I’m just going to shoot straight with you – as much as I want to be, I’m not naturally a “go with the flow” type of girl. Some may call this excessively Type A, others may call it excessively rigid – but either way, it turns out to be pretty unpleasant for me sometimes.
The other day, when my boyfriend and I were planning to go mountain biking at 5 PM, we actually didn’t get to the trails until closer to 6:45. After I rushed out of the office, hurried to get to our meeting spot so we would have the most possible amount of time biking, I did a whole lot of waiting. Alone. In fact, when I arrived at his work (where we were planning to meet, hop in the same car and then quickly head out to the trails), he wasn’t even there yet. And he didn’t get there for a good 20 minutes after me.
When he finally arrived, he could tell I was a little peeved – though I fought hard to keep my frustration from showing through my half-smile. When we started to talk about the day’s events and what threw us behind schedule, it turns out, he drove all the way back home (about 30 minutes) to get something for me – to make sure that my ride was pleasant and that my first experience on the trails with him would be one worth remembering.
In an instant, I regretted ever wasting time being frustrated.
Everything he did – everything that made him just 20 minutes late, was for me. It was for my good and wellbeing, even if it interfered with the plans I made in my head and even if it was grossly inconvenient for him.
And then it hit me – I react the same way with God sometimes.
You know that saying, “As man plans, God laughs,”? Well, it turns out, it’s actually biblical. Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans of a person’s heart, but it’s the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”
So, real talk? When things don’t go according to my plan, when things don’t turn out the way I want them to, I get frustrated. I ball up my fists, I stomp my feet, my eyes well up with tears and I turn into the 5-year old version of me who used to get mad when I couldn’t ride the bus to school with my big sister.
That version of me? She’s kind of bratty.
So often, God will say no to something because He longs to give me something better. So often, God will say, “Not yet,” when I am screaming, “Now! Now! NOW!” God will put commas where I put periods – or put periods where I want to put commas – and I will have an all-out meltdown and rant about it in my poor little journal.
But the cool thing? His plan is always better.
When my plans seem big and grand and perfect – His turn out to be bigger, grander, and actually perfect.
Maybe not initially – because sometimes, it hurts. Sometimes His plan means pain upfront in exchange for glory in the end. Sometimes, His plan means relinquishing control, giving up dreams and letting go. Sometimes, His plan means mourning, loss and the long and unpredictable path of grief.
But in the end, His plan is always redemption. In the end, His plan is always full and complete and total restoration. In the end, His plan is always love.
I’ve seen it play out a thousand and one times and manifest in my life and in the lives of so many others around me.
You see, even in our most sound-thinking, creative-minded and loving thoughts – our best laid plans will always pale in comparison to the ones that are churned out by the Creator of the Universe.
And this summer – I’m challenging myself to be flexible. For the next three months, I’m giving myself permission to live life without a plan and to let His plan fully takeover my life. I want to be available, I want to be flexible, and I want to be completely surrendered to His leading.
This summer, I’m submitting. To whatever it is He has in store for me. For better or worse, I know it will be for His glory and my good.
Won’t you join me?
Will you let summer 2015 be the summer you give yourself the permission to live life without a plan?
- Diana // @dianapalka