If there’s one thing that I always like to have, it’d be to always have a plan. Ever since I was in eighth grade, I’ve known what God is calling me to do with my life. I like to know what I’m going to be doing, why I’m doing it, and have a plan as to how I will do it. If you were to ask me right now, I could lay out for you my idea of where my college years and beyond will take me, because that’s who I am—a planner.
Earlier today I engaged in a conversation about the future. I got all excited talking about different possibilities, thinking of my “five year plan,” and dreaming of places to go and things to do. But in that moment I had to stop myself. While I am beyond excited to serve in Thailand this summer, possibly study abroad in Israel next year, and do many other things that are on my bucket list, I was reminded of the importance of today.
Maybe you’ve heard the quote, “Today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.” I needed to be reminded of this as I thought and wished time away in my mind. I know that I’m currently living in one of the best places I’ve ever been, both spiritually and physically. There’s no place as satisfying as being in the center of God’s will. Being here at Moody and being surrounded by the people and culture that I am has grown me so much in my walk with God and in my relationships with others. Simply thinking back on the past six months and seeing where God has brought me and is continuing to take me is crazy.
But even though I am a planner, God has also shown me the brevity of my plans compared to His. Never would I have thought that in less than five short months I would be going to Thailand to share the Gospel with Buddhists and join the effort to end sex-trafficking. But yet that’s where God’s plan is taking me.
One of the major themes of my life that has surfaced over and over again is control. Most people like to be in control, at least of their own life. And this is primarily because of the culture in which we live. Our media tells us all around, “You are the creator of your own destiny!” Or maybe you’ve heard the renowned saying, “Follow your heart and you’ll never go wrong.” While I know most people say these things with good intentions, we need to realize what the Bible says about this and take it seriously.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9 ESV).
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 NKJV).
God has continued to show me over the years that my plans always fall flat before the amazing plans that God has. Time and time again God has caused me to see my pride in trying to take control of my life and has humbled me. But every time I release my plans to God I know that His plans will turn out far greater than mine ever could.
And while I am a person with a five year plan and dreams, I rest assured in God’s plans, not my own. Each morning that we wake up is a new gift from God. Who are we to boast about the future? James spoke of this in his letter to some of the first Christians, “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14). Tomorrow is never a guarantee. What are we doing today to make a difference in the people around us?
I recently read a book by Claude Hickman’s entitled Live Life on Purpose. There’s one main thought in the book that I have been pondering and seeking to apply: God does not always give us a map. But He will always give us a compass and will point us in the right direction if we surrender to Him. The more we follow Him, the more of His plan He reveals to us. (Hickman 29-37)
The more I’ve thought about this, the more God has revealed areas that I haven’t given Him control and still cling to with my self-centered plans. By myself I can’t create my own destiny and I know my heart won’t lead me to true happiness. But thanks be to God that I know the one who does and who holds eternal joy in His hands. Have you surrendered your plans, dreams, and ultimately life to God’s control? True joy comes from surrender to God and obedience to His Word and His plan in your life.
Hickman, Claude. Live Life on Purpose: God’s Purpose, Your Life, One Journey. Eunumclaw, WA: WinePress Pub., 2005. Print.