"Map out your future, but do it in pencil."
I'm a planner.
It's how God has wired me. I LOVE the idea of dreaming up and mapping out an entire plan, then seeing it come to fruition. Whether it be a party, a trip, an event, a goal...I thrive on taking a big picture, breaking it down into a feasible strategy and then making it happen. In fact, if you add up the money i've spent in my lifetime on planners, calendars and notebooks for to-do lists, well you just might be able to hire a personal assistant to track all that for me.
I also make lists. Lots of lists. I sometimes even put things on my lists that i've already done just so I can check them off and feel like i've accomplished more in the day (yes, I know they have support groups for that kind of thing...just call it the overachiever in me).
But even within my well thought out and highly anticipated plans, i've somehow always carried within me the capacity to go with the flow when things change at the last minute. I normally don't mind a little shift on the fly...it rarely, if ever, stresses me out or makes me mad. I'm an easy-going type of gal who can usually roll with the punches in a patient and placid demeanor.
...except when God starts messing with my plans.
Can we say hypocrite, party of one?
How in the world is it that I can be patient and flexible with everything and everyone around me except for the God who gave all of it to me in the first place? It's simple...I put my big God in a little bitty box without even realizing it.
In my late teens and early 20's I made a plan for my life. And in my mind, it was a good plan. It was what I thought I wanted...so of course that had to be what God wanted for me right? So I mapped out my dreams and goals and then set out guns a blazin' on my trail to follow my perfect plan. And what happened?
My plan failed. Miserably.
I found myself completely broken, attempting to pick up the pieces of what was left of my shattered dreams, all the while looking back and wondering what the heck I did wrong? I loved Jesus, I went to church, I talked to Him daily, I tried to be the best person I knew how to be...why didn't my plan work?
And then the light bulb went off...
In a moment of painful desperation I cried out to God asking why He took my perfectly good plan away from me...and it was as if I heard Him whisper "because it was never MY plan for you."
I finally grasped that all along, even though it was, in my mind, a good plan...it was just that. MINE. I went along my life doing my own thing, charting my own path all the while kind of asking God to just "check off" on my plan as somewhat of an afterthought. When in reality, I should have been doing it the other way around all along. I should have leaned into the desires of my heart, and then earnestly taken them to God, surrendering them to Him while patiently waiting for His direction and confirmation.
I learned (the hard way) that it's ok to make a plan for my life. It's ok to dream and to lean into those God-given desires of my heart...but I need to be willing to loosen my grip and fully surrender those desires to God, and more importantly, I need to desire HIS plan over mine - no matter what it looks like. And when I begin to get anxious or impatient, I need to remind myself to trust that He knows what's best for me...afterall, He can see much more of the big picture than I will ever be able to.
Do you know what I've realized in doing that? I'm not nearly as creative as I thought I was because my life since then is living proof that God has WAY bigger and cooler dreams for me than I ever had.
...and I'm totally ok with that. :)