We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
-Proverbs 16:9 NLT
You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.
-Proverbs 19:21 NLT
It’s almost humorous how nearly exact these two scriptures are, and they’re so close to each other in placement. In a nutshell, these simple yet profound proverbs say what we don’t really want to hear: you’re not in control.
As the ultimate planner of the century, this is hard to take. I feel like sometimes I live by planning things out perfectly. I may not be the greatest executioner, but I can plan like a champion. To read, and thus believe, that despite me making all the plans for every aspect of my life God’s intentions will override me…it doesn’t come easy. Since I was very young I have struggled with the problem of living in the future. A majority of people seem to find the past hard to get over, but not me. I, unfortunately, twitch and worry and agonize over the future, both near and distant. I cannot tell what is worse.
When I say that some may think, “but what’s wrong with that? Shouldn’t we live for the future after all?” No, honestly we should really live for the present. And my problem isn’t living for the future. I’m living in the future. Thus the present slips by me and I fail to cherish it for what it’s worth and enjoy the moment. Always my mind is five minutes ahead of me, constantly planning, constantly considering, constantly analyzing. Constantly worrying.
These scriptures are not telling us to ignore the importance of being prepared and ready for the future. Planning itself is not an evil thing. They communicate that despite our plans, however good they are, what God has planned for us will ultimately override our own and make them void. That can either drive us mad and send us into a endless tunnel of frustration and disappointment, or, if we operate in trust, flexibility, and open-mindedness, it can bring us peace when we realize that we need not stress over stuff.
These scriptures are asking us to accept this truth. Attempting to take sole control of your life will just leave you miserable because you’ll be working against God.
Make your plans. Set some goals. For goodness sake have some dreams. BUT! Do not put your plans on a pedestal and become unhealthily attached to them, because they may very likely change, or not even happen. Be ready to give them up for God’s purpose. Your life will always be the better for it.