by Shayla Asselin
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
At the wise age of eighteen, I had the next ten years of my life planned out. I didn’t know who I would marry; but in my life’s planner, I was scheduled to be graduated from college by the Spring of 2016 and be married in the Winter of 2016. In 2017, we would buy our first home – which would be white or yellow (I was trying to be flexible with God and give Him a couple of paint color options, ya know) with a white picket fence. In 2018, we would have our first child and probably another one in 2020. Well, seven years have passed and, spoiler alert: only one thing on my life’s planner actually happened according to my timeline. (I graduated college in May of 2016.)
Admittedly, by about year three of my plan, I was a little frustrated with my life. Growing up, I heard the preachers tell the young people, “God has a special plan for your life. God wants to use you.” And I did (and still do) believe that God has a unique plan for each of our lives, but I struggled with the uncertainty I had about my future. I’m a planner. I love when everything fits into the cute little box of certainty. Dinners are planned. Vacations are planned months, and even years, in advance. House plans have been drawn fifteen plus years in advance. Campmeeting outfits are already picked out. I’ll confess, I might be a little obsessive when it comes to planning. So, as you can imagine, when it comes to the journey of my life, I wanted to know what God had planned for me.
After a few months of trying to find God’s will for my life, I decided to help Him out a little bit. I pulled out my life’s planner, adjusted some timelines, and went to organizing. I chose goals and ambitions that I was sure would make God proud. I’d pursue a good job so I could make a lot of money and be able to donate money to the church, evangelists, and missionaries. I’d marry a good guy who had a good education and a good job so we could donate even more money to the church. I’d do this good thing and pursue that good thing because it couldn’t hurt, right? The only problem is, just because it’s a good thing doesn’t mean it’s God’s will for your life. Just because it’s a good job, doesn’t mean it’s the job God wants to use you in. Just because he’s a good guy, doesn’t mean he and you are the ones who will help each other fulfill God’s perfect will in your life.
See, just because it may be God’s will for someone else’s life, doesn’t mean it’s God’s will for my life. I am not called to become someone I am not in pursuit of what I want. I was getting distracted trying to fulfill God’s plan for someone else’s life.
Psalm 37:23 tells us that “the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.” I think the reason the word “steps” is used here is that if God were to show us every valley, heartache, and disappointment, we’d be hesitant to walk the path He has planned for us. Sometimes our paths involve cancer, miscarriage, death, loneliness, and so much more; but knowing that all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose gives us the confidence we need to trust him. Hebrews 10:36 says, “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”
In other words, I have to be willing to endure the process in order to attain the promise.
If my life had gone according to my plans seven years ago, I would not be where I am today. The truth is, I can’t handle God’s will. I can’t manipulate it and put it on a schedule that fits better with the plans I have for my life. I tried, but I’ll be the first to admit I made a mess of things. As crazy and bumpy as the journey has been for the past seven years, I am happier and more at peace with my life now because I acknowledged that God’s will for my life was far greater than my plans. Over the past three years, I learned that my plans will never be more sufficient than God’s providence.
In the spirit of transparency, I’ll tell you that the tendency to plan my life is still something I struggle with from time to time. When that controlling habit starts to resurface, I have to look back over my life and see how faithful and good God has been to me in every situation and trust that He is working all things together for my good. In times of uncertainty, I walk confidently in what I know God’s plan for my daily life is according to Scripture.
I wish I could tell that I had God’s will all figured out, and if you followed these three steps, you would know God’s will in just five days…but I don’t, so I can’t. Sometimes, God leads us outside of our comfort zones, and sometimes, He anoints our strengths and interests. When my heart's desire becomes Christ’s, He gives me the desires of my heart. When the time comes, and you feel God calling you to something specifically, walk confidently in the knowledge that “he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:6) Don’t defer your destiny by wasting time questioning God’s will for your life when you know what God has called you to do.
There comes a time when you have to stop fleecing God’s will and start fulfilling God’s will.
In the pursuit of your life’s purpose, remember this: God’s will. God’s way.