Gosh darn it, sometimes I wish I could know the future. Planning is often my safety net and a checklist is my daily copilot. I love the heck out of notepads, sticky notes, push pins and magnets because they can hold my numerous lists. I always have a tiny notebook and at least three pens floating around in my purse, just in case an idea pops into my brain or a list needs to be made. And let’s be honest, when does a list NOT have to be made? Before I can make a grocery list, I have to make a meal plan list and before I can get to meal planning I need to look at my list of foods we made last week to determine which ones to repeat and which ones to put on hold… In reality, I’m not that organized. I just write down every possible thing that I can think about so I can see it all on paper and then I hope I can keep track of the papers. The book “Just Do Something” by Kevin DeYong continues to be a favorite of mine because I love to do. But what happens when planning isn’t an option and waiting is the only thing that you can do in a situation? What happens when the pro and con lists only go so far as to provide information you already know?
I know with everything you’re with me
I know you’re working as I wait
Lift me up on wings like eagles
–Soar by Meredith Andrews
While we were still dating, we talked about the fact that Xavier wanted to go to grad school and that there was a strong chance he would go out of state to get his PhD. I assumed that by the time that decision rolled around, I would be okay either way. He applied to 10 schools this last fall and then we waited. I didn’t realize how hard that waiting would be for me but as each month rolled on it got strangely more interesting and challenging. A large part of me hoped that he would get into MSU so that I could keep my job and stay local for at least a few more years, but another part of me knew how much it would mean to Xavier if he got accepted to University or Washington or other out of state schools. As the responses trickled in, he found that he had been accepted to several schools and I was so very proud of him. Over the weeks that followed he narrowed it down to MSU or Purdue. There were equal pros and cons of each and they both looked like great options. The decision was hard to make, so Xavier didn’t want to just commit to one of them before he was sure (which was really smart of him, I just didn’t want to wait any longer). I wanted to know the decision so that I could start my planning! Although I wanted to have an answer so badly, those weeks of waiting, encouraging, praying and trusting God were just the beginning of a bigger truth that God was starting to teach me.
You can make all the plans you want, but if they aren’t God’s plans, they won’t succeed.
Once Xavier decided on MSU, I naturally thought that I could just move into making lists and not have to deal with more waiting. Of course, I hadn’t calculated the fact that other things would jump onto my waiting list. I suddenly became discontent with my photography equipment, eager to find our next residence, and anxious for both of us to finish the semester and have good jobs for the summer. Photography inspirations, house dreams, work ideas, traveling desires… many are my plans.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
I have plans, dreams, goals, checklists and ideals, but I have to learn to hold them loosely. After hearing this verse preached on Sunday, and hearing Ashley’s testimony about waiting on God, my heart was encouraged and humbled. I want to be a part of God’s big plan. When I hold onto my plans as the ultimate priority, I end up running around with my little life, doing my own thing and trying to hold everything together with a single string – snapping if put under any tension. Instead, I want to be woven into the strength of what God is doing. I want to learn the secret of being content in every and all circumstances (Philippians 4:11-13).