I plan. God laughs. I plan a lot so God spends a lot of time laughing at me. I probably have my own theatre up in heaven eating popcorn, watching and laughing.
You see, I’m a planner. Whatever the event, holiday, trip, or even a routine day, I find planning to be part of the fun. I’m a list maker and love the feeling of checking off items as completed on the list. I have this illusion that once everything is checked off my list I can relax. Of course, the list never ends and when it does, another list is created. Somehow, planning provides the illusion that I am in control.
Part of planning is balancing all that has to be done within the hours in a day and the ability to accomplish them. I find it hard to discern what to say “Yes” or “No” to. Saying “Yes” makes me feel like I am doing good and helping. It also makes me feel needed, respected, and wanted. But do I want to be defined by how much I do? Or do I want to be defined by how I do it? By my deeds or by my actions? Sadly, I often will say “Yes” without asking for God’s discernment and this causes me to not only be busy but hurried. John Ortberg in his book Soul Keeping tells the difference between busy and hurried. Being busy is an outward condition of the body. It’s a full schedule, with many activities which may be physically demanding but that remind us that we need God. Hurried is an inward condition of the soul that leaves us feeling preoccupied, unable to be fully present, spiritually draining and causes us to be unavailable to God. I want to be busy but not hurried.
Nevertheless, I spend a lot of time being hurried. And when I am hurried I am not a happy camper. And it shows – inward and outward. It shows in the need to do it “My Way”, resisting change, feeling authoritative, acting out rather than spending time focusing inward and on God and His will.
But, Lord, I’m a planner! It’s who I am, right? I need to plan, I mean, I REALLY need to plan. I’m like a sheep herding dog – I need to herd all the items in a day, get it corralled in a list and work the list. Lord, how do I balance who I have become with Your will and who You created me to be?
In search of an answer to this question I recently read Pastor Chris Russell’s 8 keys to knowing God’s will (check out his website at http://sensiblefaith.com/).
- Walk with God. Cultivate a relationship with God. Spend time in the word, in bible study, in prayer.
- Surrender to God. It’s not your plan, but God’s plan for you.
- Obey His Commandments and what you know to be God’s will.
- Seek godly input. Surround yourself with people who walk in God’s path.
- Know the You God created. Pay attention to how God has wired you. He has created you to fulfill a specific role in this life.
- Listen to God’s Spirit. Chris Russell suggests taking a notepad when you sit down to pray. List questions such as: What is the next step in my career, ministry, family, marriage, education, finances? Then hush up and listen. Write down what God places on your heart.
- Hear what is in your heart. Psalm 37:5 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. When you are walking with God, he begins to shape your desires so that you desire the things that He is calling you to do. In other words, your plans begin to reflect what His plans are for you.
- Look at your circumstances. Often God will close a door to show us clearly what He does not want us to do and He will open doors where he wants us to go.
As much as I want to plan my life, life has a way of surprising me with unexpected things that, in the end, are better than anything I could have planned. So maybe I don’t understand everything that is happening in my life but I sure can trust that the God who made me, carries me, sustains me and will rescue me (Isaiah 46:4-4).
Yes, I am a planner. I plan to walk, surrender, obey, seek, listen, hear, and look to God. In all my days and in all my plans I will acknowledge Him, praise Him and reflect in me God’s plan.
That’s my plan.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11