Have you ever had a plan go awry from the first step? What did it teach you?

Three days remained in a 31 day writing challenge. I was not where I wanted to be. I usually do not sign up for this sort of thing because I often take them too seriously, and if I don’t do it perfectly I consider it a failure. Through much thought and prayer, I was sure God had given His okay to proceed. After accomplishing the assignment on day one, I was positive I was off to a wonderful experience. I was correct, but it was not my plan that would make this month so fulfilling.

Day one may have gone smoothly, but the remaining 30 were bumpy. The time I had set aside for this adventure was taken from me as one thing after another happened. The toilet seat lid broke. My laptop crashed. The heater broke. All these happened in the first week. The second and third weeks were greeted by unexpected twists and turns that also took me away from writing. Not all these occurrences were negative, but nonetheless ate up large chunks of time, keeping me from my plan.

By day 9 I had completed one prompt. Every spare minute was spent dealing with all the unexpected nuisances that kept popping up. I came across this reminder, “In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” Psalms 94:19. It would be another 6 days before I would complete another writing. I was not worried and I did not feel like I was failing. I had put my trust in God and was leaving it there. He had a plan for my plan.

My first course of action was focusing on Philippians 4:4-8, constantly reminding myself that God wants me to rejoice in Him always and be anxious for nothing. I could live without a lid to my toilet seat for a while. My laptop was deemed terminal. Thankfully, I had a little Chrome book I could use in a pinch. As for the heater, I was so grateful for the mild weather we were having while I found a solution to this dilemma. 

In Philippians verses 4 through 6 Paul tells us to rejoice in the Lord always, let all men see gentleness in you, be anxious for nothing, but pray and supplicate with thanksgiving while taking all requests to God. (paraphrased from NKJV). “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:7. Once we have established God’s peace within us, we can follow His instruction in verse 8. Here he tells us to meditate on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy. 

On the 29th day, when I opened the YouVersion Bible app, the verse of the day was Philippians 4:9, “The things you learned, received, heard and saw in me, these do and the God of peace will be with you.” This blessed me instantly because I was at peace with all that was happening. The opportunities God had placed before me far outweighed the disappointment I briefly felt at giving up my plan. I was rejoicing in Him through this trial. I had not failed!

On this day I was able to write and post. I was not able to do so on days 30 and 31. It was all okay. I just kept reciting Proverbs 16:9, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” He certainly directed my steps during this time. And this experience was a great reminder that no matter what we intend, no matter how much we think we know what path God wants us to take, we need to remain open and obedient to His direction of our steps.

During this time I realized my consistent study of God’s Word was paying off. Verses popped into my mind when I needed them. In Philippians 4:4 God commands us to rejoice in all circumstances. I have not always been obedient in this area. What a difference it makes to rejoice in times of trouble and trials. 1 Thessalonians 5:16:18 also tells us, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Pray without ceasing is another command that will bring us to a place of rejoicing. One cannot help but feel joy abound the more they pray. Rejoicing leads to prayer and prayer to rejoicing.

As the month ended, I came across Psalms 119:15-16 “I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.” I spent the month doing exactly that, and God took care of everything. Two months later a heater was provided, just in time for the frigid winter weather. The laptop will be replaced when it is time. The other problems have worked themselves out. I wrote when God opened windows of time for it. Most of all, God showed me that His yes is usually different from our blueprint of the plan, but always better than we can imagine. 

Rejoice, pray, give thanks, be anxious for nothing and be gentle. This is God’s will for us.

God Bless,
Janice S.