Plans and Thoughts; His and Mine

Quite often things don’t go as I would like or as I plan.we plan god laughs magnet

Years ago, a friend gave me a fridge magnet she said was perfect for me, “We plan; God laughs!”  To be completely honest, the comment along with the magnet kinda ticked me off.  And while I get the humor behind it now, at the time, the idea of God scoffing at me for the way I tried to order my day, my home, my children, and my life was anything but funny.  It touched more closely to home than that.

I often wondered what God thought of me.  And my conclusion was rarely positive.

I think about the disciples of Christ—all the followers, not just the famous 12.  They dreamed of redemption alright—from the Romans!  They felt their sins were covered by sacrifice and needed no more attention.  Their eyes were on freedom from the oppression of others, not from within.  They liked Jesus’ words, His voice of authority, His miracles, and His ability to gather the masses.  They had big plans for Jesus.  But it did not go the way they had figured. 

One reason for the quick turn of allegiance from Monday to Friday of Passion Week was because they felt betrayed by HimThey began to realize He had no intention of doing what they wanted.  Not because He didn’t love them or cared little for the situation they were in.  His plan was bigger.  And so very differant than they could have ever imagined.  They grew angry and bitter in their disappointment.

Disappointment.  We all have it in one way or another in one area of our life or another.  We can also have anger and bitterness.  We see it in others sometimes better than in ourselves.  It’s the natural outflow from a heart not surrendered to God’s plan because it’s so busy asking questions of His concern and intent.

Doesn’t He see what’s going on?
Doesn’t He care?
Why doesn’t He step in and save this?
Am I not worth saving?
Is He upset with me?
Is He teaching me a lesson?

We are asked to trust in the Lord with all our heart.  But I admit, it sure isn’t always easy to do!  Why?  Because we’re leaning on our own understanding.  Of Him, of us, of the situation, of faithfulness [His and/or ours], of opinion, of false perceptions.  He pretty much knew we would do that.  Hence the second part of instruction in that Proverb not to lean there, but to lean into Him.  Trust Him.  Believe Him.

The verse following says, “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”

He will make our path straight, not make our plan turn out.

So what does it mean to “acknowledge” God?  Simply, it means “to know”.  You trust the people you know the best, don’t you?  I know I do.  That’s the point He’s trying to make here.  When we know Him well we can believe He is for us and trust His path is better than our plan.

And what’s a “straight path”?  One that is pleasing or agreeable.

We have no idea what the end result would be of some of our own planned paths.  But we are assured that the path He takes us on will be good.  Our flesh wants to know.  Our flesh thinks it knows what’s best.  Only God really knows.  We can choose to lament what we think we’ve lost or we can give thanks for Him stepping in to our situation to change things for us so we receive something better.

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

I think it’s interesting to note that one of the most famous verses we cling to in times of difficulty mentions the plans He has for us.  The word “plan” in the original Hebrew is defined “thought”.  His thoughts toward you and I are for our welfare, our peace—a future full of confident expectation in His goodwill for our lives.

I don’t know about you, but I need that to sink deep down.

His plans for me are His thoughts toward me and they are good—full of peace, hope, joy, and promises fulfilled.

 

Where is your struggle?  Is it in letting go of disappointment?  Anger or resentment when you believe your plan’s been hijacked by another person or circumstance?  Do you struggle with letting God call the shots of your life?  Or, like me, is your belief in God’s opinion of you holding you back from trusting Him?

When it comes to plans or thoughts – yours or God’s – chime in!  I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Comments

  1. 4

    says

    Robin, Robin, Robin–we definitely share some of the same struggles. My struggle is the WAIT which, unfortunately, has caused me much grief when I run ahead of God. But I am learning to surrender; although it’s a daily struggle.

    His thoughts and ways are higher than mine so I’m always raising mine to His by the Word of God.

    Blessings sister!

  2. 8

    says

    This sentence of yours “He will make our path straight, not make our plan turn out.” really struck me. That’s important. When I was in college (and really, really didn’t want to be in college, but was following my parents’ guidance), the verses I clung to were Hebrew 12:1-2, particularly the phrase “Run with endurance the race set before you”–it meant a lot to me in that time to realize that the race had been set before me, that it was okay that it’s not the race I would have chosen to run if I’d had my pick.

    • 9

      says

      Thanks for sharing your own story, perspective, and the verses in Hebrews. [I’m especially attached to v. 2 there, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”] So often we find ourselves in a race we didn’t sign up for.

  3. 10

    says

    I laughed when I saw your post – We Plan…God Laughs!! because it is so true! Letting go and Letting God is always a struggle for me, but the longer I walk in His ways, the easier it gets to just trust Him. Jer 29:11 has been a long time favorite verse of mine. Thanks for sharing an insightful lesson!

  4. 12

    says

    It is difficult to trust in God’s plan sometimes, especially during times when a loved one is ill or struggling. Sometimes it is hard to trust and recognize that His plan can be quite different from our own.

  5. 14

    says

    God knows we are “but flesh” so I tend to think God looks over us and has compassion for our struggles much the same we we watch a little one try to learn to tie their shoe. He knows when to step in and help and when to let us struggle to become better and stronger. Do not stress yourself. God loves us enough to understand where we are and what we need. He cares. Don’t doubt He has our best in mind.

    He never sacrifices our good for His own glory, nor sacrifices His own glory for our good. He’s good like that. He knows how, who, when and where and does it all perfectly.

    • 15

      says

      To “not stress” and “don’t doubt” are exactly where we all want to live. It can be hard though–especially if you’ve been wounded in such a way that you question your value to God. I struggled for years thinking He got the most glory when I went through the most pain–because it was true! My most painful circumstances spoke to others and were a powerful testimony. Didn’t make them any less hard or sad to walk through.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  6. 16

    says

    Wow. Quite a thought provoking post! After battling thyroid cancer this year I finally learned to give Him ALL of my trust and it has been freeing! No longer do I worry or stumble, but seeing the light each and everyday, knowing that He has it all planned out is wonderful!

  7. 18

    says

    I loved this post! It is absolutely true that we plan all the time and then God is like no sorry but that’s not the way I’m going to go. I’ve learned in this life with God you can never truly plan. The best plan is to allow Him to lead and guide you. He always knows best. I’ve also learned that the best way to see yourself is through God’s eyes. His view of us, is incredibly awesome! So much more beautiful than we could ever imagine.

    • 19

      says

      “I’ve also learned that the best way to see yourself is through God’s eyes. His view of us, is incredibly awesome! So much more beautiful than we could ever imagine.”

      Yes! I couldn’t agree more! Thanks for sharing, Chicki! [sweet name!]

  8. 21

    says

    While I’ve never doubted God’s love for me or plan for my life, I do admit the struggle of waiting. Of stepping out in faith and seeing God, but then not seeing Him and then feeling stuck in the wonder of what’s next. I left my job two years ago to be home with my babies because the call was so strong to leave. It’s been quite a journey of faith for our family in many ways. And it’s good. And God is good. But the financial struggle is so hard right now and we’re in a place of waiting for God’s plan and timing, but also needing to make some big decisions that have allowed doubt to creep in as to why things are getting so bad. And in the midst of it all, I trust God, I know He has us and sees us and loves us, but oh, the waiting. And the not knowing. It really is hard.

    • 22

      says

      Thanks for sharing your personal struggle so honestly! I agree–it is really hard. God has often reminded me that my faith is strong, my trust is strong, but the battle is real, and what we experience sometimes is truly battle fatigue. I am praying for you right now, Allison, that God would clearly make known to you what the right decisions are for you and your family. I pray that He wraps His loving arms around you so very tightly that you actually feel His embrace. May your hope only grow stronger during the rough time of waiting on Him. Bless you!

  9. 23

    says

    Oh my! My struggle is a biggy. After leaving my life long Church 3 years ago for reasons we could no longer ignore, I have struggled with my belief and faith in general. Don’t get me wrong, I know in my core, but I am left feeling unsure how to proceed in growing my faith again. That Church felt like home and while I know I cannot in good conscience return to there, I know similar things are happening in parishes all over. Maybe I am just over thinking, but I just can’t gage the feeling in my gut as to how (and where) to re-enter and begin building and strengthening my faith again.

    • 24

      says

      That is big, Maureen. And in part, I can relate. We left the church I grew up in, where my husband and I met, married, and dedicated our first 4 children. For 4 1/2 yrs, God worked in my heart and mind through the Holy Spirit. Freeing me in so many ways. Teaching me. Growing me. In the end, He did direct us back to our original church, but that was our experience. It was the journey He had for our family. But it was a lot of internal work in my heart that He wanted to do that took a season in the wilderness. I pray that God will strengthen you as He directs you in the way you should go. And I am confidently expectant for you that He has some wonderful growth and lavish blessings ahead for you in all this.

  10. 27

    says

    I have always believed that God helps those that help themselves. Letting Go and Letting God is hard for me. But We Plan and God Laughs is definitely a theme I see over and over.

    I do get how you may have taken it quite personal, as you struggled to be organized.

    • 28

      says

      Well, I didn’t take it personal because I didn’t like my organization to be messed with. My struggle, at the core, was that I didn’t think God really care about me personally. I was just one of the many included in “For God so loved the world…” I didn’t struggle so much with my plans being undone, but with the thinking that He didn’t care about me so what was important to me wouldn’t be important to Him. If something bad happened, I couldn’t see any good in it. Through my lens of hurt, I only saw that I was not important enough to Him to protect or help or have a good outcome.

  11. 29

    says

    Your post really hit home! I often feel like I am disappointing God as well as everyone around me. I am a perfectionist and there is no way to be perfect! I get frustrated and have to stop and realize that doing my best is showing that I love my family even if it’s not perfection. It’s an ongoing process and I am growing from it.

  12. 31

    says

    I really love the way you use bold print in your post to draw the eye. It seems like the words your chose to bold were just the right ones. I know that God laughs every time I say, “I’ll never”, because it seems that some time later, I’m doing just what I said I’d never do. It’s happened a few times. I’ve mostly learned not to say that phrase anymore. 😉

  13. 32

    Tiki says

    I was just having a convo about God’s plans and timing earlier today. Things kept going wrong but I had faith that God would turn them around in his time. Today was the best day I’ve had in a long time and I feel beyond blessed and loved by God.

  14. 36

    says

    First of all, I am a professional organizer to bringing order and calm to a situation is what i do. So keeping things in order helps me be more in control. However, not for a moment do I feel that I am fully in control. I know that God does have a master plan and at times, I just have to let that plan happen (well, most of the time).

  15. 39

    says

    After becoming sick with a rare autoimmune disease that left me, for the most part, homebound in 2011, I have learned that life plans do not always go as expected. Prior to getting sick, I was a busy, happy, and active person with a career as a physician and a life full of possibility.

    I now have learned to appreciate each day and despite my current life situation, I have great peace and hope for someday being able to live a more active life. This comfort and hope I have is because of my faith. God has gifted me with a new outlook on life and I hope I never forgot to be grateful for his love.

  16. 40

    says

    Amen. This is exactly what I needed right now. I have been asking all of those questions.. though I KNOW God is there and cares very much for my future. Thank you for the beautiful reminder.

  17. 41

    says

    Thanks so much for this reminder. I always want to be in control and struggle so when “my plans” don’t work out. This is a reminder I need daily and to try and live out…surrender. Thanks again, great article!

  18. 42

    says

    Thank you for this great reminder to trust God no matter what. When I was in college I would often get stuck trying to praying God to my point of view so that I could date certain girls. I am so glad that God taught me to pray for His will and trust Him.

  19. 44

    says

    This is where Hearing God’s Voice and Obedience come into place. If we can learn those two, life would be much better, but then again, it is not an easy stroll in the park

  20. 45

    says

    I loved your post. And I really loved seeing in the comments that I am not alone in not having a church home anymore. I visited another one today. These past few years have been lonely without a home church. I know I am not the same person I was a few years ago. And I really have no idea where He is taking me. I pretty much have to lean on Jeremiah 29:11.

    • 46

      says

      I am saddened that you don’t have a church home. Fellowship in the Body is crucial for our well-being. I am praying for you, Anne-Marie, and that God leads you to the right tribe for you real soon!

  21. 47

    says

    Great reminder. I try to make my plans according to God’s will because He knows what is best. He’s already changed my plans a few times on this life’s journey. It might not have been what I originally would have done, but He stretches me. His plans are always better than mine:).

  22. 48

    says

    Oh, how I can relate to this right now. I have been dealing with so much disappointment lately, and I tend to think that means I’m a failure and maybe God is unhappy with me. But I’m learning that it’s not always about me (that’s a tough pill to swallow!), and that He has so many amazing things in store for me, far greater than the plans I have for myself.

  23. 49

    says

    So that phrase seems to come from the Yiddish – Man plans and God laughs. God definitely has a sense of humour, and where He takes us is often nowhere near where we thought we would be. :)

  24. 50

    says

    Thank you for this! We plan He laughs!! I so agree! I planned out when I would have a kid and he laughed. Now he is making me wait a little longer then expected! I struggle with driving the car called life!

  25. 51

    says

    Waiting is hard and something my husband and I are struggling with right now. There are changes we know we need to make in our lives but we are waiting on God to make sure that is what He wants. Also, the changes involve leaving somethings we are involved with now but not knowing what to do or where to go once we leave…. its hard! But I was reminded last week by a good friend…. Sometimes we can be so scared to make a mistake that we don’t do anything. If you happen to mis-step, God will not throw you away or ignore you. He will bring you through.

  26. 54

    says

    My biggest struggle right now is between my calling (as a life coach) & my current job. I’m trying to do both but feel like I’m running backwards. I want to step out big and go full time my calling as there are so many people in this world who have such tremendous potential yet don’t have even one person who believes in them. I want to help people, support my family & be able to give back to the church big! I have no doubt on my calling I just doubt on the when portion of it.

  27. 55

    says

    Great post! My biggest struggle is with patience. I know God has amazing plans (thoughts) for me and trust in that, but sometimes I’m impatient. :) Whenever I get that way, I just take a step back and look at everything He’s already blessed me with, and then I’m good. Love the magnet! It would make me laugh to see that on my fridge every day. XOXO, Erin

  28. 57

    says

    I used to make really strenuous plans for life and the older I have become the more they have turned into just “suggestions” for my life. I decided I had a lot of goals, but I didn’t want them to become a stumbling block for my faith. It has been a huge blessing because over time I have found a lot of my goals have been met in ways I wasn’t expecting. Lovely post!

  29. 58

    says

    So good! I feel this very same way. In my life I define it as expectations. We make a plan according to our expectations and are upset when they do not work out how we expected them to. In my life, I tag expectation as sin. It’s a lack of my faith in the God of the universe who has my best in mind and I want to cooperate with His plan. Thank you so much for sharing!

  30. 60

    says

    My biggest struggle is always with thinking I have handed the reins over to God, only to realize I have taken them back. I think (always mistakenly) that I can do such a better job with my life. I am getting better…wiser…as I get older and realizing that He just wants whats best ALWAYS for me, so I should sit back & let Him guide.

  31. 61

    says

    We plan…God laughs is too funny to me! It’s so true you can plan and plan and plan but then you need to let go and go with the flow! things happen for a reason and there’s a bigger plan in the works :)

  32. 62

    says

    I always believe that everything that happens in our daily life has been planned already, but still we own our happiness and every little things that involves our feelings, depends on us. We can be happy despite of frustrations and disappointments… people might think I am naive, but I know I am just a broadminded person who understands even the little things that bother others. I don’t worry much on things, my priority is my family and that we believe in God and we are not harming or hurting anyone, that is what matter’s most, for me. (“,) Oh my! I didn’t realized I wrote a lot hahaha…. Creat a great day! (“,)

  33. 63

    says

    That was some good preaching. Continously ministering to the broken-hearted, addicts, poor, and much more, I struggle with not giving up when you reach out, see progress, then watch them fall over and over again.

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