When Plans Change

Good morning from Westminster, MD!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a planner by nature. I have never seen a situation that didn’t need a good plan. While there are many positives to being a wired this way (at least that is what I tell myself), there are negatives as well, one of which is a lack of flexibility when the plan breaks down. As you might imagine, this has been a major growth point for me in Nicaragua. Over the course of my time there, I can think of numerous situations where things didn’t go according to plan and we had to change course and go a different direction. As frustrating as those moments were, they were also great learning opportunities. More than anything, they reminded me of this truth found in the Bible- “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” (Proverbs 16:9, NIV)

I have found that part of learning to be flexible is deciding that the ultimate plan is not in my hands. Does that mean that planning is a waste of time? Not at all. However, it does mean being ready and willing to modify or ditch the plan when God, the one who “establishes our steps”, closes one door and opens another. In reality, it all comes down to trust. Do I trust that God is for me and knows what is best? It is easy to say yes to that question when His plans match up with mine, but as a planner, it is much more challenging when they do not. It is in that place that growth has happened in my life over my time in Nicaragua. Very often, I have been forced to say yes to God’s plan and no to mine. In the end, I have found freedom and life in taking that step of faith. Has everything gone exactly as I planned when I moved to Nicaragua? Not even close. Would I change that? Not at all. As I have learned to trust God and modify or ditch my plan for his, I have seen him work in ways that I could not have imagined.

The reality is you do not have to move to Nicaragua to learn this truth. Life is full of opportunities to be flexible when God redirects the path. As I often say, I am still a work in progress when it comes to applying this truth to my everyday life. Making progress means daily choosing God’s plan, even when it means rejecting my own. My prayer is that, with God’s help, I can do that a little more today than I did yesterday. I hope the same is true for you.

– James Belt   

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