Life would be exponentially easier if someone would just hand us a map. We should have a full color guide to our adventure, similar to the ones they hand out at the entrance to Busch Gardens. We could pick out the best places to go, avoid the ones that make us throw up, and plan our time accordingly to ensure we hit all the highlights.
I’ve heard it said the average person puts more planning into a two-week vacation than into planning their life. I know that I’ve missed out on some great experiences because I didn’t have a plan. But how do you know where to go and what to do without a map? Where can I find directions?
Spoiler alert: I’m going to say “The Bible”.
Jeremiah 29:11 says “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.”
The Bible reveals the story of God’s love for us and his heartbreak over sin. It points us to new life through repentance, faith, and salvation in Jesus, and instructs us how to live a good, God-pleasing life. God has given us so much wisdom and hope in the pages of His Word. God has equipped us for “every good work” (2 Cor 9:8) and promises to “be with us always” (Matthew 28:20).
While that is definitely comforting, it’s not going to help me decide whether to move to Nicaragua or if I should bring back the “Rachel” cut. It wasn’t meant to.
God’s big plan for my life is..drumroll, please….heaven. Ultimately, that is what all this struggle is for: restored relationship with God forever. That is the hope and the future he promises through Christ. While God promises to bless those that love and obey him, I don’t believe everyone has a specific road map they have to follow to be in God’s will. Our decisions are ours to make, and we can go forward confidently if:
* We are in right relationship with God and obeying his Word
*Our character progressively is more and more like Jesus and our relationships, work, and home life reflect that truth.
*We are willing to pray, seek guidance, examine our motives, and listen for God’s direction in big decisions.
God’s also provided instruction for what not to include in your life plan (man, this would have been useful 20 years ago!). Here are some no-brainers. Leave out:
* anything explicitly against God’s Word. Planning to get rich by cheating on your taxes and then taking your mistress on vacation will probably not end well for you.
* anything in opposition to what God has specifically told you to do. This is not an everyday thing, but if he is clearly telling you to do something: listen.
*anything that stamps out your joy. It is ok to seek happiness, as long as holiness isn’t compromised.
As long as we have a heart to please God, we also have freedom in planning our lives around the things that are important to us. That could be career, family, travel, talent, or calling. It’s different for everyone. With these guidelines in place, the details are up to you. Make decisions that fit within your plans and goals, and do your thang. It’s a relief not to second-guess every decision and wonder if we are doing it wrong. Better bring your map just in case, though.