Not My Plan

The large, brown sofa and loveseat that dominate our living room are virtually impenetrable by stains, or so we were promised when we bought it five years ago and forked over the additional cost for the special stain-resistant treatment.  The salesman, who would later probably receive an award for his performance, persuaded me that it was only a matter of time before we would have an entire preschool class over to eat ravioli and finger-paint as they relaxed on our pristine, new couch.  Of course, as previously mentioned, the set is a deep, chocolate brown micro fiber, and no catastrophic, culinary event has ever transpired on its surface.  Still, a little nagging feeling convinced me that this would be a great investment, just in case . . .

My default mode is to plan.  And plan.  And plan again, just in case I missed something in my calculations.  You get the idea.  I try to anticipate problems before they have the opportunity to occur.  Maybe it’s the oldest child in me.  Or perhaps it is because I took a public relations class in college.  Quite possibly, it is the mom in me, always loading down my diaper bag/purse with any conceivable item my children may think that they need during our 15 minute outing—to the backyard.  It is a rare day when we forget someone’s sippy cup or backup paci.

My over-preparedness and constant planning would put an entire Boy Scout troop to shame.  However, it is also a symptom of a much deeper problem.  How can I “trust in the Lord with all [my] heart” and not “lean on [my] own understanding,” (Proverbs 3:5) if I am constantly writing backup plans in the back of my mind?  Does God need me to come up with a Plan B?  A better question:  Does God need a Plan B?  Of course not!  At best, this planning on my part is only a diversion from the real issues at hand.  At worst, it is an irritating distraction drawing my attention away from Jesus.  Wherever he leads, my focus must remain on him.

As our lives continue to be consumed with a “hurry up and wait” mentality, in the midst of a possible life-altering move I often find myself planning each moment’s best case scenario.  This summer I imagined packing up and leaving town before school began and my husband had an actual class to teach.  That would have also been the perfect time to rent our current home to students, since many would be searching for housing before classes began and before they signed a contract with campus housing.  But, his ways are not our ways, and vice versa.  Deep down, I have a feeling (and a fear) that he will work this out in a seemingly messy, completely un-Lindsay-like way.  I envision what it might be like to almost flee town, with little time to tie up loose ends.  Honestly, it scares me. 

But, it also reminds me of some of the unconventional ways God has worked throughout history.  I think of Gideon leading the Israelites to victory with nothing more than a mere three hundred men armed only with trumpets, torches, and jars.  But, it was God’s plan and that was enough, no matter how ludicrous it seemed.  Why, when God could have used traditional means, did he deliver them in such an odd way?  “In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her,” (Judges 7:2).  Ah, there’s the heart of the matter:  God gets the glory.  Not my plan, not the brilliant strategy that I so capably devised.  No, God, with his perfect perspective and his plan that has existed longer than time itself, has chosen not only the end, but also the means to accomplish it, and I will simply commit to follow his lead, giving him the glory all the way.

–Judges 7

2 thoughts on “Not My Plan

  1. Yes, but don’t allow this to consume you. It is through people like you, Lindsey, that I have learned the value of planning and forward thinking. There is room for it in our lives, and as you point out, it doesn’t have to become a (dis)trust issue, but simply a way to live wisely. Even Paul planned his journeys with the Holy Spirit at the helm of all his plans. You are a jewel in the dust, my sweet friend. I admire Christ’s work in you. Thank you for your refreshing transparency.

  2. Angela, I realize how it does sound like I’m saying I’ll never, ever plan again. Everyone can rest assurred that I’ll still be leaving the house with a fully loaded diaper bag and keeping a calendar of upcoming events on the kitchen wall! :) My real fight is against my old, want-to-control-everything-in-my-world nature. That is where I need to keep from losing focus.

    Thanks for the encouraging comment and for giving me the opportunity to clarify this for any other readers!

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