The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
I am a planner. I like plans, and schedules and lists. I like to lay out how my day and week and month are all going to look in nice neat, color-coded, glory on my calendar. I don't like spontaneity. I don't like last minute changes. God knows this about me and yet He insists on rocking my boat on a regular basis.
It happened this week. I had everything going along smoothly with my publishing team and we hit a little stop sign. (No fear, we were back on go really quickly.) But it got me thinking about this topic.
In college, in ministry, I made plans. I had a timeline of how things would work out and it was really well thought out and prayed out. My life would smoothly plod along the stops on my hand drawn treasure map. It would be good. It looked good.
But I'm not the one who really gets to draw the map. God does. And when I pencil in all my best laid plans he has a wonderful little eraser. He, suddenly it always seems, scratches out my carefully drawn path and sketches in His own little detour or exit. And He doesn't jot in little explanations as to why either.
I'd like to say that over the years I have matured enough to handle these changes with grace. I haven't. At least not always. When you've invested time and money into a certain plan just for God to say, "nope take a left not a right," it is frustrating. When you are prepared to lay down roots close to family and God moves you halfway across the country you white knuckle it for part of the drive. Why? Because change and trust are difficult.
God doesn't give you the whole map...He establishes your steps.
That's the real issue, not the sudden changes in my beautiful arrangement, but the fact that He only redraws a small section at a time. I want to see the big, red "X" at the end. I want to know what it's all going to look like. But He gives me just the next couple of steps to walk, or drive, or sail. It isn't until I walk out those steps that I can begin to see how His path was so much more beautiful than my own.
God will erase some of your plans and schedules. He will sketch out steps that you didn't count on, that you don't even like. But He isn't trying to get you lost or frustrated. He is getting you where you need to go on the best path possible. Knowing that doesn't always make it easier. I have learned to take a deep breath and remember that He is in control. I am still learning to just give Him the pencil completely.
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.