Tag Archives: trust God

The Best Laid Plans…

Me to my three kids last Monday: “If we get your rooms sorted and deep cleaned this week, we’ll go to the beach on Friday!”

Kids: *cheering*

Me to my kids Thursday afternoon, after witnessing much hard work but still no completed rooms and noticing the kids moping, assuming they wouldn’t get to go to the beach: “If you keep working hard and do your best, we’ll go to the beach tomorrow even if it’s not finished yet.”

Kids, eyes brightening with hope: “Really?? Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

Cue a much less stressed-out home for the rest of Thursday as I secretly hi-five myself.

Do you ever set goals for yourself, only to get discouraged when things shift course and your goal can’t be reached as intended? As a homeschool mom, I do this all the time. I tell myself things like:

“My youngest will memorize her addition and subtraction facts by so-and-so date.” (What if she doesn’t? Or what if she does but learns to hate math for the rest of her life?)

“My oldest will finish her writing program by the end of the semester.” (What if she does, but she’s just going through the motions, not actually learning? What if she starts to hate writing?)

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. –Robert Burns

I think Mr. Burns was on to something.

Here’s the thing I’ve been learning lately:

Prioritize progress and learning over completion.

When we prioritize completing a specific goal, we pile on the pressure and make the journey to the end more grueling than it should be, and then feel awful if we never do actually obtain our goal.

When we prioritize progress or learning, we’re generally more motivated to embrace the journey, no matter where we ultimately end up.

For instance, ask any high schooler what they want to be when they grow up and you’ll likely hear “a millionaire.” Played out in reality, however, how likely is it? Not very. They might even work long hours at a job they hate, advancing and advancing some more, edging ever closer to their monetary goal and wasting their days away in pursuit of their goal.

Perhaps a healthier goal would be more along the lines of, “find a satisfying job, work hard, and move up in the business as often as opportunities allow until I’m financially stable.”

Do you see the difference?

Which type of goal setter are you? Do you set big, specific goals, only to be disappointed when life turns a corner and the end result isn’t what you were hoping? (And life always turns a corner, am I right?)

Or do you set the type of goals where you can feel satisfied with yourself and the journey you’ve taken, even if things veer off course from time to time?

Really it’s just a collection of moments, hours, and days that make up our lifetime. Are we spending those hours living a life we can be satisfied with, even proud of? Or are we dissatisfied as we go through our days, with our eyes so glued to the prize that we’ve forgotten to live the life that’s in front of us?

Whatever your approach to the future, I encourage you to do a little self-reflection to make sure you’re on a healthy track moving forward. Consider these quick questions:

Am I stressed all the time? If so, why?

Am I trusting God with my future or am I only trusting myself?

Will I feel like a failure if (fill in the blank) doesn’t happen?

God wants to pour his peace over us as he leads us through our days. Are we letting him?

Maybe God has given you big, divine goals. Go after them without putting your self-worth on the line.

Maybe he’s asking you to go a little easier on yourself in order to accomplish the deeds he has planned for you in the everyday (which maybe you keep missing because of your laser focus on what you’ve deemed most important).

A pic from our recent trip to Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Preserve in CA!

The point is, don’t miss the forest for the trees. Take a deep breath and embrace the moment, hour, and day you’ve been given. Take off the pressure you’ve put on yourself and feel the lightness that it brings.

 Being driven is a good thing, as long as your drive is submitted to God’s plan for your life. And oh, does he ever have a plan for your life. A good one. In his goodness you can rest assured.

What has been your experience? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. Also, feel free to drop a suggestion for future blog post topics! Thanks for reading and have an awesome week!

Roadblocks, Extroverts, and Naps

Pretend to be an extrovert. Then take a nap.

These were my words to live by a couple weeks ago when my husband and I were at a 5 day writer’s conference. Because, according to author and speaker Jim Watkins ( http://www.jameswatkins.com ), the three rules to publishing success are: 1. Network. 2. Network. And 3….yep. Network.

This introvert became a wannabe extrovert during those busy days. From 7am until 9pm. Wake up and go to the cafeteria for breakfast…network. Go to classes…network. Coffee break…network. Lunch, more classes, dinner, evening groups…network. Repeat again and again. And then take a nap at the end of the day… a seven hour nap, in my case, which is just barely time to recharge enough to do it again.

It was a little overwhelming and a lot intimidating.

So what do you do when you’re driven toward something but it seems there’s no way to reach your goal without a giant barrier (or two. or three.) blocking your way?

There was a time, not long ago, when I would have said a big no thank you to spending five days out of my comfort zone with a bunch of strangers. This time was different. I knew if I said no to this, I would be handicapping the dream God put on my heart.

When I was young I used to think if God put a dream in my heart, it would just happen. Someone would show up at my door one day, apparently having read my mind, and offer the opportunity I had been longing for.

(Ah, former me…bless her heart.)

At the conference last month Jim Watkins said, “Trust God like it all depends on God and work like it all depends on you.”

This quote is so inspiring to me. It’s easy to get stuck in a place of waiting for God to miraculously make something happen for us. It’s just as easy to get stuck in a place of doing it all ourselves, leaving God trailing behind.

When you’re following God’s path for your life and you come to a blockade (and you will most certainly come to a blockade, if not many), the way I see it you have four choices.

  1. Throw your hands up in resignation and redirect yourself
  2. Listen to see if God wants to redirect you
  3. Find a way through, across, or around the blockade.
  4. Make camp and spend the rest of your life staring at the blockade.

Which one comes most naturally to you? I would say redirecting myself is my natural inclination, before I slow down enough to remember that listening for God’s direction is actually my best bet. And hopefully that will lead to #3, finding a way past the blockade. Lord help me if I resort to #1 or settle for #4.

Often, when our course is being redirected by God, it’s easy to think we missed the mark to begin with. That we never should have started what we began that led us to the point of redirection. But what if that’s not true at all? What if the journey was God’s plan all along?

Another great quote from the conference came from author and speaker Steven James who said,

“Just because God keeps a door closed, it doesn’t mean he didn’t want you to try opening it.”

The door may be kept closed for reasons we will never fully understand. Sometimes the most thorough understanding we can have is simply that God knows best. There’s no telling what lessons we’ll learn or character we’ll develop on the journey of trying that will ultimately benefit us in big ways.

I’ve been spending a lot of time writing over the past year. I’m loving the journey and am learning more every day about what it takes to actually be a writer. And let me tell you…the journey is so much more complex than I ever imagined. Discouraging in many ways, to be honest. I have moments when I consider how much easier it would be to quit.

But then I come back to basics. I focus in on the dream God put on my heart and I block out the other voices, knowing that the dream belongs to God, not me. If he equips me to move past the blockades, (which will inevitably come), then great. If he chooses to redirect me, that’s fine too.

It will be in his strength, either way.

What blockades are in your path today? How will you choose to handle them?

This week, try giving your dreams to God. Trust him and work hard. Do what you’ve got to do. And then take a nap. 🙂

Please leave me a comment to share your thoughts—I’d love to hear what’s going on with you and say a prayer for your journey!