Written by Amber Helsel

God’s Plan, Not Mine

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 on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  – Jeremiah 29:11-13

I realized a long time ago that my plans are not that great. Most of the time, they’re bad ideas, and nine times out of 10, they never come to fruition. They are half baked, not unlike favorite ice cream flavor from Ben & Jerry’s. So I told myself when I was much younger
that I’d just take life as it comes to me.

For a long time, that’s what I did. I chose journalism, not because I had a burning passion for the truth, but because I wanted to study something that would utilize my love for writing and photography. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, so I did what came naturally. I ended up going to the University of Mississippi for college because I waited too long to apply to anywhere else. And to be honest, one of the reasons I started dating my last boyfriend is because he was there and seemed interested in me.

Some of those opportunities led me to greater opportunities, but others led me down paths I shouldn’t have taken. It’s like when you do those balloon-popping games at the fair. You may throw a lot of darts, but only one or two make it to the target. And the odds of you getting a decent prize are slim.

Isn’t there a better path than that? I think so, and I think it starts with God. He doesn’t want us to live lives of mediocrity, just throwing blindly until we hit something. He wants us to have direction, and to go to even greater heights if only we would listen to what He’s saying.

It’s not easy. I’m stubborn and strong-willed and impatient, so a lot of times, I find myself asking why He withholds things from me and what exactly he means by “in his own time.” I spend much more time than I should
throwing adult tantrums because God won’t let me have my way.

This path takes a lot of courage and stamina, but I promise you, it’s worth it. The last two or three years alone have been filled with a lot more deliberate decisions in my life and exchanging things I want for better opportunities. I made the decision to plant my roots and buy a house. Most recently, I’ve started down a path that will eventually lead to a big change. I’ve been seeing a therapist for a year because I couldn’t deal with my emotional baggage on my own. And even though some days I wish this wasn’t true, I’ve chosen to remain single because I know God has a plan.

I won’t lie and tell you following this path is easy. It’s one of the hardest things you’ll do. You’ll find yourself outgrowing friendships and hobbies, but you’ll exchange that for even greater friendships and greater hobbies. You’ll find yourself doing what you never thought you would. If I’m completely honest, I never saw myself being part of the lead team in a church. But you know what? I am.

Life doesn’t always look the way you want it to, but one thing we all need to remember is it’s not about us. Our lives are not our own. They’re for glorifying God, and He’s going to do that, regardless of what you want.

God, I thank you for your plan for my life. It’s one to give me a hope and a future. Show me how to lean away from my understanding and into yours, and follow the steps you laid out for me, even when the road gets hard. Amen!