Jennifer Camp, co-founder of Gather Ministries, and author of Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both Facebook and Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.
We bow our heads in prayer, the eight of us. We are women who've known each other for years now. And we'll tell you we've been seeking God a lot longer.
We've spent weeks sharing with each other our stories. We've bent low, weary, as details from the past are said aloud for the first time. We want to see where He is now, so we look back to where He's been.
It's not easy.
Even in the looking back it can be hard to see God.
We want to know God's plan.
We want to see Him. But our hearts . . . well . . . our hearts struggle going back. To the time when our parents split up and we felt we weren't wanted. To the time when our dad got sick and we felt we needed to keep it all together. To the time when we made ourselves believe our choices, away from God, led to condemnation and punishment.
We can read about God, we can talk together about God, we can go to church and listen to worship songs and lift up our hands and not know Him one bit. Not at all. Because knowing God is not about knowing His plan. We complicate things with our desire to have everything figured out, especially the things that are futile to try to know, the things we are never designed to fully understand.
But we can't help but ask Him anyway: God, what's the plan? I hear you have a plan for me that will make all this heartache worth it--that will help me decide my next steps? Can I get a peek at it? Can you whisper to me what's ahead?
Do you ever beg to know God's plan for your life, and it feels like you get no answer?
Maybe we're asking God the wrong question.
It is a false comfort we seek when we believe joy and peace come in having control over the unknowns in our lives. But still we ask, and we make plans ourselves when it feels like He doesn't say a thing.
It's the same reason we fear slowing down and listening to God and trusting in His healing. It's the same reason we want to take matters into our own hands and write our story ourselves, have control of the details.
God may have a plan for us, we say, but it feels vague, which makes us uncomfortable.
We soon give up on God, give up on listening, and plunge right into making up our own plans, by ourselves.
I tell Justin, my husband, I want to be a person who thinks simply. I want to be fine with not knowing the details of what's ahead--not knowing the intricacies of God's plan for my life. If God bent close, his loving eyes looking at me and whispering soft, his hand stretched out, holding a map, saying, "Here you go, here is the plan for your life, here is where I hope you're going, here is where I hope you'll be in ten years, in fifteen, in twenty. . ." I think I would hyperventilate from the weight of the responsibility. I don't want to know.
It's too much for me to know all the details of God's beautiful plans for me, as He looks at me in my fullness. It's too much for this simple head of mine to try to carry around the weight of His plans.
For I would try to carry them.
God's plans for us are too good for us to imagine and comprehend.
They are too glorious. . . and I wonder if we would surely twist their goodness and feel pressure to try to not disappoint Him if we knew more than what we are supposed to know. I wonder if we would strive to live up to the plans He has for us rather than rest in knowing He's got our lives completely under control.
So, shall we try this? Shall we focus on our God rather than worry about all we don't know? Shall we linger in His presence rather than talking about chasing Him down? Shall we praise Him for not telling us the details rather than worrying out the plans of our lives ourselves? Shall we rejoice that we get to live a life where it is simply about being with Him?
The details of His good plans for us--and all the awesome adventure with Him--will follow.
‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts’ (Isaiah 55:8-9).
And here is an excerpt from what He said in Loop, "Do You Wonder About the Plan":
What if I told you the plan I have for you is not for you to worry about? What if I told you there is only a small part you can understand of all the things I know and the things I want you to know and the things you just don’t need to be concerned with?
Here is my plan: I have good for you. It is my desire that you know Me, that you love Me, that you follow Me, that you serve Me. It is my plan, it is my desire, that you want to be with Me, that you want to talk with Me, that you stay here, in this moment with Me, and concern yourself with knowing Me now, this moment, and not considering all the details about the future that I know and you don’t.
What do you want to know? What do you want to know that you think I am holding out on you?
Here is what you need to know: I love you, and I never forget you. Your life is my preoccupation. You are part of my plan for this world, which I love and which I desire to heal and bring to life and have know Me. I don’t want this world to miss out on what I’ve always had for it, as I hold out my hand . . . as I hold out my hand.
There is more to talk about on this topic for sure. But let's pause here.
I just revisited these words from a year ago. I continue to meet with my friends each week. Together, we wrestle with God--talking about the same things . . . and different things. I wonder if we are in a bit of a different place with God right now? Or, if we are different? Or if we perceive or know God differently?
I will search for words, as I struggle to figure this out. Meanwhile, I would love to what your wrestling match with God looks like right now. Do you struggle to know what God has for you? How comfortable are you in not knowing God's plan?
Originally published at jenniferjcamp.com.