Do you ever spend time worrying that you’re going to miss God’s plan or purpose for your life? Me too. I used to think that Christians were given a checklist to follow; that there was a Google Maps system with a blaring robotic voice, letting you know when you’re about to miss your exit. Then I became a Christian, and I realized that there’s no play-by-play for anybody. Sure, there’s guidance and lessons, there’s helpers… but there’s no checklist, which is kind of the point. But instead of choosing the route of trust and faith, I chose to chase purpose.
I couldn’t fathom the idea of just “being”. I was so sure that God was revealing His plan and purpose for me somewhere and I just couldn’t see it or hear it. And I was determined not to miss it. Over the last 4 years, I’ve driven myself crazy playing a never-ending game of hide and seek. What I didn’t realize at the time is that I was playing alone. Have you ever played an actual game of hide and seek by yourself? I haven’t. But if I had, I bet that I’d look more than a little nuts, so it’s no wonder that I’ve felt like an absolute basket case more often than not recently.
Imagine watching someone you love as they look everywhere for something. You know where that thing is, but you don’t tell them. You wouldn’t just sit by and watch, right? That would be cruel and unkind. As I grow closer to God, I finally feel like I’m getting a deeper look at who he really is. He isn’t cruel or unkind, and He hasn’t placed my purpose in a hidden, hard-to-reach area. I’m sure that the last 4 years have been just as difficult for Him to watch as they were for me to live through.
One of my favorite things about God is his never-ending ability to surprise me. Have you heard that saying “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”? I’ve proven that to be true in so many areas of my life more ways than I can count. But that’s a human rule, not a God rule. God can take something you’ve done a million times and change the outcome. He can change hearts, mold thoughts, and create hope. And seeing Him do those things in the simplest ways is so exciting.
4 months ago, we moved to Texas from Ohio. About a month before we moved, I went to return my library books, and I didn’t have any intention of getting more books. I knew there was a lot that needed to be done to prepare for our move, and I definitely wouldn’t have time to read very much. But when I walked in to the library, I saw this book, and it caught my eye. The cover is simple, I don’t like bicycles, and the color green is probably my least favorite. But I felt like I needed it.
I checked it out, and exactly what I thought would happen, happened. It sat on my desk, day after day. It got buried under moving boxes, accidentally packed, then unpacked, and it never got opened. I returned it a few days before we left.
When we first got to Texas, I didn’t know anything about anything (let’s be honest, I still don’t), but I was sitting at a Starbucks a mile from our house, and I saw a billboard for the annual Half Price Books clearance sale. I didn’t know where the library was, and although it’s a simple process, I was overwhelmed by the amount of change-of-this-form, sign-up-for-that things that I had to do. On a whim, I decided to check out the sale, which was in a huge warehouse. It was filled with 1000’s of books. As I rummaged through pile after pile on table after table, I saw the corner of this green book sticking out. Just like the first time, I was drawn to it. I pulled it out, purchased it for $1, brought it home with me, and put it away in the closet. I’m not sure why, but I didn’t open it for months. When I finally did, God used it to show me something; You can’t miss what God has for you.
You can take detours and you might miss your exit, but even on a different road, His map still works. When I first started writing this, I kept thinking “if I had read this book the first time God put it in front of me, I’d be further along or better off”. But that’s not true. The only reason I’m seeing this clarity is because I “missed” this book the first time around. The choices we make might not always be a part of God’s plan, but they can create an open line of communication. They can reveal something that was hidden.
I read a lot; part of that “always looking for answers” thing. I’ve read countless books about saying your prayers, chasing your dreams, setting your goals, losing your fear, and finding yourself. I have little aha-moments all the time, but nothing that ever really changes me or answers those burning questions. My point is, for this whole shift in perspective to come from just another book offers more proof that God is the creator of change. No book – no matter how well written it is, journaling exercise, counseling session, or anything else can do what God does. Those things, and many others, are all great tools that He uses, but only God is the “switch flipper”. And when God flips a switch, you can’t miss the light that comes from it.
As I was writing this post, I was reminded of Proverbs 19:21 – “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail”. My prayer used to be for passion and purpose; to get it all right. I still want those things, but my heart has been set free from a burden that I’ve carried and clung to for way too long. I’m starting to pray for the things I need to remain close to God and grow even closer to Him; energy, dedication, and faith.
I don’t know much about anything, but I’m pretty sure that my life will be fuller and richer if I start seeking God, instead of just looking for His plans. By simply chasing God’s will, without seeking God, I’m missing the relationship. But if I focus on being hand in hand with Him, how could I ever miss anything He has for me?