So You’re a Planner, Huh?

I used to crave the fulfillment of a plan. One that I strategically and logistically orchestrated whether for myself or for a group. I loved knowing what was coming. I loved not having to be surprised or anticipate anything unexpected.

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I didn’t just love it. I needed it. The way I lived and the walls I had up required it.

If you plan for it, maybe it won’t hurt as bad?

If you expect the shoe to drop, the thump on the ground won’t scare you as bad?

If you don’t hope for the good, you won’t be disappointed when the bad comes?

I could stop right here and honestly that would give us all enough to chew on. I believe you get it. Why am I so confident in this? Well, because I’ve talked to many like you – and as mentioned, I was you.

I get it. I promise, if I could pinky swear you right now I would, without hesitation.

“I don’t think the way you think.
The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
God’s Decree.
“For as the sky soars high above earth,
so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
and the way I think is beyond the way you think.” Isaiah 55:8 MSG

I put that scripture in there not so you scroll past it, but so you read it. You take it in. You let it sink, whether reading it makes you less controlling in an instant (Won’t He do it.) or you can’t finish reading it without getting angry in the process – however you read it, it’s more truth that the lie you’ve been believing. (yep.)

And you need. I needed it. I still need it.

I’ve spent a week in New York City the past few days. The place I used to call home. And actually, the Starbucks I’m sitting in is the Starbucks I used to come and pick up my boss’s order almost everyday over 5 years ago. Crazy, huh? That girl had no idea the life that was in store for her. The days ahead that would test her to her very core.

But oh I thought I did. I thought I had it all planned out.

I wasn’t going to get married, so why date? I wasn’t going to have kids, so why work on selfishness or freedom from generation curses? Oh, as I shake my head in somewhat disbelief in how naive I could have been and chuckle in how humorous it all is years later. I can’t help but think that’s how God is looking at me now? Wow….won’t that preach. Geez…writing and getting freer in the process. (Won’t He do it.)

He’s just patiently listening as I list again the fears I feel, the unknown I’m facing, the hurt I’m processing, and the ultimate exhaustion I feel on waiting (and longing) for the desires I know that I know He’s wants for me just as much as I do. He gave me dreams, He’s spoken promises, and He’s given anointing and a calling – so shouldn’t that be enough? Unfortunately, I find myself on most days wanting to say ‘yes, that’s enough,’ but the tossing and turning at night would tell otherwise.

And maybe that is where you are…in the middle of planning the next few years. Or maybe you’ve learned a bit and realize maybe just planning for this year even just next week is good enough? But I want to help you – help me, take it a step further.

Not negating God’s call on our life to make the most of every opportunity (Eph. 5:16) or for us to work unto the Lord all we do (Col. 3:23) – how about we tear up the plans we’ve made?

Maybe it’s a literal thing for you. Maybe it’s a list you made of who you’re supposed to marry, or places you had planned to live or move to by now? Maybe it’s metaphorical, but an expectation you’ve held over your own head for years that needs to be trashed? Or maybe – just maybe, you’ve gone to the other extreme as to not make plans anymore at all because you’ve been so hurt by the unexpected interruptions of this life that you think…why plan? Why dream? Why hope?

Oh man or girl...I feel you. Not only at one point in my life – right now. Right in this moment.

In 2016 I tried so hard to walk the tightrope of doing the minimum so maybe the Enemy wouldn’t attack as much. Maybe I could have a “few months off,” for once. No battlefield, no swords – just comfort. Well, it somewhat worked – but where was I left? Unhappy, empty, and still with a deep, deep calling/passion inside of me that there’s more to it than this.

But why, God?

Why do I keep hoping in the unknown, trudging through the waters of faith and fear, pain and joy – when will it be my turn?

When do I get my last chapter? 

I tear up as I type this because my friends, you have no idea how real these statements are in my life – don’t believe me? Read my journal. I promise, those questions cover it. Oh, how familiar God is with this specific cry of my heart – when will I see the fruit?

Because honestly? I couldn’t be more raw and vulnerable with you right now. I’m tired of the struggle. I’m exhausted from the journey. I’m somewhat annoyed with the call to encourage others while they receive what I’m waiting for. Real? Too real.

But then God…

“I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14

He steps in and reminds me of why I’m so tired. I cry out for His will to be done, but what I’m truly exhausted from is trying to make MY will be done in MY timing. I’m tired from planning and controlling what I can for and in the unknown, instead of praising God in the provision of the present.

So I repent for that and I surrender and put my foot in my mount like Job did when God responded with about 2 chapters full of why, when, and how and I say…

“I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.” Job 42:2-3

And then I take a moment and let the Lord show me what’s the purpose from this lesson? Because He knew what He was getting Himself into when He created me (Lawd, did He) – the planner inside of me was not an accident. So, what is it for?

And over the past two months I’ve realized it. Planners are doers. We plan to do. And though it may take us days to realize we need to rest – the Lord loves the doer in us, the planner in us because it means we’re obedient. We’re praying about His plans, so therefore when the time comes for us to move and walk into the purposes and plans He has for us – we go. We obey. We accomplish.

So instead of leaving this blog feeling like a failure for jumping the gun or giving up on God – I want to hopefully give you a new perspective. He made us this way. The planner in you or I was never meant to be destroyed – tamed maybe under the knowledge of His greatness,  yes. But should we feel guilt for it? No.

We become aware of our inclination to jump the gun or fear of the unknown that could turn into a numb or hard heart, and we surrender daily for His ways to be higher than ours. And we walk forward. We trust that though it feels like chaos or instability around us – or even that the journey is not only not over, but we’re kind of stuck in the middle? We take the lesson from Job and not really question His intelligence or power.

We let Him plan, and well – we wait for the signal. The door to open. His voice to speak. And then we go. We do. We accomplish. And we experience what Job did in the last chapter – double portion.

And I don’t know about you, but it’s either double or nothing at this rate – don’t you think?

Oh – and last, if this blog wasn’t already long enough – know it’s okay to be frustrated in the waiting. In the longing. And hurt or disappointed when what you thought was going to be good, doesn’t turn out to be God’s best. Be real with Him in those moments. Choose to lean into Him, rather than run from Him. Ask the hard questions like Job, because just like He did with him – He’ll answer and renew your strength to believe that His ways truly are greater and He will accomplish what He promised. (Phil. 1:6)

xoxo

jess

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