Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16)
There is a very fine line between planning and trusting.
The line is so thin, it is hard to find. Have I made plans because I wasn’t trusting God to show up for me and was thinking I had to take care of myself?
Have I not planned enough because I was shirking my responsibility to handle something well and counting on God to make things all better?
If not one side or the other, where then is the line? I am not going to articulate where this critically important line is in a short blog post. The line is a bit mysterious, discovered by faith and differs by person, but to discuss its existence and the importance of finding it is certainly worth wrestling with because it’s one of the keys to successful living.
The bible says: The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
Why make plans then?
Since the bible says each of us is born with a sinful nature, I believe we must need to intentionally resist our sinful nature from having its way so the Spirit of God can live through us instead. We have to decide not to sin because sinning is the more natural thing.
…because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:7-8)
In order to love our neighbors (even the difficult ones), control our tongues, handle conflict well and pray about all things, we have to set my minds. We have to plan:
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (Romans 5:8)
2020 took me to new levels of trust.
I think it’s safe to say that the ultimate goal for believers is to make plans, but hold them lightly knowing God is ultimately in control and God knows best. But has deeper meaning for me now.
In March I was wondering how in the world I was going to get all the work done to write and teach a brand new bible study, One Gritty Blink. I saw no way to carve the time out of my schedule in addition to the rest of my life.
Then the pandemic happened.
I wished students a good spring break and then an e-mail arrived informing me the semester was finishing online. I never saw my students again. Like many around the world, in a flash, I was home working online full-time online and had the flexibility needed to write and conduct the study. It took every minute I had, but I suddenly had the minutes.
Never saw the change coming.
In June I remember wondering how in the world we were going to pay for a wedding if my daughter’s boyfriend proposed. I sensed the moment was fast approaching. I had a few conversations with my husband about how we might creatively finance the event without going into debt.
Then a job appeared.
My husband received a call for contract work. They called him. The wedding was funded and the day was beautiful and COVID free.
In October I remember wondering what my role was in the wedding, not quite sure how to best fit into the melding of two families.
Then God held my hand.
Taking life one day at a time, God found us the most amazing pastor, gave me the idea for a prayer shower, the wedding shower happened as a joint effort between two newly introduced families, and the wedding was all my daughter dreamed it to be.
The fine line between planning and trusting is shifting.
As the calendar turns to a new year, I think God is asking me to keep learning how to live in this newer space of trusting Him more than I used to and planning a little bit less. When it comes to my personal character, no relaxing is allowed, but with regard to planning daily life, I can feel God shifting the line a bit for me into a healthier place — the placement is too mysterious to describe, the location is discovered by faith as I walk with Him, and it is personal. The line is shifted deep within me as God continues to teach me how to live more like Him.
2021 will be as it will be.
We all know those life-changing phone calls can arrive at any time, but this understanding has a new meaning for me in a daily way. I truly have no idea what is coming next on any day, not just some days. I only know that He will remain the same, and how to live each day well will remain the same: Walk with God each day and go to bed having done what He asked, having lived in a way that reflects His character to all who know and watch me.
For all who read my posts this year, thank you. I started the year asking God for 20/20 vision HERE and as I review this post, I see improvement in each area. Pray your desires to Him! Change will happen.
I particularly hope Eric, Carla and Shaunna made it through the entire bible using the One Year Bible they requested, and were blessed in doing so. Now it’s Jen, Joiya and April’s turn with the One Year Bible or the Chronological bible. I will be settling in with THIS one for my aging eyes.
To all of you, may God’s grace and mercy follow you every day in the coming year.
Picture Explanation: These two have known each other since middle school. A love story only God could have planned.
© 2020 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.
Thank you, Laurie, for your last post of 2020! Thank you for faithfully listening to the Lord and writing what He puts on your heart. Thank you for making room for Him to work through the creativity and writing ability He has given to you. May you have a bit of rest during the holiday break. May we all walk closely with him in 2021 trusting Him to lead, guide, and use us for His story.
Thank you. It has been a pleasure working alongside you this year. Honestly, it felt more like I was following you into God’s space and His miracles. Thank you for taking so much of the lead. It was so fun to watch God show up.
This blog has really got me thinking. Your words are very powerful and meaningful. Thank you my friend for sharing these visions with me.
Your daughter looks absolutely stunning. Congratulations and Happy New Year.
My own words got me thinking! 🙂 Thank you for listening to my musings.
Such good words, Laurie. It’s been quite a year. Thank you for posting and always turning our eyes to God’s Word. Such beautiful pictures of your daughter. Blessings on you and John.
I have been wanting to hear from you! I wish God’s blessings on you and your family as well. More of Him.
I see a new website. Going to check out what God is doing in your life!
Laurie, determining to read through The One Year Bible is one resolution I kept this year and was greatly blessed by doing so. Thank you for the wonderful gift and the challenge. I also determined to continue keeping off some previous weight loss as well as lose a bit more and I did that too. My next step in taking care of myself will be a knee replacement in the New Year.
You aren’t going to believe this, but I just climbed on the computer on this last day of 2020 to contact my three bible recipients from last year just to say I hoped God’s Word blessed each of you. And there was a message from you! How cool is that? I remember you passing me in the hallway early in the year and I heard you remark something about how many pages there were and you weren’t sure if you could do it. You did it!
I am thrilled by all the progress you made in 2020. Good for you. May the personal growth continue through 2021. My knees have been talking to me as well. I hope your knee replacement is successful. I know so many people who say their only regret is that they didn’t do it sooner. Onward, sister!