I am a planner.
If you want to spend time with me, you most likely need to ask a week in advance. Even if I don’t have a scheduled appointment one day, I most likely have already worked out in my head exactly how I want to spend that “free” slot of time.
I need goals and measurable ideas of “success” to motivate me. I want to know what is expected so that I can plan out my time. If I am in the middle of a project I don’t like, the best way for me to get through is to know where the finish line is – whether it is an amount of time or a list of things to get accomplished.
“…you do not know what tomorrow will bring… Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord will, we will live and do this or that.” -James 4.14a, 15
“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” -Proverbs 27.1
I have a problem with this. I like to think that I know what tomorrow will look like. I mean, I planned it out a week ago! I have thought through all possible scenarios, and there is no way anything unexpected will change the plan because there is nothing unexpected.
This gets even harder when it comes to big life plans. Senior year of college, I was 100% sure my step after graduation was to raise support and intern with a parachurch ministry on the UA campus. I had prayed about it, I had received confirmation from others, I had spent hours working on the application, and I was accepted. You would think that all of that added up to the Lord making a way for that plan.
You would think.
A month and a half before graduation, there was a 180 degree turn in my plans. Not of my doing. Only of God’s. And while I know that His plan is ultimately best, it did not feel that way at the time – even now, I am not sure I fully understand.
Sometimes I hate that He can play a trump card like that.
“God hath wisely left us in the dark concerning future events. We are taught to keep up a constance sense of our dependence on the will of God. We must remember that our times are not in our own hands, but at the disposal of God, and therefore must be submissive to him.” – Matthew Henry
I don’t want to submit to His will. I want to have a plan, and I want to stick with it. When carefully planned events change at the last minute, I get stressed out. I get frustrated. Because I put so much preparation into something, I feel like I deserve for it to work out.
I guess, in the kingdom of God, we don’t get what we deserve. In this broken world, I shouldn’t expect anything different.
As Eric and I talk through and pray about possible next steps for us, I start to get scared that God will change our plans. My confidence is shaky, so I do my best to ignore the fact that God still has the possibility to change our plans.
“But on taking leave of them [Paul] said, ‘I will return to you if God wills,’ and he set sail from Ephesus.” -Romans 18.21
How did Paul get to this point? How do you develop an attitude of approaching each situation with the realization that God could very well have other things in mind, despite any confidence you currently possess? How do you live your life in an attitude of submission, being willing to allow God to have the upper hand in the course of your life?
If you have an easy way to get there, let me know.
Right now, the only thing I know to do is to move forward until I run into a wall and I have to change direction.
If God wills it, Eric and I will get to pursue a seminary education, and we will get to start within the next year.
I used to say that I was writing my life in pencil to help me view it as temporal and easily changed. I have been starting to reach for a pen. This is something I want to put down in thick, permanent ink. But I guess there’s always white-out for that.
Deo Volente. God willing.