I’m a planner. Ask my friends and family. I like to know where I’m going and what I’m doing. I like to have it all organized and planned out so that I can get as much done as possible. Knowing what plans I have or events are on the calendar helps me figure out what else I can get done.
But I’m learning that I don’t have to have it all planned out. When I have a really defined long-term plan, I get too far ahead of myself. I get too far ahead of God. I reach a point where I no longer need to rely on Him for provision.
Instead, I fool myself into thinking that I have everything worked out for a while, all my needs provided for. Things inevitably don’t go the way I planned, of course, often causing a whirlwind of futile attempts to set everything to rights by my own strength. But the things in my life, right or wrong, are beyond my control sometimes.
In order to get me to open my eyes to the fragility of my plans, emptiness of my dreams, and selfishness of my heart, God allows me to encounter situations that challenge my self-sufficiency, reminding me that I can’t rely on my own plans and provision.
When our landlords told us they were moving ahead with the construction plans for the house this fall, my roommates and I were taken by surprise. The timeline had been shortened more than we had expected, and we were left with more questions than answers as we began to survey our options.
I kept telling myself we had plenty of time to find something, since we were planning on renting again, and postings didn’t go up too early in advance. I also knew from previous experience that it’s hard for me to be content with my current surroundings when I have a new place that I’m looking forward to. I get too far ahead of myself, dreaming about what I’m going to do with the new space, forgetting about the place and people currently around me. I wanted to steer clear of that this time, making sure I didn’t let the glittering allure of the next stage of life detract from my enjoyment of the place I was already in.
I knew God would provide a place, and as things seemed to move at a snail’s pace while the days flew by at warp speed, it was a comfort to know that we had a back-up plan of moving back in with our parents. But my sister and I recognized how inconvenient that arrangement would be for everyone involved. We trusted instead that we would come across the right place at the right time, even if it meant loosening our expectations and learning through trial and error, both of which we did by the time the search was over. But we knew we had to be faithful, trusting in His timing, knowing that He’s never late and seldom early. He provides for our needs for today, not all of our needs for every day all at once. He doles them out in smaller portions to keep our eyes trained on Him, to keep us close to Him. And, boy, did we have to stay close to Him during this experience, taking things just one step at a time.
My sister and I just signed a one-year lease for an apartment not too far from where we’ve been living. But I have absolutely no clue what life looks like beyond that. It’s a blank slate. No five-year plan for this planning-happy girl. That’s both exciting and frightening for my Type-A brain, but I’m trying to wrap my head around it. It’s an adventure. It’s my adventure. It could go in any number of directions from here. And that’s a beautiful thing.
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” -Martin Luther King Jr.