Chucking the Five-Year Plan

Last week, when I mentioned the fact that I used to be a girl with a plan, it got me thinking. And remembering.

Sometimes in the busyness of the here and now, we don’t always take time to look back, to remember, and to appreciate the view – the maze of events, and the twists and turns of the journey that God has used to bring us to now.

In the years that Ben and I have spent doing youth/camp ministry, I have loved every opportunity I’ve had to talk with young adults. I just love that age. I don’t even know why, exactly – maybe because they are in such a time of figuring things out – figuring out what they truly believe, and what they want to do with the rest of their lives, and whom they want to spend the rest of their lives with.

They’re so willing to get messy – to deal with the tough stuff. They are open and searching, and wanting to figure things out. They have so many questions, and so many areas of life that are unknown and unpredictable.

I guess I just love being around to help people work through the mess in any way I can.

Anyway, during those years of ministry, I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked how a person figures out what God’s will is for their life. That is such a huge question. The way we deal with it will affect us for the rest of our lives.

And I don’t think there is a neat, tidy, easy answer.

What I’ve ended up doing over and over again is to tell people exactly that.  Every person and every situation is different, and God speaks in different ways. There is no set of instructions or steps to follow that will give the same results every time.

I can’t give them answers, but I can pray with them, and share my story – the ways that God has led me, and how I continue to work my own way through the mess.

As I use that word “messy”, I’m realizing how negative it sounds. We often tend to see “mess” as a bad thing.

But “messy” can be good!

When it’s rained, and there are puddles and mud everywhere, I strongly encourage getting messy! When the snow is melting in the early spring, the air is so fresh, and everything is mud and running water, getting dirty is definitely necessary! Anika should come inside wet and muddy and dirty and messy when she’s been playing in all that. It’s what being a kid is all about. She’s exploring and reveling in God’s nature.

When I had a five-year plan, my life looked very neat and tidy…and it was boring. I was the one in control.

But God knows me better than I know myself – seeing as He made me.

And once I started to surrender everything over to Him, and to seek His will for my life, I began to discover that there was so much more to life than I had ever let myself imagine.

When I say that I continue to work through the mess, I mean that I am exploring, and reveling in God’s plan for my life.

Over the next few weeks, I want to share parts of my story here.

I think that when we share our stories, we realize that we’re not alone in the tough, confusing spots.

We can find out about the ways in which God has worked, and still is working, and it causes us to praise Him more.

It reminds us of what we already know, but it’s good to hear it again!

So, stay tuned for the Chucking of the Five-Year Plan!

labyrinth picture: Simon Garbutt, 8 Nov 2005