“By age 18 I want to be here…by age 21 I want to be there…by age 25 I want to have this….by age 30 my life should look like that…” Sound familiar? Most of us at some point have mapped out our life and told our self what we should have and where our life should be at certain milestones. Some of those road signs typically include having a degree (bachelor, masters, and/or PhD), a great career, a relationship, owning a house, a car, eventually getting married, and then having children. This plan is often shaped by what society and our parents tell us our life should look like. And most of us, if we’re honest, didn’t consult God much when we created this plan, we just thought He would fulfill it because *shrugs* “God wants the best for me and that is the best for me.” (Or so we thought)…
When God created us He already had a plan for our life. He already planned out what we would be doing at certain points of our life and what our purpose would be. Then when we are born and as we go through life, many factors shape our perception and our desires: Our family members, the things we hear in school, what we see around us, and our own desires begin to shape how we want and think our life should be. But when we really surrender our life to Christ and start seeking out His will for our lives, many of us find that what we had planned was nowhere near what God designed for us. Then there are some of us who find that what we desired to do is what God designed for us but the timing that He allows it to take place is not according to the timing that we planned out.
I know firsthand what it’s like when God interrupts your plans, in fact I’m living it right now. I had my life planned out after high school, thinking God was all in it and was going to fulfill my every desire. Then I told Him I wanted only HIS WILL for my life. He began to take me deeper in worship, love and intimacy with Him and I began to truly desire what He desired. I wanted my life to be a living sacrifice unto Him. That’s when He began to deal with me about worship being a lifestyle of TOTAL SURRENDER. Everything was beautiful and life was going just as I had planned…then out of nowhere He interrupted my plans!! At first I thought it was the devil, and then I thought it was just a test and that it would all work out eventually so I kept trying to open the door that He shut because I sincerely thought it was His will… Guess what? The door was not opening. Then after multiple tries, I stepped back and finally prayed for God to show me His will concerning the situation. That’s when God began to tell me, “Deborah, that’s not My plan for your life…”. To be honest, I didn’t understand. I was shocked, heartbroken; felt lost….but God continue to reassure me as He shut those plans all the way down! Lol! The only way I could have made it work was by blatantly disobeying God and forcing that door to open. Over time He began to give me understanding and reveal what He did want me to do instead. Trusting God when He rips up your plans isn’t easy; it’s scary at first, and at times you wonder if it’s God who’s leading you or if you’re just going crazy (let’s be honest lol)!!
Since then God has been so faithful and He has allowed me to begin to walk out His will for my life. Back then I couldn’t see it, but today I’m seeing the bigger picture more and more and I trust God’s plans for my life. In a future blog post I will share the full testimony when God releases me to share it [so look out for that 😉 ]! …But for now I can tell you today that God is faithful and He knows what He is doing with your life. I also want to encourage those who are going through similar situations with a few tips to help you along your journey:
- God interrupts our plans because He loves us. If what you had planned for you was God’s best for you, He would help you accomplish it, not put an end to it. Often times we forget that when God takes things away from us it’s because He loves us.
- When God takes something away, He ALWAYS replaces it with something better. Look at the story of Ruth and Naomi, I’m pretty sure they didn’t understand why God allowed their husbands and sons to die and thought that God would just leave them destitute and empty-handed. But little did they know that God was about to replace what they lost with something even greater that would lead them to being part of the lineage of Jesus Christ! You may not understand why God is allowing some things to die off in your life, but know that if He allows it to die that means He has something even greater in store for you! So trust Him! (If you don’t know the story of Ruth and Naomi, read the Book of Ruth).
- His ways are higher. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”(Isaiah 55:8-9) …God sees what you don’t see and knows what you don’t know. So although you may not understand what He’s doing right now, still choose His will above yours. This is true worship.
- People around you won’t understand, don’t expect them to understand. Family and friends will look at you like you’re crazy when you choose God’s will for your life. Don’t wait for them to understand before you obey God. Let them think what they want to think, at the end of your life YOU give account for what you’ve done, you give account for your disobedience/obedience. Obey God; He will not leave you to be ashamed.
- Will you still love God in spite of things not going your way? This is an honest question we have to ask ourselves. Being a Christian is not about God doing what you want; it’s about His will above ours and having faith, trust, and surrender in every area of your live. So when God interrupt your plans what will you do? Will you continue to do life how you want to do it by forcing YOUR will? Or will you love Him by yielding and trusting in Him? God will test our heart in this way.
- Pray, pray, pray and seek confirmation. This is a time where you should be on your face before God more than anything. You need direction and instructions from God on what to do next. Seek Him and get confirmation about the direction He wants you to take. Don’t lean on your own understanding. And until God gives you an answer, do what you know to do (i.e. – go to church, read your Bible, live right, fulfill your other responsibilities etc.) and remain faithful to Him.
- Time is not an issue for God; the wait and time spent is always worth it. Stop looking at the time lost. The Bible says in Joel 2:25 that He will “restore the years,” then further down in verse 27, “My people shall never be put to shame.” YOU think time is being wasted, but GOD is actually using this time to prepare, shape, and mold you for what He does have for you. I can tell you from experience, the time you think is being lost is actually being used to process and mature you.
- When God tells you to step out, STEP OUT!! I’m at the place in this particular process where God is telling me to step out. He shut down what He didn’t want me to do, then He took me through a process where I had to learn to let it go and tested my heart to see if I would let go, then He healed my heart of my plan not working out, then He began showing me what He did want me to do instead….NOW (after several years) He is telling me to step out! Each time I step out on HIS WORD, He meets me there, He confirms His word, He makes provision, and He faithfully does what He says He would do. It’s taking GREAT FAITH, but after having seen His hand and walking by faith (as He leads) in other situations, I’ve come to a place where I trust Him and I know for sure that it’s Him who is leading me.
So if you’re in a season where it feels like God is just ripping up all your plans, rest. Know that it is for your good and this is only the beginning of the best of your life – what you thought was the best is ending; God’s best (the best that there could ever be) is now beginning! NOTHING can top God’s plans for you! 🙂
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.”
Let this song by Meaghan Williams encourage you in your process of total surrender: