Enjoy Living in the Now. Act Spontaneously. Embrace the Unknown.
Love His plan.
It’s only April but this year has kept me running from day one (not in the marathon or even 5-k sense of the word, but you get my drift). As proof of constant movement, I am very happy to announce that I have finally gotten to a point which allows me to button my favorite style of jeans in my “formally-average-and-hopefully-average-again” size. Last year was marked with several milestones, including jumping up a pant size having packed approximately 20 lbs. to my frame. Unable to wear my high school and college clothes, I bought a pair of jeans in a +1 size which quickly became my favorite. At some point, however, I realized I had gotten far too comfortable putting them on and promptly went out to buy the same jeans, one size smaller. Those smaller jeans have sat for months – with tags attached – unable to work their way up my thighs (let alone button) until this. very. weekend.
Thank you. I know!
But the year has been so much more than pant sizes for me. As of late, I have started and stopped blog post after post feeling as though words could not cover all that I have experienced already. Simple announcements might be interpreted as bragging and would certainly cheapen the emotion that surrounds them. And so, I have gone a little deeper to realize that 2011 has given me more than a degree, a new car, a fiancé, a graduated sister with whom to celebrate, etc. It has given me an additional action verb in my life motto: Love.
When Proverbs 19:21 first struck a chord in my heart (“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails”), I thought I understood the message. What I wanted was not what God wanted. What I thought was His lead, was my own selfish desire. And though that might very well be the case throughout my life, I still didn’t grasp the words completely when I read them. I fell in love with the verse in the midst of heartbreak; I couldn’t understand why things had happened the way they had and so I told myself that it was God’s purpose to put someone else in my life. I thought that I was surrendering to God’s plan by letting go of the thought that I was supposed to be with that one person and instead by focusing on opening myself up to whatever else may come my way. And in the best way that I knew how, I was surrendering my life – but what I didn’t realize is that God’s purpose is so intricate that it would bring me right back into the arms of the man I once thought God was leading me toward.
God’s ways truly are mysterious.
I was not simply led back to where I started, however. I was led into something new, something better. The plans in my heart were devastated. I had thought I saw my future and was instead redirected to this overwhelming and terrifying fun-house of mirrors and obstacles that caused me to look at my own life and reach out for others. But the Lord’s purpose wasn’t to separate me from everything I had understood as His plan; I was right in thinking that God was leading me into this relationship but so wrong about the details. It was instead His purpose, I have come to believe, to use that time apart to create in my life a more sure-footed foundation and to do the same with my now future husband so that we could begin to be better for one another.
I can’t help but laugh – I picture God shaking His head sympathetically at my deep desire to understand His will. When my fiancé and I were first dating, I thought I saw God’s plan and ran full steam ahead in that direction. When I came across a switch in the track, I panicked. I ran out of steam and halted until I could muster up the courage to go ahead in that new, uncharted direction. When the wheels began to move again, I was encouraged in His plan once more and started dashing off full steam ahead toward the unknown.
I’m like a little wind-up toy that God had to pick up and move in order to keep me from falling down. He had one destination in mind for me but had to redirect me around the bigger obstacles I couldn’t see coming. But I keep thinking I understand His will for me, so I just keep taking off wildly in these straight paths. Luckily, God’s plan for me is fluid and beautiful not direct and obvious. And so I add to my life motto: Love His Plan.
I think that Proverbs 19:21 doesn’t ask us to let go of our plans to take another direction, like I thought, but to simply let go. Forget about the direction. Who am I to interpret God’s purpose for me? I keep seeing His signs and reestablishing a plan in that direction but fail to realize that I am again establishing a plan for myself. I am going to attempt to love His plan in place of my own – to stop trying to interpret it, predict it, understand it, and lead it.
I have so much to learn! But I am sure of this – God has chosen my fiancé for me. He has built us up apart and together so that when we come across those future obstacles, we have the strength to overcome them as a unified couple. We have a relationship today which I could not have seen in the past but which is so much better than I imagined that now I cannot see it any other way.
Thank you, Lord, for your prevailing purpose in my life despite my many efforts to misinterpret them.