Everyone has a little control freak in him or her. We like to be in control. Not everyone wants to be the leader or the one held responsible, but we all like to have things under control. Even self-proclaimed adrenaline junkies can only skydive or ride a roller coaster for so long. We are hardwired to have a semblance of peace and order in our lives. Even one of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control.
I heard about a woman who told her husband that her New Years resolution was to be less controlling. Then she looked at her husband and said, “Here are your resolutions, Honey.”
Most of our problems in life come when we try to do God’s job. There are some things only God can do. When we try to control everything we end up with undue stress, fear, regret, worry, anger, resentment, and frustration. Proverbs 16:3 states, “Commit your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed.” The key lies in committing your plans, your work, and your life to the Lord. It is a matter of trust and obedience.
I have had my share of plans that did not turn out the way I thought they should. My original plan did not involve being a pastor, but I am glad God’s plan prevailed. I never planned on starting a church, but I am so thankful that God interrupted my grand scheme. Even though I have learned many lessons, God is still teaching me to trust him when things don’t go my way. Here are a few things to recall when God disturbs your plans.
1. Plan well but be flexible.
Just because God sometimes changes things does not give us the right to be lazy or unprepared. God has given you a mind, a vision, and a purpose. Get prepared. Grow. Learn. Work hard. Pray hard. Dream big and trust God. Proverbs 19:21 “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” (NLT)
2. You won’t always understand God’s plans immediately.
I learned a long time ago that God is in control even when I am unaware of it. I mentioned earlier that I never planned on starting a church. Three years before God led me to start Avalon Church, he led me to resign from pastoring a church to go into an itinerant speaking ministry. I had no clue why; I just knew that was what he was telling me to do. The funny thing is - at least I see the humor in it now - I thought the two things I would never do were start a traveling speaking ministry and start a church. I was not unwilling; I just thought I was unequipped. I think God has a sense of humor. He equipped me during my years in evangelism to start the church he wanted me to lead.
Isaiah 55:8-9 “”My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.’” (NLT)
3. God’s plans are always better.
I feel like I am OK at planning big things. I am not a detail person, but I love a big vision and big dreams. But God can take our plans and dreams and turn them into exactly what he wants for us. When we are willing to follow him we will always be happier because his plans are better than ours. Proverbs 16:9 “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” (ESV)
4. Keep trusting him no matter what.
It can be scary when God changes our well-laid plans. I have often wondered how Abraham felt when God changed his comfortable life and told him to leave his life of ease and follow him. His faith was strong because he obeyed even though God didn’t tell him where they were going! Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (ESV)
There will be times – perhaps many times – in your life that God will change your plans. He will ask you to do something that you don’t think is a good idea. You may even feel like it is impossible. During those trying and sometimes frustrating times we can rest assured that God is in control, he loves us, and he has something better in mind for us. There are many things that are impossible to me, but with God, nothing is impossible!
Jeremiah 32:27 “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?”