But I Planned It!

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I LOVE planning. If “planaholic” was a real “aholic”, my picture would be in the medical books! I have planning lists, notebooks, apps, dreams, discussions, and the list could go on. My family and I just finished a vacation that we have had planned for over 3 years and I was planning the next vacation before it was even done. I bug my poor extended family about what we are going to eat or do for holidays several months out, just so I can plan some more. I just really love planning!

Not only do I love planning fun things, I pretty much had my life planned out from the time I was 5 years old (or so I thought). I always enjoy looking back each year on my life and seeing how it compares to my childhood dreams. Of course, it’s VERY different, but a good different! God has really blessed me. When my plans have been changed before it really hasn’t phased me because I could see God had a much better plan for my life! But recently I have had a few un-planned life changes that have thrown me for a loop. These changes have made me frantically think, “Wait a minute! I had different plans! This was a GOOD thing that I have had planned for years and I NEED it to happen!” But, God said no. Through prayers, tears and disappointment I’ve had to reevaluate my heart when it comes to my planning. Am I holding onto my idea of what my life should be so strongly that when God says “no”, I think my way is better? Did I leave room for God to help me make decisions in my planning? When is it ok or not ok to plan?

“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—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. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15) This one passage sums up what I needed to remember when I make my plans:

1. I have NO idea what tomorrow holds (vs. 13, 14).
I’m like a “mist” that is only here for a little while. I can plan and plan, but in the end, I don’t control of what happens tomorrow. One day can change a lifetime of plans. I should be flexible for the changes in my life. I must be mentally tough enough to understand that my life will not always play out the way I plan, and that’s ok. God is in control and the biggest thing we need to plan for is the end of our lives and getting to heaven!

2. I MUST add “IF the LORD wills” into my plans (vs.15).
What right do I have to think I can plan my life ignoring His will? He’s the all-knowing, eternal, and powerful God that I have given my life to. If He says “no”, then it’s ok. Even with the seemingly “good” things I have had planned, God might have a different “good” thing planned for me. I would be foolish to think that I know better than Him. He knows best! If God says “no”, I might get sad, cry, be confused, but I must move on, with a heart that completely trusts in God’s will for me. Life is too short to live with the “what could have been?” mindset. I can’t see the big picture like God. Trust God’s perfect will.

3. Its ok to plan (vs. 15).
If I didn’t plan I would be an unorganized, unprepared and confused person. I need to plan to live godly, flee from sin, be a good mom and wife, have the right attitude, study, and do the work God has prepared for me. So yes, I can plan. But I also need to pray “Lord, if this is not your will, let it not happen AND let me be ok with that.” Disappointment and sadness will follow if we leave God out.

So, I’ll keep on planning. I’ll keep on dreaming of the future. BUT, I’ll be working on my heart to find peace with God’s perfect plan for my life! I’ll leave room for His amazing will in my life. Even if I think I have it all “planned” out, I will try to remember that maybe God has a different plan. This takes some pressure off of me to plan out my life perfectly and makes me lean on my perfect God!

Alicia Bookout
About Alicia Bookout 19 Articles
Alicia and her husband Garrett currently serve at the Northwest congregation in Lawton, OK. They have two children: Emma and Wesley.

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