Plans are Guidelines, not Deadlines
“The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps" - Proverbs 16-9
I don't know about you, but I am definitely a planner. I love knowing my next step, whether it’s on a daily basis or just life in general. I find it so satisfying writing down a list and then ticking it off - there is so much pleasure in the self victories. I think I have a list for just about everything in life, but don't get me wrong I never follow that list completely. In fact my lists seem to go missing just like our socks, when I put them in the washing machine. I probably sound organised, but that’s a total lie, I'm really not. This is why I like to plan or I end up not doing anything productive - a plan motivates me to do more than I would normally do.
Let's face it, we can never really be that organised because we don't know the future. You may find yourself waking up late or you feel unwell or you may have children, and then that's definitely it, you can't really stick to any kind of plan unless you want to be miserable. But right now we are all in this storm, experiencing unknown and frightening times, where Covid-19 has interrupted our entire life. It's important to know that we may be in the storm together, but we are not in the same boat because we all have different experiences of life right now. Some of us made plans to have a holiday, birthday parties to attend, family meetups at which all have had to be cancelled. For a lot of us, we have feared or even struggled to put food on the table for our children. A friend of mine has planned her wedding all year round and had to cancel their plans. Also there might be someone who has lost a loved one, parents, brothers, sisters or even children. This is just a small list of plans that have had to change, no-one plans to lose a loved one.
How can you ever plan for that? The answer is, you can't.
When we make plans, there's a life that flows through it, which is hopeful and exciting. Looking back when my second child was conceived, I used to sit up daydreaming of the day both brothers would play together. I would write about what life would look like when Reuben would finally be healed. I had a whole life mapped out for him. Sadly my plans had to change because he didn't even get to come home with us. I found myself one minute planning the future, then the next planning his funeral.
Keeping our plans as guidelines leads us to GRACE, but planning with a deadline can lead to DISAPPOINTMENT. Especially when it's out of our control, just like the world we are living in right now. Guidelines allow joy to fill your household, where deadlines fill your house with control and take all the joy out of a moment as you're thinking of what should have been. Guidelines allow you to be present and allow room for freedom, yet Deadlines captivate you and don't allow you to experience new things.
‘Guidelines lead to grace, and deadlines can lead to disappointment’
This is a continuous lesson in our household. I’m learning to make a plan, but I don't allow that plan to control me. I hand it over to God quietly throughout the day when I find myself feeling frustrated. I try to allow space for new things to happen. So I may have planned a great learning game for Elijah, but he decides that he wants to ride his bike instead. Especially while in isolation, I have to remember why I originally planned the day out for him - it is always for his joy and his sake. So I take a breath, and allow the day to be what it happens to be. I am learning to let go of my original plans for God's present blessing. We need to always remember, you haven't failed for allowing room for change.
‘You haven't failed for allowing room for change.'
Let's take a look back at the Bible reading for today:
“The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps “ Proverbs 16-9
I absolutely love the fact that our Father in heaven takes notices of all our ways, thoughts and desires. This tells us it's okay to dream and make plans, but in the end it will be God who establishes our steps. It doesn't mean God controls our every step, but it does mean allowing room for surrender. Choosing to let go of what could happen is the starting point for your freedom in planning.
Some of us think God is our RIDE rather than our GUIDE. Jesus isn't our uber driver, we can't get in the back seat and give out our directions. Jesus will gently guide us, but we have to be available to listen to the voice of God. Ultimately, God guides our paths when we seek Him. So if we prayerfully ask God to guide us, we can then be at peace when the unknown happens.
It tells us in the Bible...
“The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty. But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.” - Proverbs 21-5
The words ‘diligent’ and ‘hasty’ are the most important words we need to take out of this passage. ‘Diligent’ simply means ‘working hard’, and it tells us that when we do this it leads to plenty. What you put in, is what you get out. But there's a catch: you can not be hasty! Basically, you can't rush ahead with your plans. There has to be a pause and I call this, a space of surrender. Sometimes we can be so hasty in our plans and miss out on what we really desire to happen. If we are careful and prayerful with our plans, it will give us the gift of PLENTY.
So we know it's perfectly okay to plan ahead, and thank God because we get so much joy out of it. We also learn through both scriptures, it's not wise to plan without first surrendering our desires.
If we let Jesus be our guideline, our road will be full of grace. I feel we have to be so careful of not falling into the trap of having too many unachievable deadlines. Deadlines have to be used for some parts of our lives. Most of the time this is used for work, as I know my husband has to work like this, but maybe you can use God as your guide rather than struggle and be frustrated. (I hope you're reading this Hubby mwah x).
Be kind to yourself and find freedom in the guidelines of GRACE.
Devotional Time my friends!
Time to process what you have just read from today's edition:
Feelings - I challenge you to write down, how you feel about where you are right now.
Have you had plans cancelled? Are you feeling disappointed ? Or are you happy with the change of plans?
Focus -Take time to focus on where you currently find yourself. Have become a slave to your deadlines? Maybe writing them down will help.
Change - Now its time to write down what you could change in your life. Start walking in the guidelines of grace and surrendering your plans to God.
Love Leah x