Joy in the Journey - Encouragement Café - January 18, 2017

Joy In The Journey
By Beth Mabe Gianopulos

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve interviewed candidates for an open position at work.  When asked about their strengths, many candidates reply, “I am task oriented.”

I can identify.  I love the feeling that comes with putting a checkmark beside a completed item on my “To Do” list.  I love setting a goal and basking in the glow of completion.  I love to carefully plan my year, my months, and even my days. 

However, there is a downside to all this careful planning.  As wonderful as finishing a plan exactly as expected may feel, great disappointment follows when my plans are disrupted.  When I leave the office with a longer “To Do” list than I started the day with, I feel overwhelmed.  When I fail to reach a goal in a reasonable amount of time, I feel like a failure.  When God “interrupts” my carefully planned days, I crumble.

Over the years, I’ve learned that God’s purpose for my life is often very different than the plans I have for myself.  I want to plan every aspect of my life and know exactly how it will work out.  I want to know that I will continue to work at my job and retire happy and fulfilled with my career.  I want to know that my children will grow up to be healthy, Christian adults.  I want to know that my husband and I will live happily ever after. 

When I have so carefully planned exactly what I wantmy life to look like, I am overwhelmed and inconvenienced when God interrupts my plans. 

Because of my fear of losing control, I fail to see that God is not interrupting my plans, but God is instead inviting me on a new adventure.  In Jeremiah 29:11, God says, “For I know the plans I have for you … plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

If I read this verse and truly believe it, I know in my heart that God’s plans for me are plans to prosper me, plans to give me hope, plans to give me a future.  If this is the plan, then what do I have to fear?  Why would I want to be in control? 

God has plans for me, and God has plans for you.  You may not understand how God will ever take your life and make it beautiful, but He will.  All we have to do is let go of all of our plans and desires for a certain outcome.  The outcome is God’s responsibility.  Obedience is my responsibility.  

As you approach the new year, this is your time to stop worrying about the exact path your life will take.  Instead of worrying about how all of your plans will work out, find joy in the journey as you trust God to prosper you, to give you hope, and to give you a future.

Jesus, Thank You for having amazing plans for our lives.  Help us to trust You to love us, to prosper us, to give us hope, and to give us a future.  Help us find joy in the journey.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

© 2017 by Beth Mabe Gianopulos.  All rights reserved.

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Originally published Wednesday, 18 January 2017.