Ditching Our Best Laid Plans

 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6

I am a planner. I plan weekly menus and grocery trips. I plan vacations and day trips months in advance. I prefer to know about parties well in advance. I like to plan for the future, and don’t like surprises. That being said, I am not the most spontaneous of people. Wreck my plan, and it can often get ugly. Wreck my plan, and I can potentially come undone.

As someone who has at one point been a teacher in training, and who has also taught children in our church for the past seven years, I know how important it is to have a good, solid, organized lesson plan. I also know what can occur in the classroom without one. In most cases, it does not pay to be spontaneous with a classroom full of children.

However, as He often does, God is once again teaching me that sometimes it does pay to be a bit spontaneous, less rigid, and more flexible. Sometimes we really must ditch our best laid plans in order for God to work according to His plans.

Each time I teach a class or speak in front of a group of people, I always write down and outline what I plan to share or what I plan to demonstrate to colleagues or students. But, sometimes, I fail. I don’t end up using my well thought out and organized script, and on those occasions when things are conveyed as per my neatly bulleted outline, I never quite seem to get the right message across. The message is lost, not heard, or misunderstood. Somewhere in all those bullets and neat headings I fail to really communicate what it is I want people to hear.

Why is this? Why are my best laid plans not always…well, the best?

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13

Why are my best laid plans wrecked? Perhaps it is because they were my plans, written from my understanding, written for my purpose, my will, instead of the will and purpose of God. Perhaps the message I wanted to communicate, was not the message God meant to be heard at all.

Take this past Sunday, for instance. I had planned another Sunday School lesson for my third through fifth grade class. I had written out every detail. How we would start, where my introduction was headed, what activity I had planned as a group, and how we would close. I had crossed all my t’s, dotted all my i’s, added all my headings, and had each piece of the lesson in organized bullets. I had well-organized, best laid plans.

The only part of this lesson that went to plan was the opening, and even that was quickly transformed by the mere mention of the word “extinguish.”

I had to do the one thing I hate-be spontaneous, and I had to do this by going off-script, by letting God be a part of my plans.

“What is impossible for people is possible for God.” Luke 18:27

I hate surprises, and I believed the ability to trash my plans was just not in me, but nothing is impossible when we choose to rely on God and not our own “organized” thoughts. God pushed me to ditch my plans this Sunday to show me just how awesome a lesson can be if  I relinquished the control I wanted to have of the children and my time, and left the teaching moments up to God. The children in my classroom engaged each other in a lively, open, and honest discussion on darkness in our world. For some of their questions on life, death, tragedy, and tattoos, I did not have all the answers. But in fully relying on God to reveal His truth, and not mine, I was able to supply the answers that He wanted these children to hear.

God’s lesson on being spontaneous may have thrown a wrench in my original plan, but it opened up the desire to be more spontaneous often, to go off-script more, to allow children to teach me once in a while, and to fully rely on God to supply the words needed in every circumstance. To ditch my best laid plans, and to stick to His glorious plan!

Lord, Help me to not get so caught up in the planning and preparation of my weekly message that I forget to rely on you and allow you to work through me. Help me to be reminded that the message I am delivering is the one You want me to share, and not within my own control. Show me how to be more spontaneous in other areas of my life as well. Amen.

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