Trusting God When He Changes Your Plans

 This post is part of the Salt and Light Link-Up here! Tons of other great Christian bloggers are there as well – go check it out!

What happens when God takes your plans

and turns them upside down?

Extreme resistance.

If you’re like me, this phase lasts roughly a year. You KNOW the plan is changing, you KNOW you’re being pulled in a new direction, and you KNOW you’re going to drag your feet the entire way.

I’m a real joy to be around when the idea isn’t mine.

To everything, its season

Thankfully, I wasn’t jarred into a [what felt like] a drastic life change because of some catastrophic event. It was simply discussing with my husband how we should proceed in the foreseeable future. We’re in this wonderful period of raising young children. While that is precious and short, it brings with it different responsibilities and priorities.

Our decision as a couple has been, from the get-go, that I would be the primary parent at home, at least during our children’s formative years. We believe this is a Biblical position, and it also suits each of our bents. I love being at home (sometimes verging on hermit-like behavior), and I love spending the majority of my time with our kids.

Now that they’re both older and our family schedule has a little more going on (a couple of extracurriculars, church plant involvement, and time with extended family), it was time to reevaluate what was working and what wasn’t. I wish I could say that I approached it with that level of detached logic. But, as my husband would attest, I HATE CHANGE. And that’s still only part of the issue.

Who am I following, myself or God?

I can’t speak for other fields, but if you’re a dancer, you probably tend to derive at least a little of your identity from your work as an artist. I’ve talked about this before…This can lead to a sense of crisis when your ballet career (which has a notoriously short lifespan) comes to an end. Not an ideal situation. Not a God-honoring mentality, either.

To be sure, it’s a beautiful thing when God has gifted someone with a skill and passion, and it is used to glorify Him and benefit others. I was a happy participant in that arrangement my whole life. It feels easy, and natural, and COMFORTABLE. That’s the key word, right there.

 

Trusting God when He changes your plans

But what is our response when it becomes clear that God has other plans in mind?

Turns out, it means some deeper change has to take place. I have to find out just how serious I am when I ask Him to use me in this world. Do I really mean that? Am I really willing to sacrifice my limited, temporary desires for His bigger goals?

Do I REALLY TRUST that He knows me better than I do?

These are questions I’m still answering, because I’m an imperfect and sinful human being. But, finally, the answers are becoming “yes” more and more. The funny thing is, I’m being reminded almost constantly of loves and skills I had all but forgotten about from my varied interests as a kid.

For example, I LOVED to write when I was younger, and LOVED to paint. They just happened to be lesser than my desire to dance at the time, so they took a major backseat.

Not just the “what”, but the WHY

The further along I get on this thing, the more I think a creative is a creative is a creative. We, all of us, have that unquenchable desire to produce something, to express. I’m also coming to believe that many of us (absolutely including myself) are not made to do just this one “thing” in life.

A better choice is to look around at what gifts I’ve been given—both those honed and developed over time and those still somewhat raw—and lay them out before God. Then to ask, “Ok, what do you want to do with this one right now? Anything?”

Sometimes the answer is to USE it and use it big. That’s exciting, to know I’m using what I’ve got for its intended purpose.

Sometimes the answer is that it’s simply not the focus at this time. That’s ok too. The stuff of this world doesn’t last, except in its use for eternal agendas.

Our respective gifts are merely tools, to be picked up and set down as needed. As wonderful a feeling as it is to use them, and use them well, they are not to become the ultimate source of fulfillment.

What’s your experience in this area?

Have you been interrupted by God’s re-routing?

How did you respond?

Let me know in the comments!

Related Reading:

How I Learned My True Identity

I’ll Go First: Lessons in Faith from a 5 Year-Old

We’re All Called to Work in Ministry

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11 Replies to “Trusting God When He Changes Your Plans”

  1. Hi Ivy!!! This post was so timely for me and it’s got me thinking about my situation. Mind if I send you a message? I’d love your advice on it!

    1. Hi Talisa! Thanks for reading! I’m so glad it was helpful. I’d be more than happy to talk with you, and to help if I can! 🙂

  2. I’ve been re-routed since high school, I feel like. I wanted to marry my high school sweetheart and be a stay-at-home mom. So I held on to a relationship for way too long. I ended up going to college, even though I didn’t want to, and became a nurse, which I NEVER planned to be. Even when I decided on a career in health care, I originally aspired to be more than “just a nurse” because I was “too smart” to stop there. When I finished nursing school I figured I’d either move permanently to the mountains, or buy a house in Wichita. In reality I rented an apt, gained a wide variety of nursing experience, then did travel nursing. My main goal with travel nursing was to find a husband in a different place and settle down ANYWHERE outside of KS. Yet over that year and a half I craved to be back in the place I was all too excited to leave. So here I am, slowly letting go of things I think I want and need the most, and doing my best to let God have control and lead me. There are days when I dig my heels in the ground, grab the steering wheel, etc. Then there are days when I say, “Alright God, what’s the next surprise adventure?”

    1. Steph, it’s so cool to hear your story!! I think it’s an ongoing battle between our desire to be in God’s will and our deeply embedded ideas of what and who we’re “supposed” to be. I’m finding also that a hidden spiritual benefit of all this plan-changing on God’s part is that it’s not even POSSIBLE for me to take credit for where my life has ended up – total dependence on Him!

      Thanks so much for sharing!! Btw, I’m glad you moved back home. 🙂

  3. The journey is exciting. It is always changing. We are actually looking into the possibility of my husband staying home and finishing school while I work full time. God leads us down different paths at different stages in our lives and I’m excited to see what’s next.

    1. The whole thing changes when you look at it with excitement! 🙂 Blessings in your next stage, however it looks!

  4. This a great read, Ivy and pertains to my life 100%. I, too, am not a huge fan of change, but I guess God has other plans for us right now.

    My husband was comfortably nestled in his great paying job and I was happily home taking care of our 2 kids. We didn’t want for anything. Anything we wanted, we had.

    He was laid off last March from the oil and gas business, and had the hardest time finding anything else. Finally he decided to start his own business. I was so shocked, but he steam-rolled ahead even though I voiced my reservations. We are still working out the kinks, but we are up and running now. It’s slow, but I have faith it will get better.

    This is why I started my blog as well. Writing is the only thing I think I’ve ever been good at, so I thought I’d try to make a little $ from it, while still being able to stay home for my kids.

    Thank you for the this article, I really needed to read this right now. <3

    1. So cool to hear some of your story, Amy! Those massive changes can be so hard, but that’s awesome how you guys are moving forward in a new way! So glad you enjoyed this; I love reading your stuff too!

  5. Oh, dear…. YES!! To all of this. There is so much meat here! When I was young, all I wanted to do was go to West Point and serve my country in the Army. 10 years a husband and one kid after graduating, we decided God was leading me in a different direction. It’s been a wild ride, but so worth it! We must be careful not to idolize our gifts. They are meant for His glory! Great read and just what I needed to think on as we prepare for a big move this summer! Blessings!

  6. “Who am I following, myself or God?” Such a hard question to face honestly, but SO important. Thanks for this encouragement today!

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