Friday, February 19, 2016

do you have a 5-year plan?

If I step back and take a look at the majority of struggles in my life, they all seem to have a common cause: I want to be in control of my life.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy spontaneity. I'm all for taking a trip at the drop of a hat; I rarely order the same thing off a menu twice; I'll try just about any adventure you can dream up. But being spontaneous from time to time doesn't change the fact that I've had a 5-year plan from the time I was 5 years old. I always want to know all the answers. I didn't want to start Kindergarten at Green Forest because we had just moved from Bentonville and I didn't know my new address--I didn't know the answers.

Wanting to know the answers isn't a bad trait in and of itself. After all, that is what led to my studies in physics. It's also what pushed me to dive deeper into my faith, to know what was underneath all the "Sunday School Answers."

But the thing is, I want all the answers--and in advance, thank-you-very-much.  I want to know exactly what's in store, because I want to be able to make--and stick to--my 5, 10, even 20 year plan.

The trouble is, that's not how life works (much to my vexation, to be honest). We don't always get to know all the answers. We don't get to see what's down the road. Often, we don't even really know what road we're on. If you're anything like me, when you don't know where the road is leading you start asking questions. You start thinking that maybe God isn't leading you...
that maybe He's not paying attention to you...
that your plan is better than His.

I've been having some of those thoughts lately. I've been unsure of the road I'm on, because it isn't where I pictured myself. I have big dreams, and they all seem to be fading before they even have a chance to shine. I have my plans, and they just don't seem to be working out.

Twice today, though, I was given these verses:

People go about making their plans, but the Eternal has the final word.
Even when you think you have good intentions, He knows your real motives.
Whatever you do, do it as service to Him, and He will guarantee your success.
~Proverbs 16:1-3 VOICE

And just in case it didn't sink in from those first few verses, it goes on to say,

Better to have little and stand for what is right
than to become rich by doing what is wrong.
People do their best making plans for their lives,
but the Eternal guides each step.
~verses 8&9

I get so hung up on wanting to know what's next, wanting to see the road clearly mapped out before me. I forget that sometimes, I simply don't get to know what's coming next. I can make all the plans I want, but God is the One who determines the road I'm on. I don't need to see what's up ahead; I don't even need to see my next step. Instead, I just need to focus on making the most of where He has me now and what I can do for Him right where I am. I need to focus on the stand I am making for Him, and I need to make sure that everything I am doing now is for His purpose.

When I'm supposed to take the next step, He'll let me know.

For more on following God when you can't see the path,
check out my devotional on Amazon or CreateSpace

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Thoughts? I would love to hear them!
~Mandy