Whenever my family goes on a vacation together, it is a very well-organized and mostly well-orchestrated series of events. My mom has planned the entire thing down to the minuscule details with printed directions, tickets, required documents, and proof of reservations laid out chronologically in an accordion-style file folder. That file folder is like the legendary “Football” holding the nuclear codes.
I’d like to think that I’ve inherited the preemptive planning syndrome (I made that up), so I prefer everything to go the way I planned it in my head. Right? Even if it diverts into one of the “if this happens, then…” rabbit trails that I’ve also planned out.
Chances are good that if you’ve seen me staring off into space, I’m actually mapping out a scenario in my head that looks like one of those “What Should I Watch on Netflix?” concept maps. It’s a scary place.
Wouldn’t it be a dream if life actually worked the way we’ve planned for it to?
But how much of our lives should we plan out? How much should I let God lead me mysteriously to? If you’re a believer and active in your relationship with Jesus, these should be familiar questions to you. But the answer should be pretty familiar too…
And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. – Colossians 3:17
This is my go-to verse when I’m having a panic attack about life or talking to one of my friends about theirs. There is SO MUCH that our little human brains think about and try to account for, but there’s a caveat:
We’re not God.
It sounds obvious, but this is the one thing that will save your mental health when it comes to planning for the future. There are infinite paths and probabilities that could change the direction you’re heading in. And you’re not always privy to those paths either, so you shouldn’t worry about where God is taking you because he wouldn’t take you somewhere he cannot protect you.
Some people believe that you have to know every detail about God to believe that he’s got your back. I don’t.
I don’t want to believe in a God that I can explain because if I know everything about him and can dissect his thought process, that brings him down from the divine. That makes him just human. And we know he’s much more than that: Creator, Protector, Healer, Miracle Worker….
Job knew all of that, too. His book is one of my favorite Old Testament stories. It’s completely and entirely depressing for about 28 chapters, but God’s response to Job’s bitter, woe-is-me attitude changes his heart. If you want to read it, start in Job chapter 38. It’s epic!
Just before God speaks up, Job’s friend Elihu throws down some incredible wisdom…
“Listen to this Job; stop and consider God’s wonders. Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightening flash? Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?” – Job 37:14-16
“Out of the north he comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty. The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power; in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress. Therefore, people revere him, for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart?” – Job 37:22-24
There is so much more to be said about the truly awesome powers of God, but I hope your takeaway is this: you are so undeservedly loved by a God who formed you out of nothing and gave you a mission to glorify him, so you have no reason to worry about what your future holds.
Pack up your good intentions and your biggest dreams. Tuck them nicely in your own file folder for the adventure ahead, but be willing to let go of those plans for what God has for you. It’ll be wild, but worth it.