Author Robert Burns penned the now famous line, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” I can’t tell you how many times in my life the plans I made were detoured. I thought my plan was foolproof, only to find out it wasn’t life proof. Things happen that I don’t foresee and derail my goals and dreams. Often times, in disappointment and frustration, I give up on them and never return to complete them.
Sadly, this is the story for most of us. Life happens and takes away our happily ever after. We either think life has it out for us or God just doesn’t care. The truth is that often we try to build our own plans for our life and never include God’s plan for our life. When all of my plans came crashing down several years ago, I looked at my life and only saw a foundation left. I remember hearing God say, “Now that your plan failed, will you try it my way?”
I agreed that His way was best. I remembered the prophetic words spoken over me shortly after disaster took it all away. God said, “What looks like an ending is only a beginning. Where I am leading you, you will find more joy than you’ve ever known.” As I handed over the reigns of my future to God, I prayed, “God, I trust your future for my life over mine. Do what you want with my life and work out your plan for me.”
God has been faithful to do just that. Psalm 138:8 says, “The Lord will work out his plans for my life” (NLT). If your plan for your life has failed and you’re at what looks like an ending, I recommend handing over the reigns of your life to God. You can trust your future to Him. He will take what looks like an ending, and turn it into a new beginning. Pray that same prayer I did and watch God work on your behalf.
Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
I’m getting close to my next Haiti trip. This trip has been an emotional roller-coaster for me. When I initially planned it, I had close to 40 people wanting to go. I had something at work come up on the week that we had agreed to and I couldn’t get out of. When I switched the week, it was like all the momentum was lost. Almost everyone couldn’t make it on the new week. I barely got ten people who could go. Soon after the deadline, people started contacting me letting me know they couldn’t make it after all.
I decided I would cancel the trip even though I felt strongly we were supposed to go. I began to allow my feelings to dictate my actions instead of what I knew God had said. My expectations for the trip were not being met by a long shot. I started with 40 and ended up with three from that original group. Of the ten who had signed up, five had dropped out. Money for the trip came in slowly. Out of frustration I went to God and complained. He didn’t beat me down, but He did remind me that this is about Him and not me.
I’m the type of person who likes to have a plan and to work that plan. When the plan goes out the window, I try to make a new plan. When all my plans fail, I begin to question myself and God. Did I hear Him? Is He paying attention? Why do I feel like I’m alone in this? Did I have the wrong expectations? I don’t think it’s wrong to ask God the hard questions or to be honest with Him when things don’t go as planned. He sees our hearts and knows our thoughts. Why not be honest with Him? I think He appreciates that more than us pretending that we’re ok with how things are.
Each of us have our own expectations in life, in relationships, in work, in family, in plans we make and of God. If you’ve lived more than a day, you have found out that those things rarely live up to our expectations. Plans fail. Life changes. We get dealt what we think are bad hands. Just because things don’t happen according to our plans, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t happening according to His plans. We see a small piece of the puzzle at a time and think we know where and how it fits in the whole, but God is looking at the picture on the box. He sees your life from beginning to the end and knows exactly where each piece fits and why they fit where they do. His reality is greater than our expectations.
His reality for my trip is a group of people only He could fit together. His reality is that the people He chose have the right skill sets to accomplish what He wants us to accomplish on this trip and not what I wanted to accomplish. I can fight Him and continue to be disappointed because my expectations aren’t being met or I can let go of my expectations, embrace His reality and know that what He wants to do on this trip is greater than anything I could have imagined. God always leaves that choice up to us. We can choose to be bitter and resentful or we can choose to let our plans and expectations go in order to embrace His. What’s your choice?
By the way, He sent five more people and has created a team that I could have never imagined or put together. I can’t wait to share with you what God has planned for this group!