Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sometimes God Has Other Plans

Jenn here.

I'm a planner. I have all these plans, and I probably drive my husband insane with all my lists of plans. But in my defense, I can't seem to help myself. So when my plans don't go the way I anticipate them, you can imagine my frustration and my alternate plans of interaction, to make my original plans to work.

I received my four year degree in three years. I had plan A, B, C, and D--just in case. By the time I was 25, there wasn't anything I hadn't accomplished that I'd set out to do. I was so determined, so dogged in my pursuits that I rarely failed at anything. I was under the impression that God would bless those who work hard. He was on my side. There wasn't anything I couldn't do if I set my mind to do it. I had the mind of Christ.

Then I decided I wanted to be published by the time I reached the age of 30.

Can you see the uh-o that was about to slam me in the face and wipe me clean off my feet?

Over the next ten years I learned a great deal about pride, over-confidence, allowing God to be in control, and quite a bit about humbleness. Not everyone needs these lessons. What I mean is, if you've always struggled with building enough confidence to do things, then God is going to work with you differently than He does me. He gives each of us, exactly what he need.

Once I started learning some lessons of humility, I stopped writing for three years. I froze. I shut down. I was afraid to move in any direction. I didn't know what God wanted from me anymore or what was expected of me. What was my purpose? What I had thought was my purpose, obviously wasn't. I didn't know where to draw the line or tell the difference between confidence and pride. It was another lesson I had to learn.

Needless to say, after I was dismantled and rebuilt, I started writing again. I learned to start making my plans again, but this time I knew that God was in control of my destiny, not I. He would give me the desires of my heart when the time was right. And sometimes He had a better plan for me, than I had devised for myself, but I had to learn to trust Him more than I trusted myself.

One example of this was when an editor requested I write a particular manuscript. I prayed over it and wrote it during the next 6 months. Guess what? She rejected it. She felt like the plot was too detailed and intense for the short length of their line. She was right. My dilemma was, it wasn't the appropriate length for any other publishing houses either. Remember my plans for A, B. C, and D? Well, plan B was a more detailed plot that would lengthen the manuscript by 35K words. I think the revised plot is better. Now it has a higher chance of being published because it is an appropriate length for several publishing houses--not one. If it is published, it will be on the shelf much longer, since it is a single title.

My first plan was A. But I had to be flexible enough to recognize that God's plan was B and it was a better plan for me. Have you seen God's hand at work in your life, where He had a better plan for you than you had for yourself?


  1. Over-confidence was NOT a problem of mine - God had to work a long time to bring my self-esteem into the positive.

    I set a goal at age fourteen to be an author and began actively pursuing that dream in my mid-thirties. I had no intensions of becoming a professional speaker. None! But somehow, that is where He has led me...

    L. Diane Wolfe

  2. Plans can serve to motivate us, but publishing goals are out of our control. How wonderful that we can surrender them to the Lord and know He'll work things out for our best--in His time.

    I recently had to set aside the story I was working on. I'd reached 50 of 60K, so this wasn't easy. However, my voice wasn't working for that story. Tough as it was to abort my plan, I'm much happier with what I'm writing now. I'm glad I heeded God's redirect.

  3. Diane,

    Because so many authors are introverted, I think it's hard for them to start speaking in public and putting their work out there to be critiqued by the world.

    Until I understood God's role in my life, I think what I had was a false sense of self-confidence.

  4. Keli,

    I think it's great that you were able to recognize that you short abort your plan. Sometimes it's hard to know when to let something go and when we just need to persist like the widow who kept knocking, seeking and wouldn't give up.

  5. It really is hard to know when to set something aside or when to give up on something. I always fear that it's just, well, fear, talking! It takes a lot of prayer and faith to follow where God is leading.

    I've had to keep working through disappointments and rejections. I guess I'm just stubborn enough to keep going. I guess, looking at it now, God gave me that stubborn determination! :)