come with me to Cambodia & make a vacation that you’ll never FORGET! I’m taking a small group with Saving Moses to help with our nightcare work in Phnom Penh. The cool stuff you’ll get to do includes:
experiencing a new & incredible culture,
meet babies & toddlers who will steal you heart,
do some cleaning, painting & renovating with our centers,
meet Jesus in the faces of desperate people
Let’s make your vacation this year something fresh, unique & possibly life changing!!
Just when we think we have everything planned & locked into place, God will often shake it up baby, causing us to twist & shout, sometimes in glee & sometimes with pout. It seems to me that human planning is the place God starts for divine upheaval. This makes me really appreciate when Isaiah says in 55:8, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.”
Let’s be mindful to keep a tighter grip on God more than our plans 🙂
Someone told me about a new tax plan – something about proportional taxation. Seems like an interesting idea & I can see that our economy has some challenges & we need to make some changes. From these 2 sentences, please don’t project that I’m advocating any political position, party or platform. Rather, my point is that we need to always be learning, growing & adapting – this is my 999 plan: to continue growing.
I want to always be growing, learning & maturing. Along this line, I want to always be growing in my relationship with God and truthfully, I never want to say “no” to God. I don’t want my intellect to be a limit to God. I don’t want my desires or will to be a hindrance to God moving in my life. I don’t want my past failures or successes to impede God’s presence in my current daily living. I don’t want my pride to cause a separation from God. I just don’t want to say “no” to God in any way or context. I don’t want to say no to God in my marriage, finances, relationships, with Saving Moses, my values, perspective, thinking, or in any area. Simply put, my 999 plan is this: Yes, God 🙂
Philip 2:13 says that God is working in us to will & do of His good pleasure. In light of the idea of working out our salvation with fear & trembling from verse 12, we could see God as our work out trainer – helping us have the desire & power to do what He wants (work out our salvation).
God is working in each of us. When Paul wrote this, he used the present tense & in Greek, this means an ongoing & continuous action. So God is working in you & me today, even at this moment, helping us to have the desire & abilities (resources, etc) to accomplish His will. If you get more specific, those times in your day when you feel like being kind, patient, friendly, generous, forgiving (see the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5) – these are God moments. He is working in you – be encouraged & offer Him some cooperation (I can’t say that word without thinking of Seasame Street).
Make today a God-watch day – watching for Him working in you His desires & abilities!