I am going to be honest and admit this is an area I am not good at…. at all. I like to know all the details of every plan and situation, even have back-up plans well thought out in case the first fails. However, there are a few problems with this type of planning. I am not saying it is bad to be planned and prepared, that is a good thing and there is much wisdom in it. The problems that I am talking about occur when you are holding on so tight to your plans and their ability to work out that you miss allowing God to be involved.
“The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
The true reality of planning is that no matter how well organized we are or how well thought out a plan is, we are in desperate need of our Savior in every part of it. Even in the simplest day-to-day plans. So something I want to get better at is praying about, in, and through every plan, I make, asking God to establish my steps in all of it; even down to the simple things like planning your day’s schedule.
You know I am sure others may have different opinions on this and think my thinking here is a little too intense, and that’s okay but this is what I am learning. But how cool would it be if we woke up every morning and surrendered everything to Christ before we began the day? Even the little things like what we should eat for breakfast. Like if we woke up and immediately said: “Okay God this is your day. What do you have planned for me today? This is what I thought I would do today… Are you in this? Be my guide and establish all my steps. I surrender all to you.” Then walk in and continue to walk in step with his leading. Wow, I wish I could say that doing the above was my daily prayer… sometimes it is… but not every day. I hope one day I can say with confidence that I am good at surrendering like that, but I am still in the learning process.
I share this all because recently I have been in a place where many unforeseen circumstances and random things that I cannot control completely or almost completely derail my plan. In each of these trials I have had to do a few things:
- Stop freaking out that things did not work and admit that doing things on my own strength does not often work out.
- Surrender all and ask God to intervene.
- Reach out to the body of Christ for help.
- And remember that God’s plans are actually gonna be better.
- Ask God what he has for me to learn.
Here is a story of one of my almost derailed plans….
I recently made a trip back to the states to visit my family, though getting here was a real event as I almost missed one of my flights. I had my trip planned out pretty well, with the exception of having a pretty short layover in NYC. I knew I would have time to make the connection as long as everything went according to plan…. But that was not the case, and God took the opportunity to teach me that I needed to surrender my ability and rely on him alone.
Once the plane landed I booked it off knowing I had 45 minutes to grab my bags, recheck them, get through immigration and security, then on the next plane. With no line at immigration, a short walk followed to baggage claim. I thought to myself I think I’m going to make it, the lines were so short. Then 5 minutes passed waiting for my bag, after that 10 minutes, at about 15 minutes waiting I began to panic for real. I texted some of the amazing other staff members amidst this tumultuous state of mind, and I was blessed to see how God really gifts us differently to make us strong together. As I was in this panic mode one staff member was encouraging me to just wait a little longer for my bags and not ditch them and texted the rest of the group to stop and pray. She also then jumped on the computer and was mapping out the big NYC airport and was giving me each and every next turn I would need to make it through to my next gate. Another staff member was encouraging me that God is in control and had a better plan and that I just needed to stop freaking and start surrendering.
Long story short I continued to panic till in a long security line I came to my senses and stopped and surrendered knowing God alone could get me to my next flight. Once I did that… the line started moving. God established my steps… once I let him into my plan. I did have to run to my gate and think I was the last on the plane, but God made a way and taught me a very important lesson….. Three actually:
- God’s plans are better.
- Instead of freaking out, start surrendering.
- Don’t do things on your strength. God is there for a reason and he has gifted the body in different ways to help each other out.