When God Ruins My Plans

When I am not lazy, I am a planner by heart. I like to plan out my days in my head, from what I will be doing at 8:00 AM tomorrow, to big goals that I aim to accomplish by the end of the year. I enjoy mapping out my schedule, and sometimes when I am bored, I will jot down what I envision my day to be in one-hour increments. Or, I will create checklists of things to do because I not only love planning, but I like executing. Being idle and not having something to do, not having set plans, makes me feel uneasy and restless. Even when plans oftentimes go awry, I am usually okay as long as I have anticipated beforehand that things might not work out, or at least have thought of a couple backup scenarios that might be just as satisfactory as my original schemes.

Does this make me sound crazy?

Anyway, my point is, I like when things go accordingly to my ways. When plans fall through, especially if it was something that I really wanted to do, I know it is God’s way of sanctifying me. When the unexpected happens and I don’t foresee the changes, I have no doubt that God is teaching me to stop desiring control and to submit to His Lordship.

In fact, I am learning this lesson as I type because my plans got messed up today.

I intended to exercise with a friend, which is part of our usual weekly Monday night routine. I was looking forward to it, especially since I had not exercised in a week and felt out of shape when I did not get any exercise in over the weekend. Two hours before we are supposed to meet, I get a text message from my friend, saying that she would be late and asking whether we could push back the meeting. Thirty minutes after agreeing to a later time, my friend tells me the bad news that where we wanted to go may actually be closing by the time we would get there.

I was surprised and a little thrown off, but then entered into a backup plan frenzy state of mind. I wanted to workout and was pretty sure that I could still make it work somehow. I quickly inquired whether other people would be there earlier, knowing that an immediate confirmation meant that I would be able to go ahead on my own without my friend.

Tick, tock.

I waited and stared at my phone, waiting for a notification. I got more anxious as time went on without receiving a definite answer.

By then, I knew. As I was waiting for my friend’s response, it sunk in for me that I should not go, even if I did receive the green light that people would already be there. I knew that God was creating obstacles to prevent me from going so that He could discipline me, out of His protective love for me.

But instead of rejoicing, I was completely frustrated and angry. It’s not fair, I thought. By this point, my heart was already throwing a childish tantrum.

Agitated (maybe also with the Spirit at work), I called up my accountability partner and told her about the situation I was in. And my accountability partner only confirmed for me what I did not want to hear – that I should not go workout if this particular friend was not going, and that I should just spend my time at home doing other things, such as resting and serving my family. I hung up the phone, pretty shaken and upset. I weighed the choices before me, debating whether I should pretend that I did not receive that advice.

Tick, tock.

Tick, tock.

Tick, tock.

With tears streaming down my face, I texted my friend that I would not be going after all. God, you win. And sure enough, shortly after I made my final decision, my friend finally responds that other people are there and that I could go without her if I wanted to.

Except, I knew I really could not.

Now, this all seems quite silly. Why get so upset over not having to exercise? Shouldn’t I have been happy that I got to skip out?

Ah, but this was not just a random occurrence.

What I went through tonight was a testing of my faith. It was a test of submission to what God wanted and what decision would be more honoring to Him, and not what I had desired for myself. My heart was unhappy, and to be honest, it was not a result of missing the opportunity to exercise. I was angry that God presented me with obstacles to uncover the idols of my heart. I was discontent that He interrupted my priorities. Not being able to workout was not a simple coincidence, a random event. God knew. He was breaking me so that I could seek Him. He was causing me to rely more on His grace. And he divinely orchestrated that missed opportunity in order for me to recognize my sins so that I could come crawling back to Him.

Through this slight setback, God was trying to point out that He reigns over all things, over all the little details of my life. This includes my schedules and goals. It includes all the interruptions and the unexpected.

While I was more intently focused on seeking muscular gains tonight, God desired for me to grow in maturity, in trusting Him as the Sovereign Planner of my life. In the end, God prevented me from doing what I wanted to do today so that my eyes could be opened to what I needed more in my life – Himself.

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8 Comments

  1. I’ve been waiting six months for your return! Welcome back! Thank you for writing this. My heart is the same. I also get angered when I’m not able to exercise, and I have to admit that it’s because I am impatient and I want things to go my way. I am my own idol by being selfish, wanting control, authority, and power to dictate my own life. But even in the other areas of life, and in retrospect, I can see that God’s ways are higher (and better and wiser) than my own ways. Perfect wisdom. And he is faithful because even in our darkest times and times where we have no control, God is working everything for our good and for his glory. We can have serious, persevering joy in a sovereign God.

    Liked by 1 person

    • endorap says:

      Man, thanks for waiting! God was sovereign when you were following up with me on my next post. Hope it was worth the super long wait. It’s definitely good to be back from hiatus too! It wasn’t until I was writing that I realized how much I missed it.

      Praise God that what I had to share could also serve as an encouragement for you to reflect on your own life to see areas that need to be put to death. We are all works in progresses. 🙂

      Like

  2. Janna says:

    And can it be that I should gain
    An interest in the Savior’s blood?
    Died He for me, who caused His pain—
    For me, who Him to death pursued?
    Amazing love! How can it be,
    That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
    Amazing love! How can it be,
    That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

    ’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
    Who can explore His strange design?
    In vain the firstborn seraph tries
    To sound the depths of love divine.
    ’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
    Let angel minds inquire no more.
    Amazing love! How can it be,
    That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

    He left His Father’s throne above
    So free, so infinite His grace—
    Emptied Himself of all but love,
    And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
    ’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
    For O my God, it found out me!
    Amazing love! How can it be,
    That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

    Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
    Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
    Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
    I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
    My chains fell off, my heart was free,
    I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
    Amazing love! How can it be,
    That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

    Still the small inward voice I hear,
    That whispers all my sins forgiven;
    Still the atoning blood is near,
    That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.
    I feel the life His wounds impart;
    I feel the Savior in my heart.
    Amazing love! How can it be,
    That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

    No condemnation now I dread;
    Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
    Alive in Him, my living Head,
    And clothed in righteousness divine,
    Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
    And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
    Amazing love! How can it be,
    That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

    Thanks for sharing how God is challenging and transforming your heart ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jessica says:

    I’ve been waiting for a post too! Thanks for sharing your heart and how God is working in you. I’m very much like you where I need a schedule and I need to stick to it but you are right, God shows us His love by giving us these obstacles.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tiffany says:

    I really relate to this post! It’s so challenging to stay joyful when my plans are ruined. It feels like the whole world is just falling apart when things don’t go as expected, EVEN WHEN the expected is bad! So weird. I think this is also a lesson that I’ve been learning slowly over the years, and God keeps trying to teach me to trust that He’s in control. Love you, and let us continue to press on in growing more like Jesus!

    Liked by 1 person

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