"The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray."
~ Robert Burns
So I know I have written about this before, but I am writing about it again because it is just so relevant, and something that God keeps slapping me in the face with, constantly reminding me that He is enough. I cannot plan out my life, I can't even live my own life, apart from the glory that is God. I know this, I know it very well, and yet I still try to make my own plans for life.
But this post is going to be a bit different than the others. I have already talked about how God has a plan for us, so I am not going to be repeating that. Instead, I just want this to be a post of encouragement about how God has been moving in my life, showing His great plan to me little by little, only showing me enough to get me through my current struggle and then showing me more at the next crossroads.
So I have always felt God taking my plans and shattering them before me. One of the biggest was my plan for college: I had enrolled at Texas A&M in Chemistry, intending to be a university researcher and professor. It felt right at the time, because I knew I had a gift for teaching, tutoring in high school and making difficult concepts much more easily accessible. I had also been someone that many people would come to for advice, and found it easy to help them kind of figure out their own solution and just encourage them and make them feel loved. SO I felt equipped to be someone to teach chemistry at a high level, but this was not God's plan but my own. In November, I remember reading about spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians, and started thinking about mine. Then standing outside waiting for a bus one day, the fullness of God washed over me, and I felt in that moment that God wanted me to be a pastor, knowing that God wanted me to use my gift of teaching for a greater purpose. I felt God calling me out of Chemistry, and since then have felt led to pursue Chemical Engineering, so as to be able to get a job that could support a family and pay off my student loans before I go into full-time ministry.
But that has not been the only plan of mine that God has shot down. For a while, I was in college-freshmen-mode, looking to find a girlfriend. So I found myself trying to find a girl I liked, but there came a point where I realized it was just ridiculous what I was doing. That night I went on a prayer walk, and God reminded me of the Parable of the Weeds (which I couldn't remember if it even WAS a parable when I felt that calling, it had been so long since I had read it). The parable (Matthew 13:24-30, explained in 13:36-43) talks about how Satan came and ruined this perfect world God has made, but rather than God ripping out the sin now, which could damage the righteous, He is going to wait until the final harvest and separate the believers from the sinners. But God was showing me a different aspect of this parable, in the words "be patient." Again and again, "be patient," and wait for Him to reveal someone who would be her.
More recently, this past semester for Impact I had planned to be a counselor maybe one more year after this, then be co-chair, then exec. But at retreat, God grabbed ahold of my heart and got me thinking of prayer team, a position I had pretty much decided I was not gifted with doing. I believed that I just did not have the gift of prayer, but God has since shown me that it was my own weakness and lack of any kind of prayer life that told me I was ill equipped for prayer team.
But most recently, as in like two days ago, God shot down another plan of mine. This summer I had been going through the Old Testament, starting at the very beginning reading the Pentateuch (which is quite dry, mind you). For a while God had been showing me a lot just about the faith of the Israelites and the reasons for all the laws. But these last couple of weeks had just been getting progressively harder to stay consistent with reading, and Satan seized this opportunity to sap me of my joy. And yet I still tried to continue on, believing that if I read more, knowing more about the Old Testament, that God would bring me out of the slump. But then one night I went to the Antioch prayer room and read the first 8 chapters of Romans at once, just soaking up who God is, and what he has done and what he wants from us. And that night was the first in several that I felt completely and totally filled. God used that night to tell me to stop trying to stick to some reading plan that was not fruitful and did not bring me joy, and instead just look for the fullness of joy in whatever way He wanted, which at the moment is to go back to the New Testament.
And there are other, less significant items that God has changed in my life to glorify Him, but the theme of everything is the same: God encourages me to change what I am doing in my life to follow the full glory of Him who is entirely good. He does not want me to be lost in sin and lacking in joy, but rather to "rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16). This is a command, not a request; God wants us to always be in His presence, feeling the fullness of His joy all the time. And this means that if you want to glorify God and bask in his grace, then you need to be willing to let God direct your life, because man alone cannot live; sin is too strong for us to defeat on our own, but Jesus has already defeated sin for us, and if we follow him, we are raised up from the dead and given an entirely new body, designed to be used for His purposes (Galatians 2:20). But when we are raised up, we need to surrender our lives to God, for he "knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile" (Psalm 94:11). So this means that we generally won't know the direction our life if going, but we are taking it on faith that God is taking it toward the glory of the Kingdom. And for me, I have still got a ways to go until God's plan for me is even partially realized, but I can rest in the fact that I am getting there.