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A decade ago I made a mistake. I was in the process of moving into a different job area and set forth writing out a plan of all the things I needed to do to reach my end goal. I was intentional and prayerful about the new journey I was on. I prayed for His guidance and His will, and I promised that I would follow where He was leading. Through the years I persevered and continued to mark off the list of accomplishments enroute to the end goal. I never lost sight of God’s provision and open doors along the way. I continued to seek His will about what He wanted for my life and where I needed to be. My key verse was Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
So, how was any of this a mistake? You see I had outlined my plan about what I wanted the future to look like. The problem with that was I had written it as I had envisioned the future and then asked God to bless it. In other words, I wanted what I wanted in the time frame I felt was best. And because the road had been smooth going in to year 10, I had expected Him to take care of the final detail.
So, here I am at the end of year 10 and there is no end goal or final detail in sight. Have there been opportunities? Absolutely. Did He allow me to go through the processes to potentially reach that end goal? He did indeed. Did I achieve it? Not the one highlighted in my plan.
I can tell you that since laying out that plan I have had an incredibly rewarding 10 years. Were they perfect? Far from it. Did I grow in skill and knowledge? I did. More than I ever dreamed. Did I make connections and friendships with amazing, talented, and fun-loving individuals? I did. Some of the most rewarding of my career. Were there disappointments, frustrations and snags along the way? Too many to count. So, what did I learn from all of this?
I learned that I had expected Him to honor my wants, right down to the final word on the paper. I was also reminded in Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. Do you see a pattern here? While I was checking off the list, He was waiting for me to draw closer to Him and let Him direct everything according to His plan.
Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” I know that I can trust Him with everything He has for me. It’s the waiting on Him that provides the challenge.
Am I still waiting to walk through the next open door? I am. But not for the reason I initially outlined all those years ago. And certainly not because I’m trying to meet a deadline. Instead I am completely open to what He has for me in the time frame that He deems best. For now I believe I am doing what I’m supposed to do. And I have discovered that while I thought I was waiting, He was actually using that period of time to ‘get me ready’ for what He has next.
So, for now I am continuing to follow His lead. He has placed a new journey before me and I hope I will use these experiences to honor and glorify Him. God is so good to provide us with opportunities that will grow us and stretch us beyond what we believed possible. He tells us in Proverbs 16:3, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Remember the work you commit to Him is for Him and not about you or for your gain. All we have to do is choose wisely, carefully discern and wait for His perfect timing.
As we look to the week ahead, think about the journey you are on. Are you following His lead? Are you in a holding pattern waiting for His next move? If so, use this as a time of thankfulness and a time of preparation. Commit your heart to Him and listen to Him. And know that He has the perfect plan for your life. I’m praying for you.