When it comes to planning, most people are one of three things: a short term planner, a long term planner, or not a planner at all.
Short term planners try to orchestrate every single detail every day, planning out specific times and places they’re supposed to be and things they’re supposed to be doing. They have a schedule. I’m guilty of trying to plan out my day and my pursuits absolutely perfect. But when they don’t work out, I freak out. I worry about my plans and every possible outcome.
Long term planners try to have the rest of their life planned out, very specifically much like short term planners. At a certain age they want to be married to this person with these qualities, and then by this age they want to have this job, live in this place, and make this amount of money, etc.
And then there are people who don’t plan, who enjoy going with the flow. This can be either good or bad. I’m not saying you shouldn’t plan, to an extent it can be beneficial. But it shouldn’t be all you depend on. Both short term planning and long term planning can be harmful to your relationship with God when done obsessively, because when things don’t go as planned, it’s God you put the blame on.
But what if it wasn’t God’s plan for you in the first place?
Take a look at Proverbs 16:9 ESV: “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Is it your heart that’s planning the way, or is it God’s? There is a difference between knowing God’s will for you and trying to seek approval for what your earthly desires are. When you know God’s will for you, it is something you have prayed about and a decision that you have made with God’s help. No one else can tell what God’s plan is for you – that’s between you and God.
When it’s just your plan, it’s something that makes you feel good temporarily, and you’re just trying to convince yourself and God that this is the right way. But when we go into a plan like this, blindly and ignoring God, we can suffer the consequences later. God doesn’t want you to jump into the wrong relationship or job or life path just because it seemed okay at the time.
There are many problems with planning your life and not letting God lead the way. You don’t want to jump into the wrong thing, thinking wrongly that it’s God’s plan for you. You can often convince yourself that this is God’s plan without actually consulting God. You can try to hurry up a certain thing, thinking that if you got a certain thing or achievement right now, it would change your life completely. But God looks at your life in the scope of eternity, not in the mere years you have here on earth. We can’t fathom that kind of perspective on life. A good example of this is Sarah in the Bible. She finally got a child when she was 90 years old. It wasn’t what she expected, but God kept his promises and blessed her, even though it wasn’t at the time she originally wanted.
Many people will say to this: what about the times when life falls apart? When everything goes wrong? When things don’t go well? Life is full of heartbreak, loss, setbacks, mistakes…how can God be a part of this? How can His plan include these terrible things?
The best example of this is the way God blesses people immediately after a setback. People who go through something devastating, like a divorce or job loss, and God comes right back with an even bigger blessing…a new relationship, a new job. How can you not look at that and see God’s plan? It’s so evident; He answers our needs, maybe not exactly when we want them, but in His time, He does.
There are obviously many benefits to God’s plan, but there are some that we often overlook. For example, God’s gift surpass anyone or anything that we could ever find or attain. We seek out something to fill the void in our heart…a relationship, money, a job…but God is the only one who can make us feel whole and fulfilled.
God will fill in the gaps, He will pick up the pieces and put them back together. Just when you think something might be missing, He will be there to save the day.
And if things aren’t going according to your earthly time schedule, count yourself blessed. Waiting with God for the right thing is so much better than being outside of His will. Living a life that is not God’s plan for you but gives you temporary happiness will never live up to a life according to God’s plan. This may include all the heartbreak, loss, and struggles, but knowing that God has planned that for your life gives us ultimate peace.
Plus, God has been in control of your life since long before you were born (Jeremiah 1:5). He has perfectly planned your life, including the bad parts, shaping you to be the person you are today. He also worked in saving you, by sending His Son to die for you on the cross to forgive you for everything you’ve ever done and everything you’ll ever do. Who else would you want planning your life?
He is willing to help you make decisions. For the times when you think, “Wow, I’m really not smart enough to be making this big of a decision on my own” (how I feel about a college decision!), rest in peace knowing that God is wiser than you will ever be. That gives me ultimate comfort.
God is not afraid to be active in the little things in your life. Seeing your daily plans change only to bring you a greater blessing is a good example of this. God is powerful enough to create a universe, yet He finds the time to be active in our smallest endeavors.
When you feel like you aren’t getting the gifts out of life that you expected, whether it be now or in the future, whether it be a steady job, friendships, etc., simply having God as the one you trust is an enormous gift. Here are some gifts that God is giving you now and will give you for eternity:
He is always pursuing you.
He is always listening.
He is always showing you love.
He always has plans for you.
He always accepts you.
He always has your best interest in mind.
He always provides for you.
He always loves you and forgives you.