Many people are avid planners and already have 2020 planned and promised as such: dreams of a beautiful spring wedding and reception with a guest list of 100 plus; travel plans accompanying career ambitions or positions of prestige; the Cooper River Bridge Run scheduled for this Saturday, April 4th; maybe a trip to some exotic island or cruise to enhance your marriage; to improve the quality of friendships and other meaningful relationships, i.e. girls/guys trip or family reunion; or to attend Easter service to reclaim your life spiritually… no waiting required.
However, the health advisory to stay-home has altered earnest intentions. Nevertheless, the feelings of disappointment can exist for some, if not all. Experiencing disappointment is sometimes difficult to get past, especially when lives are so driven by completing tasks, securing positions/titles, and vision fulfillment. Don’t misunderstand, planning is necessary for progression. Yet, when self-identity is so closely associated with ‘making things happen’, admittedly or not, there is risk for developing a posture of despair.
Seeking God’s will for our lives should supersede personal plans and promises. 7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened”, Matthew 7:7-8. No plan or promise should be made without seeking God for guidance and peace to proceed. ‘Putting the cart before the horse’ is not wise planning. Asking God to bless your plans and promises after implementation is not a healthy practice for a blessed life. Developing this habit not only causes you disappointment but also leads to you disappointing others.
The remedy: 1. Patience-try not to rush into moving forward with plans without carefully and intentionally seeking God. 2. Silence-only share plans and promises with a few praying and intimate people. Oversharing can cause peer pressure, which makes you pridefully move forward outside of God’s will. “19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak…”, James 1:19. 3. Humility-do not be too proud to realign your plans to God’s will. 4. Faith-just because you don’t see evidence of your plan, it doesn’t mean that God disapproves of it; do NOT doubt your prayerful process. As Gabriel told Mary “With God, nothing will be impossible”, Luke 1:37. 5. Flexibility– Don’t be rigid with processes and strategies. Be open to alternative input and ideas. 6. Trust-understand the nature of God’s sovereignty, He is divinely or permissively controlling every aspect of our lives. 7. Thanksgiving-be thankful for all things, whether plans are allayed or deviated. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thess 5:18. 8. Contentment-there must be a level of satisfaction and peace with current situation and positions in life where no planning is necessary, just maintenance and stewardship is required. Finally, 9. Prayer-pray, pray, and keep praying. Prayer heals our mind, soothes our soul, and refocuses our gaze.
Meditation: Allow the Apostle Paul’s wisdom to his protege’ Timothy guide you in your planning: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:6-12
The journey flows…