“Lord, your word says you have a plan for me… a good plan… for my good and to give me a hope for my future. Lord, what is that plan? What does it look like exactly and how and when will I see it fulfilled in my life? I want to know Lord! I thought I knew Lord… I thought when I stepped out and started that business, or when I got involved in that ministry, or when I married my husband and we started our family that I was doing what you planned and that it would definitely lead me to a future filled with hope and joy. But God, now I’m not so sure. I look around and my current life doesn’t look like what I expected… we’ve lost the business, the gift and talent you placed in me hasn’t been fulfilled in ministry; my husband and I are uncertain about our future. What is happening God? How can I know I’m following your path… your plan?”
I recently said a prayer that sounded very much like this. It was closely followed by several conversations with women who were asking themselves and God the exact same questions… each of us struggling with uncertainty; struggling with the pain of disappointment over the past; struggling with big questions about our future. God’s grace and His word speak truth in response to our heart felt questions…
The struggle happens when I view God’s plan as a specific role, position or achievement in life that, once reached, will somehow secure my future. I want an “X marks the spot” and a map of how to get there. I want God to specify my job or my ministry, where I live, who I marry or how many children I have. Now, I know absolutely that God knew all those specifics about my life long before I was born… but still, they do not constitute God’s plan.
- From the moment I turn my back on my old life God’s plan is for me to participate in the life of Jesus.
God’s plan is to renew my mind; mold my heart and transform my life into the glory of His son… Jesus Christ. God’s plan is not a destination but a moment by moment journey. Are there specifics along the way? Sure there are… but they are not the goal or the thing by which God brings us into His kingdom. The picture here is of Jesus leading and directing me on His path; where He goes… I go. What He does… I do.
- Jesus lives in me… I want to build on what I have been given.
Everything that goes into God’s plan for my life; into pleasing God, is given to me as I get to know Jesus personally and intimately. God has laid stepping stones that clearly show me His path. Jesus leads me… one step at a time. And as He shows me what to do He also shows me how to do it… what my heart attitude needs to be. As I walk along with Jesus I imitate Him… honesty – displayed in my business dealings, gentleness and patience – shared with my family, strength – shown to the doctors in the hospital, trust – when I lose my job, my retirement and my home. Jesus teaches me to add to my faith… the qualities that enhance my effectiveness in sharing Him with those around me. God’s plan for me starts the moment I surrender my life to Jesus and continues as I increasingly participate in His life and in His character.
- Looking at my circumstances… focusing on my feelings… hanging on to what I expect or want life to look like means I lose sight of God’s direction for today.
It’s easy for me to blindly go through my day oblivious to the fact that Jesus wiped all my sins off the books and that he holds nothing against me that will separate me from heaven. My perspective becomes narrow and my focus is on me… no rejoicing in my salvation, no thankfulness for Jesus… sometimes I just want what I want, when I want it. That’s why it is so important that I commit my day to the Lord in prayer first… early in the morning… before I start anything else. He gently reminds me of His presence and His everlasting love for me. He infuses my spirit with His Spirit through His Word. Jesus takes up His position… He leads, I follow.
- Do what God sets before me to do today.
What I do today is not insignificant, not good enough or a waste of time. It is where God has me for today. God doesn’t waste anything! The way I conduct myself with my family, in my job and out in the community is important! Jesus is always teaching me something… warm friendliness, passionate patience, sure determination, gentle acceptance, and generous love… these are the character traits that lead to excellence and integrity. They are what I learn from Jesus when I participate in His life in and through me.
- Find joy in the moment… no day will pass without my experiencing the life of Jesus within me.
I realize that with each moment comes an opportunity to take my time with what I am doing, time to explore and get the most out of whatever it is. It is all important, and the joy of seeking and hearing the voice of the Lord in the moment fills me. In Christ I avoid the trap of thinking that what I do today is the only thing that determines where I will be down the road. It is “a” step… not “the” step. Sometimes I put so much focus on individual situations that I either try too hard to do it perfectly or I get overwhelmed at its importance, get discouraged and quit.
- Jesus keeps moving forward… He doesn’t stop and He doesn’t look back.
Do what God sets before me to do tomorrow and each day thereafter. When I look back I focus on my failures or miss-steps. Jesus says, “Keep going.” If I stop I guarantee much time will be wasted… He tells me to stick with Him. I’m on firm footing, solid ground; a path leading through my circumstances, no matter what they are. With these qualities growing in my life, He will use them to mature and complete me… according to His plan.
Scripture: 2 Peter 1: 3-10
Father thank you that your plan for my life is for me to fully participate in the life of Jesus! You have given me everything I need for a godly life through Jesus when He called me by his own glory and goodness. My hearts desire is to increasingly walk in His character. Every step I take with Jesus is an opportunity to add to my faith… goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love in increasing measure. These are the things that bring peace and joy in the midst of my days, despite my trails and oblivious to my failures. I thank you Father, the in Jesus I will not stumble on your path… I see your plan for my life fulfilled!