I like plans, but I’m not very organized. So operating in a corporate environment using a workflow chart was difficult to wrap my brain around at first. I didn’t get the concept of connecting geometric shapes with squiggly lines to symbolize processes at first. It just seemed like a lot of extra work to write down a process when it was easier to remember what came next.
When you have simple processes, that’s true. But in many corporate environments, a work process can involve dozens and maybe hundreds of people and multiple departments. With a process that complicated, you need to have a standard to refer to in the moments when a project gets crazy. You need to have a road map to look at so that you can get back on track.
If you think about it, nothing is more complicated than life. So why do we attempt to get through life without some sort of plan? How do we expect to keep ourselves on track and on target without a map to refer to when we get lost?
The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the Lord holds them by the hand.
God doesn’t give us the whole plan for our lives all at once. Honestly, He rarely shares the entire plan with us in our lifetime. But one thing God will always provide for us is the next step.
Following Christ isn’t a chaotic mess of disorder and strife. Sure, we all have struggles, and we all have varying amounts of stress to deal with at times. But if your life is chaotic, something is wrong. God doesn’t work in chaos. That’s our enemy’s specialty. God is always clear about what He wants. It’s our hearing that’s often plugged up, and it’s usually plugged up by our own voices.
You can get as spiritual and theological about God’s will as you want, but what it comes down to in the end is doing what God says is right one step at a time. God’s will is too big and too much for us to comprehend, because it encompasses the length and breadth and depth and width of our entire lives and even aspects of our legacies. I don’t know about you, but my puny human brain couldn’t take all of that in. So I’m glad God doesn’t tell me. I think it would scare me to death.
God has a plan, but He’s only going to tell us the parts we need to know when we need to know them. That’s His right. And if we think we deserve more than that, well, we should remember whose plan it is and whose story we’re living in. So when God gives us a piece of the plan, we need to act on it right away.
Example? The first step is to trust Jesus. That’s what God wants for all of us. He wants us to make the call to follow Jesus, to trust in Christ’s sacrifice alone for our salvation. That’s the first step, and until you take that step, nothing in life will make sense. And after you take that step, well, life still won’t make much sense, but you’ll be able to see God working.
After that, the next step is to actually start following Christ. You do the things He did. Like baptism, an outward expression of an inward change. You live like He lived–loving God and loving people. Following Christ will take the rest of your life, and it will look different for different people. And, frankly, God isn’t always specific about what He expects. We’re to “do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly” with God, yes, but those three things can take a variety of shapes and sizes in our lives.
So what next? That’s the question many of us face. We’ve chosen to believe in Jesus. We’ve committed to following Jesus. But what does that mean?
Honestly, you just have to get to know God better, and He’ll tell you. He’ll show you. He always does. He’ll reveal in your heart the path that you should take. He’ll open the doors for you. He’ll muddy up the roads you should avoid and straighten the roads you should walk. You won’t be able to get away from it.
So don’t worry about what’s next. Trust that God knows where you’ll end up, even if you can’t see where you’re walking. Focus on growing closer to God. Spend your time talking to Him, reading about Him, learning about Him, and He’ll show you what comes next.
What comes next is the easy part. God already has that worked out. The hard part is actually doing it.