To fail to plan is to plan to fail. But what happens when you have planned but things still fail spectacularly?
I have managed to convince myself that my biological clock is a Hublot
I am not exactly one for planning neither am I the very definition of spontaneity – I do like to have an idea of what I’d like to accomplish; be it what I’ll be wearing to work the next day or where I see myself in five years. In the same breath, I have no idea when I’d like to get married or have children – when it comes to matters of the heart, I like to play things by ear plus I have managed to convince myself that my biological clock is a Hublot [or insert luxury watch brand of your choice].
I find life far too complex to plan rigidly, there are myriads of scenarios with varying probabilities to account for; I like my plans to have ‘leg room’. This has always worked for me, it managed my expectations and cushioned my disappointments. The only thing my planning methods could not afford me was the element of excitement. My plans always seemed achievable from the start and in the event of failure I had fail-safe in place.
…in fact, the term ‘spectacular failure’ had never resonated with me as much as it did until then.
I have always thought it is incredibly brave or outright crazy (I constantly oscillate between the two) to plan and not consider the likely event of failure; maybe it’s due to my cynical nature or maybe it stems from a fear of success. So, the one time I dared to plan without a fail-safe, I was so sure it’ll be a fool-proof – I felt more in tune with God than ever, my edges were flourishing and opportunities were pouring in! As you can imagine, things did not go as planned – in fact, the term ‘spectacular failure’ had never resonated with me as much as it did until then. There were tears, tantrums and the inevitable ‘maybe-this-wasn’t-in-God’s-plan-for-you-s’. It became clear I had to go back to the drawing board. One thing that kept resounding in my head as I journeyed back to said board was “Am I in line with God’s plan for my life?”. The more I pondered, the more confused I became.
More questions kept popping up; “Am I insinuating that Christians, in God’s will, don’t experience failure?” “Am I only concerned with being in God’s will so that all my plans can succeed?”, “Do the things I want for my life and what God wants for me contradict each other?” and the clincher “What plans does God have for my life?”.
I have been navigating through these questions slowly and thoughtfully but one thing I am certain of is I have no clue as to the particulars of God’s plan for my life. It is as terrifying as it is exciting!
Just because I do not know the nitty-gritty of what God has in store for me should not stop me from making big, audacious plans – in fact it should encourage me! Because I know God is mindful of me even when my plans fail spectacularly or when they are an overwhelming success, he will never desert me. He is sovereign, he knows the beginning from the end and he cares for me.
I have learnt not to look at the failure of my plans as punishment from God. Some things are a definite ‘no-no’ based on our beliefs, others are not so clear – this is where discernment is key. If we only want to be in line with God’s plan for us so we can get what we want – we are missing the point! We are essentially treating God has a means to our own selfish end.
One thing I know is true is that “those who leave everything in God’s hand will eventually see God’s hand in everything.” I have begun to see God in my seemingly spectacular failures; I have been able to learn and grow from all my plans from the successful to the partially successful to the fantastic failures.
We must not compartmentalise God – involve him in all things – no aspect of our lives is too mundane, logical or carnal for Him.
The key to successful planning is abiding in God. Regardless of the outcome, your efforts will not have been in vain and you will bear much fruit in the process.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
We are guilty of making God our contingency plan. If we truly trust in God and confident in all the promises he has made we will not relinquish God to ‘Plan B’ status.
Trusting in God is active – there will never be a moment where you are sitting on your thumbs. That’s the beauty of the God we serve; even in our weakness he allows our human effort to count for something; he doesn’t just disregard it. Our faith works in tandem with and our actions.