““My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT
“I’ll be a published fiction author; married to the man of my dreams, with a son, a daughter, a dog and have a house with a white picket fence, on land with several horses.”
A short, quiet amused giggle escaped my lips as I read the words that stared back at me from the faded red paper of my 8th grade school newsletter. (Oh, the things we find while mass purging for the first time….well, ever, obviously. I mean if I still have things from the 8th grade!) I read my response again, answering the question posed to the whole 8th grade class as they prepared to graduate from middle school: “Where do you predict you’ll be in 10 years?”
My mind flashed back to that day that we had to submit our answers to that question. I remembered sitting in my desk, staring at the paper, trying to decide what to write. Everyone else around me had already secured their answer and turned it in; obviously certain of their future selves. I finally decided to put down the best I could imagine for myself. It sounded good and my ideal dream. So, in that moment my answer became my life plan.
I decided then and there that I was going to get married by the time I was 20, have my first kid, a boy, by the time I was 22, our second, a girl, by the time I was 24 (Because everyone knows simply deciding your future kids’ gender means it’ll happen.), and I would be a famous published author who lived on a beautiful horse farm.
Believing I could control the course of my future, I clung to that plan for the next 10 years. …..Until it became so incredibly obvious that my plan was just the musings of the overactive romantic imagination of a naive 14 year old girl.
I’m about to say something that initially is going to sound so apparent.
God’s timing directly coincides with God’s plan.
(Duh…You think? 😏) Told ya! BUT bear with me, whilst I make my point. I promise I have one.
For the longest time I didn’t comprehend the: God’s timing = God’s plan “thing.” I knew I wanted God’s plan for my life and I ignorantly believed I was surrendered to it. I just kinda assumed that if the timing of my plan didn’t match up with His, the plan I had in my head, my plan, would just be delayed. This was also due to the fact that during that time I was still of the belief that my plan was so good that it couldn’t really look that much different from His. Pah ha!!! Joke was on me!
It took a LOT of failed aspects of my plan before that truth clicked. I wanted what I had envisioned so badly, I was too blind to see what He was doing in my life. Because of what I saw as my world falling apart, as one piece after another of my perfect plan dissolved or crumbled, I completely missed that it was actually falling together.
I had laid my pen down in high school, and so ended my published author of fiction pursuit. Although I did marry the most amazing man when I was 20, our marriage was anything but a dream for several years, and my plan of having 2 kids by 24 evaporated, as we struggled with infertility for a long time. I was 26 when we had our first child, a girl, and a boy when I was 28. The closest we ever got to having a horse farm was owning and boarding 2 horses for about 4 years, that we couldn’t afford, which we eventually re-homed shortly before our first child was born.
As time went on, I tried tweaking my plan, only to find out the tweaks weren’t taking. What was actually happening, though, was God was eliminating all of our average plans, cultivating our spirits, shaping our character, and building our faith so we would be prepared to experience His GREATER plans.
Never would I have dared to believe that I would be a leader of any kind, much less in ministry. Nor could I have imagined myself writing for His glory, doing it all with a fiery passion. Yet, now I couldn’t be more thankful that the plans and timing of my 8th grade self had failed!
The reality is, if God’s timing doesn’t match yours, His plan looks nothing like yours, either. Oh, how much frustration I could’ve saved myself if only I would’ve processed that sooner! The great thing about this misunderstanding is we get to discover His timing and plans are FAR better for us than we could ever imagine.
To surrender to God’s timing, means you’re going to have to forfeit your plan in exchange for His. His is always better.
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Heather Whidden loves Jesus, is married to her best friend and is mother of 3 blessings. She is a professional photographer and has a heart for ministry. She loves spending time with her family and friends, writing and reading. Time and people are what she values most. You can read more about her here.