Our society is enamored with setting goals. We make resolutions at the beginning of the new year. We believe in coaching for success, assisting people to identify action steps and then holding them accountable to follow through. There is powerful statistical evidence for the power of written goals and plans.
Unfortunately the ability to systematically create a plan gives us the illusion that we are ultimately in control. Our neatly packaged blueprint produces a sense of confidence in our own ability to make things happen. Whether or not we subscribe to making a plan for life or business, we (at least in the Western world) seem compelled by a desire to be in control and order the details of our lives. We like the idea that we are the master of our own destiny. We are controlled by the need to be in control.
If I’m pointing fingers, most of them are to myself. I’ve been around the block so many times with this issue of wanting to be in control. I like to know what’s coming next, to avoid being caught off guard by the unseen. I like the security of seeing ahead. In the past I have been emotionally derailed when something came into my life that was unexpected. It did not fit into my well-crafted plan, and I had trouble adjusting my course.
As Christ-followers, our first commitment is to the Lord Jesus Christ, to faithfully follow His will. It is a daily decision to seek His will and not own will. I’m not saying we should ditch our plans. Plans can be valuable tools in moving forward in God’s kingdom. However, our plans must never become the ruling idols in our lives. We need to hold loosely to our plans.
There are times in life when direction simply is not clear. You may know where you are supposed to go but God says, “Not yet.” And so you wait, and wait…continuing to do what you have been doing until He gives you the signal. Or perhaps, a door of opportunity may open to you that you have no desire to pursue, but the Lord confirms it’s where He wants you. Or, you may feel good about an opportunity and all indications are favorable, and then you get a rejection notice or you find out it wasn’t what you thought it would be.
There are so many different scenarios in which we may find ourselves, some brought about by others’ choices, some brought about by our own choices, others brought about by circumstances outside of our control. Each and every day, but especially during times of uncertainty, we must relinquish our need for control and declare our trust in the Lord. He is our source of strength and hope, the only stability in a changing world. Sometimes, by faith, we just need to take another step and believe Jesus will meet us there.
Proverbs 16:9 NLT
We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
Lord of Life, I offer my life, my dreams, my plans to you anew. Forgive me for the times I falter in my trust of you. Renew my faith in your goodness. Walk with me through times of doubt. Use me to accomplish Your will, whatever it looks like, for Your glory. In Jesus’ name.