Updated: May 5
This post ties in nicely with one of my previous articles. You may view it here: https://www.thebiblegirl.com/post/closed-doors
Recently, I've been hard at work doing what I do best- making my own future plans. Is this a talent you have as well? Do you also have the ability to decide exactly what you want in your life and how to "make" it happen? I'm very good at it. I pick what career I want, how much money I should make, and even what hobbies my future children will excel at. I could sit around all day coming up with marvelous hypothetical situations for my life.
I'm really good at making plans, but I'm terrible at accepting that they don't always come to fruition.
Actually, many of my personal goals and agendas rarely go according to my plans... and I'm really bad at handling the disappointment. It is in those low moments that my husband gently reminds me that the world isn't actually ending and I'm not really a failure just because I was unable to pre-destine myself to greatness. I am thankful for his reality checks. In this season of my life, I believe that God is teaching me how to stop being a control freak with my destiny.
I often put God in a box. I tell Him what I want and how I want it to be. I write out very detailed plans for him in my head, and I include the necessary signs and wonders he can use to verify with me that he's on the right track with carrying out my preferences. Ugh, I'm cringing just admitting this... but it is definitely something I do. I spend so much time trying to organize and outline God's work for Him that I forget that God is an out-of-the-box type of being. He has zero need for my plans because he has already orchestrated something better.
I have to laugh at how silly I probably look trying to come up with God's plans for Him. It is like an athlete trying to tell a coach how to train him or a student trying to tell a professor how to solve equations he knows nothing about. My point is, there is nothing I can come up with that will out-do or improve upon what God is already doing in my life.
I spent a lot of my life justifying my own plans by claiming the Bible verses found in Psalms 37 which discuss "the desires of your heart":
Psalms 37:3-4 Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
I put an awful lot of focus on the last part of those verses, but I sort of forgot the first part existed... you know the whole trusting God thing. Apparently I decided that instead of trusting God first, I would trust Him later. I would tell God the desires of my heart and then trust Him to fulfill them. I think sometimes without intending to, people actually advised me to do this. I was told to simply, "tell God the desires of my heart" and voila! Instant gratification! This sounds nice, but it isn't what my experience with God has actually been.
I am learning, that I very well may never know God's plans for me until they are happening. This means that all my planning, forethought, and brainstorming is kind of a waste of time. I'm not advocating that we have no goals or interests in life- rather I am saying that our goals and interests should be things that help us build our faith and trust in God.
Someone asked me recently what my dream job was. In the past, I would be quick to elaborately describe such a thing. This time, I had to admit I wasn't sure. I have what I think might be a good career path for me, but I do not know yet if it is what God is leading me to. I am letting go of the desires of my heart because I haven't even gotten through the trusting God part yet.
This new attitude has forced me to live each day one moment at a time. It has also opened my eyes to all the endless possibilities. This has been incredibly freeing. I don't have to be bitter when things don't go my way, because I can simply accept that they weren't God's way. As long as I keep my eyes fixed on God and what he says in his Word, my steps cannot fail. Every person I meet, place I go, or project I find myself involved with is a chance to carry out what God wants to see take place in my life. I am working very hard to truly live for God one day at a time, only focusing on this present moment instead of writing a novel about what tomorrow may hold.
A wonderful passage on this idea of living in the moment is found in Ecclesiastes 9. I thought the Contemporary Eglish Version gave it an interesting perspective:
I thought about these things. Then I understood that God has power over everyone, even those of us who are wise and live right. Anything can happen to any of us, and so we never know if life will be good or bad. But exactly the same thing will finally happen to all of us, whether we live right and respect God or sin and don’t respect God. Yes, the same thing will happen if we offer sacrifices to God or if we don’t, if we keep our promises or break them.
It’s terribly unfair for the same thing to happen to each of us. We are mean and foolish while we live, and then we die. As long as we are alive, we still have hope, just as a live dog is better off than a dead lion. We know that we will die, but the dead don’t know a thing. Nothing good will happen to them—they are gone and forgotten. Their loves, their hates, and their jealous feelings have all disappeared with them. They will never again take part in anything that happens on this earth.
Be happy and enjoy eating and drinking! God decided long ago that this is what you should do. Dress up, comb your hair, and look your best. Life is short, and you love your wife, so enjoy being with her. This is what you are supposed to do as you struggle through life on this earth. Work hard at whatever you do. You will soon go to the world of the dead, where no one works or thinks or reasons or knows anything.
Here is something else I have learned:
The fastest runners and the greatest heroes don’t always win races and battles. Wisdom, intelligence, and skill don’t always make you healthy, rich, or popular. We each have our share of bad luck.
None of us know when we might fall victim to a sudden disaster and find ourselves like fish in a net or birds in a trap.
Once I saw what people really think of wisdom. It happened when a powerful ruler surrounded and attacked a small city where only a few people lived. The enemy army was getting ready to break through the city walls. But the city was saved by the wisdom of a poor person who was soon forgotten. So I decided that wisdom is better than strength. Yet if you are poor, no one pays any attention to you, no matter how smart you are.
Words of wisdom spoken softly make much more sense then the shouts of a ruler to a crowd of fools. Wisdom is more powerful than weapons, yet one mistake can destroy all the good you have done.