It’s Simple, Stupid

God’s plan for your life is not confusing. But it may be disappointing.

How many times have you said (or heard someone else say) something like “I just don’t know what God wants me to do here, I’m just so confused!” I’ve done it, and I’ll bet you have, too.

If we’re being totally honest with ourselves, though, what we ought to be saying is this: “I want something for myself other than what God does.”

April and I have made a lot of changes over the past three years, all in hopes for a better future. I went back to school, she started a new career, and we’ve made some pretty major changes to our budget in order to save and give more. All the while, we had in mind a clear picture of what we wanted our lives to look like as a result of our actions. Three years later, quite frankly, that picture hasn’t materialized.

It’s really tempting to call ourselves failures. To throw our hands up and call it quits. Go back to the way it was before. We’ve spent three years living according to the principles of some of the most well-respected financial, marriage, and career advisers around. We’ve thoughtfully developed measurable goals and committed ourselves to achieving them over time through simple, daily practices. By every worldly measure, we’re doing what we should. So why haven’t we moved on to the next chapter in our lives? Easy. We’ve been working toward the wrong goals: ours.

Blasphemous as it may sound, I have to admit that I’m disappointed sometimes by God’s plans. It doesn’t seem fair that we can work hard and commit ourselves to noble goals and still fail. But it’s helpful to remember that God has a different perspective. From his vantage point, our lives are not as confusing and muddled as they appear to us.

If you’re twenty or older, you probably look back on your teenage years and roll your eyes at how little you knew about life. I spent the better part of a decade confused and riddled with angst. I couldn’t understand how I life could be so painful. Why the girls I liked didn’t like me back. Why friends did things to hurt and upset me. Why things I did went unnoticed by people I wanted to impress. In retrospect, I realize that my life wasn’t confusing at all, I just lacked the perspective to understand its simplicity. I missed out on the fun of being a kid. Humbling as it is, I accept that the same is true of my life now. I spend so much time and energy working toward my own goals, I fail sometimes to appreciate the gifts God gives me to enjoy in this particular season of life.

If you’re confused by God’s apparent will for your life, you’re probably trying too hard to figure out the wrong plan. God doesn’t hurt, confuse, or manipulate us. We do those things to ourselves when we try and either avoid his plans or manipulate them for our own gain. Stop fighting it, accept that His will is better than your own, and you’ll I’ll wager confusion and hurt will give way to joy and courage almost immediately.

Philippians 3: 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.”

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One response to “It’s Simple, Stupid

  • Cara

    So, I realize that this wasn’t meant specifically for me [;-)] but I definitely needed to hear it this week. It’s hard when your life suddenly takes a dramatic turn from where you thought it was going. Hard, scary, and confusing. I can’t (at the moment) begin to guess what God’s plan for me is but I’m trying to just step back and wait and see what He brings and trust that whatever it is it’s what’s best for me in the end.

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