Wednesday, April 20, 2016

No Time for Planning

Ask anyone on the cusp of a major life decision when they’re going to take the leap, and you might hear one of the following:

I’m not quite there yet.

I’m not ready.

I have to get my ducks in a row.

The planning stage is still in effect, the time for execution not yet arrived.

I get it. I say it when I’m buying time before taking the plunge in any direction. Often my reasons for putting things off to the future are because of procrastination instead of planning, but let’s not split hairs.

Sometimes, the great leap into the unknown with no planning involved can be magic. For all of the times I’ve said “I’m not ready yet – I’ve got to prepare,” I’ve said at least as many times “What the heck – let’s do this!”

And that’s why I have two children.

Some things, when aren’t planned, work out beautifully.

Many life circumstances happen whether or not we are ready. Taking pains to plan our next move are wasted when a timeline is sped up or eliminated. During these times, we have a choice to go with what happens and embrace a new situation, or fight against it and spin our wheels.

* * *

One day Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee. There he saw Simon and his brother Andrew. They were throwing a net into the lake. They were fishermen. “Come and follow me,” Jesus said. “I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

Then Jesus walked a little farther. As he did, he saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat preparing their nets. Right away he called out to them. They left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men. Then they followed Jesus.

Mark 1:16-20 

* * *

Can you imagine leaving your job instantly to follow some dude walking down the street who called you to him? That’s exactly what these disciples did. They were successful business owners, too, not a couple of jackwagons out casting a line into a pond on their day off. They certainly had plans to keep their fishing business thriving, and they left it all to follow Jesus. And, by the way, the life of a disciple wasn’t all unicorns and rainbows, either. It was hard times.

And they embraced it.

This lesson isn’t lost on me. Embracing what comes my way is better than fighting it in the long run. Life changes when plans shift, and if we allow it, resilience kicks in and we figure out how to handle our new situation. Sometimes we drag ourselves through it kicking and screaming, but that’s no way to live. We learn more and do better when we make the best out of what we are given.

And if we believe in God, we just might see his hand in every step we take.

I believe that God has called me to do certain things in this life. He created my path – one that I can’t see clearly, but I can navigate it with his help. The decisions I make come from past choices, and he guides me according to them.

Sometimes I’ve planned these choices, been ready for them. Sometimes, not so much. Some of the outcomes from these choices are wonderful, expected.

Sometimes, not so much.

But along this path, one thing is certain: I am learning about who God is, and who he made me to be. Not who I want to be, not always who I’ve planned to be.

When Jesus calls us, we might not have time to plan or figure out how to follow him – we just follow him. With his help, everything falls into place and our actions are right. No amount of earthly planning makes up for the perfection of God’s will and his glorifying love.