I think we all like to have a plan. I felt the tug of this recently, when we went back to what was home for ten years. I knew the question would come up of what we have been up to, and how our ministry is going. I will be honest, friends. I was tempted to focus on the things that might somehow validate where we are, eight months into this new season, because if I'm very transparent, I had a whole different vision for where we would be eight months in. The issue was not with those who care about us and asked the normal questions that come from seeing someone after an extended separation. The issue was with my own heart and that demon of performance that Jesus RID me of years ago, but still comes whispering lies every so often.
After the first attempt to answer these predicted questions with a list of what is “in the works” I felt the conviction of God’s Spirit and heard his whisper…
“You don’t need to justify to others what I have called you to.”
I felt that. Big time. How many years of my life were spent working hard to justify myself before man? How many years were spent trying to make my words and deeds fit into someone else’s box?
I did an about face after that moment of conversation with my Papa. I repented for my wrong thinking and answering. Then, for the rest of our trip, I answered with the truth.
The truth is, Jesus had much different plans for how we would begin this new season. That's why the idea of being obsessed with plans is so comical, really. How much can we plan, and control? Not a whole lot, as 2020 is teaching us all. And then add to that, how often we think we know what we need only to find out that Jesus knew a WHOLE lot better than we did what we needed. And yet, we plan and plot. What we planned to do was jump in to the next assignment right away. What we planned to do was dive head first into all the things. What Jesus planned was for deep, extended and healing rest.
Did you know that when Jesus calls you to an extended season of slow down and rest you will be forced to wrestle with your identity?
You will come face to face with JESUS and have to determine if He is enough. Is he enough if you have no title, no plan, no massive mapped out vision? Is he enough if the culmination of your ministry in that season is that you meet your neighbor and have them over for dinner or quietly serve in a community where no one knows your name?
These are the questions that rise up, and that we must answer when all that is left is Jesus.
I have boldly prayed for years now, “Jesus, purify my heart,” and I will tell you, that is a no joke kind of prayer. Because if I pray it, I can bet on Him to come through with the exact circumstances that will reveal the deepest, most hidden place inside of me. He has done SO MUCH good work in my heart. I cannot even write in words all He has done over the years. And yet, there is never a moment that I don’t need to pray that prayer again, because I am always in need of a deeper cleansing, a deeper revelation of truth.
So, how did I start answering that question of “How is it going in Utah?” after my moment with my Papa? With total honesty. It’s been hard and beautiful all at once, because I have peace in the deep place that all Jesus wants from our family is to do the next right thing, even though I might not know today what that will be tomorrow. It’s not going how I thought it would, or even at times how I think it should, but it is going exactly as Jesus wants.
Don’t get me wrong, now, friends. We are eager to run, to plan, to do wild things for Jesus. That hasn’t changed in this season. And this hasn’t been a season of abandoning those dreams. It’s a season of pause. A season of reset, refining, and reordering.
Maybe what we thought we needed before this season isn’t what we need at all for Jesus to be made famous. Maybe we can just show up, like little children on Christmas morning waiting for Mom and Dad to put our presents at our feet.
This is who He is, friends! He is a God of rest. He is a God of relationship. He is a God that is willing to put a pause on any plan if our hearts are broken and tired and needing rest.
He cares more about the condition of my soul more than the condition of my plans.
I look back at month two of this season and I breathe a sigh of relief. Are you kidding me? The last thing we needed then was to plunge head first into a new assignment. The last thing we needed was a new to do list. I can’t even imagine where we would be today if we had followed THAT plan. Oh, to trust Jesus who knows so much better than I do what my soul needs.
I’m pretty sure if you are reading this, you can identify on some level with this struggle. I mean, didn’t we all just go through a season where everything was stripped down to the minimum? Didn’t we all just emerge from a season where ALL of our plans were completely wiped out and reordered?
Now, if you are reading this and cringing a bit because you are a planner, I totally get it, friend. Your planning self is revolting. “But...wait...I think I need some kind of plan, don’t I?” I won’t try to answer that for you, friend. I can’t answer it for you. That’s between you and Jesus and what He is speaking to you. I can only share where He has brought me in this eight month journey, and it is this right here...
My lack of plan has left me staring at Jesus with childlike wonder.
Perhaps this is the better way. Perhaps I was never meant to be such a grown up, but always a little girl who twirls and dances with her Papa and then waits for Him to surprise her with beautiful Christmas morning gifts. Maybe when I’m busy planning, I miss the gift of dancing with HIm, and seeing the gifts He is freely giving.
I’m convinced that Heaven is a Christmas morning kind of place. If that’s so, then I want to be the child rushing to the tree early in the morning because I just couldn’t sleep and I HAVE to open those gifts. And I already know what the Heaven Christmas gift is.
Jesus. The gift is Jesus, friend. Our plans, our blueprints, our maps, they are all fine, but they aren’t the goal. They aren’t the end result. They aren’t the childlike wonder that we are created to live in.
Jesus is the plan. Jesus is the blueprint. Jesus is the only map I need to follow. If I choose him over my well laid plans, then the pressure is off for me to perform. My eyes are on Jesus. Will I need this lesson again on plans and trust and childlike wonder? Most likely. But that’s okay. Because I know His heart for me. I know Him, and He is enough.
Eyes on Jesus, friend. Let’s make that our plan.
author. Bible teacher. trauma healing facilitator.