Steps in the jungle at Tikal, Peten, Guatemala

Don’t be afraid to change your plans

I had a plan when I was a senior in high school. I would graduate from Pensacola Christian College in four years with a degree in commercial writing, but I probably wouldn’t get a full-time job after graduation because I was probably going to get married and start a family. Well, my plan didn’t work.

I made it a year at Pensacola Christian College and came home (thank God) and finished my writing degree at Wichita State University instead. And I’ve been working full time since 2005 (sign language interpreter, librarian, writer) and I still haven’t even been on a date, which is normally a prerequisite when you intend to get married. None of these things were in my plan, but looking back now, I wouldn’t change any of it.

Steps in the jungle at Tikal, Peten, Guatemala

Steps in the jungle at Tikal, Peten, Guatemala

Today’s verse is Proverbs 19:21.

You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.

People get attached to the plans they’ve made. I’m not really sure why, but it happens to me too. When I was young I used to get so upset when our plans would change at the last minute. Maybe it’s because I’m a creature of habit. I don’t know.

But what I’ve learned over the years is that even though you make plans, you can’t be afraid to change them. Why? Well, God has a better plan than you do. And even if your plan is good, His is best. He won’t force you to change your plans, but you’ll sure be better off if you do.

I could have forced my plan. I could have gone back to PCC for the rest of my education. I didn’t have to leave. No one forced me to leave. (Oh, but I’m glad I did.) I didn’t have to go to WSU. I could have opted for an associate degree at a junior college and lived at home. And that way maybe I could have pursued a relationship. I could be married now. Most of my friends my age are married. Most of my friends younger than me are married. And many of them have kids–more than one kid. Some have armies.

But when I consider all that God has given me because I changed my plans to suit His, I wouldn’t go back for anything. I had many plans for my life, but God had a purpose for me that I didn’t know about. And if I had pushed my own plans, it would have been a lot more difficult to reach the purpose God had in store.

So what’s the point of getting upset when we change our plans? Why are we afraid of it? Most of the time, if you’re changing your plan for a reason God has indicated, the new plan will be better than the old one in the end anyway.

I think the fear comes from the unknown. Once you sit down and plan something, you have the illusion that you’re in control of your plans, but that’s not true. Even if you push your own plan, you’re not in control of it. Life can still spiral out of control at a moment’s notice whether you’re following your plan or God’s plan. The upside of following God’s plan when everything falls apart is that you can trust all the bad stuff is part of the plan. If you’re following your plan and everything falls apart, you won’t know what to do and you aren’t big enough to fix it.

Being steady and consistent are important. If you promise to do something, you ought to do it. I’m not saying that if you’ve planned to do something you should back out of it because it pushes you out of your comfort zone. That’s not the point at all.

But if you’ve planned to do something and God obviously shows you that He wants you to do something else? Don’t dawdle. Change your plans to suit His. And don’t be afraid of it.

Him asking you to change your plans could be for a reason as simple as avoiding an unforeseen catastrophe on the road you were driving on. Or it could mean you end up the president of a company instead of peon in a cubicle. Whatever plans He asks you to change, you just have to trust that He knows better and that His plans are better. After all, He can see the big picture, when we’re stuck with just a few pixels.