Encouragement for Today
“He Knows the Plans”
Renee Swope, Director of Proverbs 31 Speaker Team, Speaker and Author
Jeremiah 29:11a, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD.” (NIV)
My plans did not go as planned! I, a woman who loves spontaneity, even scheduled a planning meeting with my husband, J.J., this past weekend to ensure that all would go as planned. We met with our calendars and plotted each evening of the week, making sure our desires and commitments were considered and accommodated.
Both of us needed some extra work time. So we decided J.J. would stay at his office late Monday night and go straight from work to his weekly Bible study. I would have dinner with our boys, make sure homework was done and put them to bed, and he’d be home around 10:30.
Tuesday night would be my work night. J.J. said he’d come home for dinner at 5:30. Afterwards he’d play with the boys and oversee the evening routine so I could catch up on unfinished work assignments that I wanted to get done.
Tuesday nights have been a little stressful these past few weeks. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I work in the Proverbs 31 office until 2 o’clock. I have meetings most Tuesdays and often am unable to get all of my calls and emails answered before I leave. But with our well-laid plan in place, this week would be different! I would be able to catch up on all of my work. Oh, I couldn’t wait for the peace of mind that would bring me!
Monday went just as planned. Tuesday came and the day whizzed by! It felt like only an hour had passed before it was time to go home. Hurriedly, I stuffed my files with papers and put them in my briefcase, as a wave of anxiety swept over me. Then I remembered the plan and reminded myself that I could complete my work later, when J.J. got home.
My plans never became a reality. J.J. called at 5 o’clock and said he needed to work late. Much to my surprise, I didn’t feel angry. I knew he didn’t have control over the circumstances, so I told him I would adjust and spend the evening with the boys.
Although I didn’t feel angry, I did feel anxious. As I hung up the phone with J.J., I looked at the files on my desk and reminded God of my plan for that evening. I made sure He was aware of what needed to be done and all the people who were waiting for my response. Before I could write God another mental memo or water my seeds of anxiety with worries, my spirit reminded my heart of the truth I know about God’s plans. Thoughts gave way to an unexpected prayer: “Lord, I had plans for tonight; plans that would bring me peace and a sense of completion. But You know the plans You have for me; plans to prosper me, not to harm me; plans to give me a future that leads to hope.” Obviously my plans were not Your plans, so please show me the plans You have for this night.”
I never touched my files that evening. Instead the boys and I ordered pizza, cleaned the kitchen together and folded clothes while we watched a family video. Our evening had an unusual sweetness as we sorted socks and snuggled on the couch. I ordered groceries online and tidied up our home before I headed to bed.
God’s plan was for me to be a helper to my husband, a mom to my kids and a keeper of our home. When I surrendered to His plan, a peace that surpassed my understanding came over me. I had planned to find peace in getting things done, but God’s peace came when my plans came undone, making room for the plans He had for me!
My Prayer for Today:
Lord Jesus, help me to leave room for Your plans in my life. As I seek to live a life with purpose and peace, teach me how to let You re-direct my steps so that my plans align with Yours.
Take time today to place your schedule on the altar before God and ask Him if there is anything He wants to replace with something else. Invite Him into every nook and cranny of your day and seek the blessings of a life lived in full surrender to His plans.
Do I leave room for God’s unexpected plans in my day?
How often do I allow God to interrupt my schedule without having a control tantrum, anxiety attack or an emotional meltdown?
How can I respond differently (with patience and trust) when I pour my time, desire and passion into a plan and it doesn’t go as planned?
Jeremiah 29:11-12, “’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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.’” (NIV)
Philippians 4:6-7, “Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (The Message)
Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.” (NIV)
Proverbs 16:3, “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” (NIV)
Message of the Month Club
Living Life on Purpose, by Lysa TerKeurst
A Woman’s Secret to a Balanced Life, by Lysa TerKeurst and Sharon Jaynes
Originally published Monday, 20 June 2005.