I don’t know when I started to realize that no matter how many and how often I made “plans” I made for my life, it would almost never go the way I envisioned it. When I look back, I can see how different things that happened in my life were dots that were going to connect me to another dot in a way that I hadn’t envisioned and never would’ve thought of.
The first place I can really remember it happening and changing the course of my “plans” was in high school. After two years of playing on the volleyball team (one of those years as varsity), I was unexpectedly cut altogether. I was devastated and had all my high school plans and dreams seemingly crushed.
But, that event led me to a new dot – going from running track in the spring to running track in the winter, too. Though I never really wanted to pursue track in college or try to make the Olympic team or anything like that, I ultimately had a much more successful career as a runner than I probably ever would’ve had as a volleyball player.
God knew what He was doing. Imagine that.
When I review my life thus far, I can now clearly see how things like that happened constantly, changing the course of my life and taking me in a new and better direction. Sometimes they were things I had no control over (like getting cut from a team), but often they were choices offered that I hadn’t considered, I ended up choosing, and that made all the difference.
Jerermiah 29:11 gets thrown around so much, it almost becomes trite. When I as young, I fully believed that there was a very specific “plan” laid out for me by the Lord. But, as I got older, I came to a better understanding that free will and the ability to choose works alongside the things that are in God’s control. I started to understand that God’s “plan” for us is ultimately just what He said to Jeremiah – for welfare, happiness, a life of hope. In short, His plan for us is for, well, HIM.
I often refer back to the old Woody Allen quote, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your future plans.” It’s not that every choice or idea or plan that I lay out is necessarily bad or wrong, but I am incapable of seeing the big picture. I don’t ultimately know what the outcome will be if I choose this instead of that. But, God does. It’s boggling to our little minds to try to comprehend the reality that God knows ALL. And, by all, I mean A.L.L. He knows what the results of our choices will be. He knows what He has planned that we have no control over and don’t see coming. He knows more that I can ever hope to know or understand.
“Can you discover the depths of God?
Can you discover the limits of the Almighty?
They are high as the heavens, what can you do?
Deeper than Sheol, what can you know?
Its measure is longer than the earth
And broader than the sea.” (Job 11:7-9)
American writer Joseph Campbell said, “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” It’s really hard to do that because our limited sight leads us to believe we know best. Our brokenness keeps us from knowing without a doubt that God’s love is constant and perfect and only trying to give us a life of joy.
This is not the life I had planned.
But, it’s better than anything I could’ve come up with and it’s far from over. Is it perfect all the time? Hells no. The twists and turns of life, the choices presented to me, the unexpected change of plans – there are still so many to come. I can either get frustrated and pouty because “this wasn’t the plan” or I can “Trust in the LORD with all [my] heart and do not lean on [my] own understanding” (Provb. 3:5).
It may not always be what I had planned, but I’ve got to believe that His plan will kick the butt of any plan I could come up with in my puny mind.