For years I was single much longer than I wanted to be. I knew what I wanted and I wasn’t going to relent. That was that.
So I waited.
Maybe you’ve experienced this too. Have you waited a long season for the answers to come? Have you felt disillusioned with the dating scene? Or waiting what felt like an eternity for the perfect job to fall in your lap? Waited for change to come? Ever thought ‘if I just had __ I’d be so much happier?’
During those single days, I had serious moments of loneliness. Of longing. And sometimes of downright envy. That time was a constant leaning in on God’s strength and not my own. I had a choice to make: I either trusted his plan and waited, or I didn’t trust him and walked my own path. I chose the former and it was hard. I’d like to tell you that all my wishes came true in the moment I chose to trust him, but it was often a battle. It was a shaping, though, a forming of my character in likeness to God. A leaning in and a deep trust that I had never experienced before.
During that time, I discovered a few things about God:
- He’s not a genie in a bottle to grant every wish and prayer just how I ask it
- He is sovereign and I can trust him
- His plans are for me too. I’m not left out of them just because I’m in this difficult place
- In the midst of learning contentment, the best thing I can do for my soul and well being is to take my eyes off myself and my situation and learn something new
And that is what I did. I called it my “Plan Be.”
My plan A was to be married by 23, have 3 kids by 28 and have an accomplished career.
There was no original Plan B; it wasn’t in the picture. I never thought my life would look too different from Plan A. Call it naivety if you want, but it was the common thread from friends and family around me, so surely it would happen for me too.
“Plan Be” rolled out during the midst of a tough season. My valley of waiting. What am I doing with my life? I thought to myself. Inching closer to my 30s, I focused on career and grad school. I made a lot of plans like: “I’ll do this in case I get married one day soon,” or “this is a dream for my future husband and I to do together one day.” Traveling, studying, mission work, you name it. All really good dreams and really good plans.
But I was stifling myself and I didn’t even know it.
While setting myself up for how to be a good catch, it took awhile to realize that I was God’s catch and this was part of my story.
But I could “be” in the moment. I could live where I was right now, in the situation my feet were firmly planted in.
One of my most favorite quotes is by missionary and martyr Jim Elliot: “Wherever you are, be all there.”
Was I really dedicated to mentoring girls? Was I actively involved in my ladies bible study? Was I truly devoted to volunteering my time in an area I claimed I was passionate about? Or was I constantly planning for my potential future, always on the lookout for what might be around the next corner?
I think we all do this throughout our lives in various aspects. We look for fulfillment in so many other things. In places. In people. In the comforts of this world that was never designed to bring us the satisfaction God gives.
These were the places I had found myself in, but I couldn’t find contentment with because I didn’t have what I thought would bring fulfillment in my life.
So I changed my focus and began to see how I could show up for things. How do I work on my life, where I am in this moment, instead of waiting for something “better” to show up? How can God use me?
Plan Be is: be all in. Be all there.
God places gifts and callings in our lives for us to use them to further the kingdom. That doesn’t start when you get married. It starts today. Just because you dream of being on the mission field with your spouse, doesn’t mean you won’t be one day. But why wait to go on the mission field until then? Just because you think getting that job will open up more opportunities for you to give, doesn’t mean you can’t start giving right now. What is holding you back?
It’s about seeing with eyes that look toward God’s plans.
The reality is, it’s not about me and it’s not about you, your future, your plans. It’s about all of us using our time, our talents, and treasures for the here and now. God will work and do so much with our Plan Be.
So what is Plan Be?
- Be a gift to someone: utilize your gifts and talents to serve another. Have the conversation you’ve been needing to have. Be present with your time for another soul.
- Be the light a person needs to see today, even if it is out of your comfort zone and not something you would consider ‘exciting.’
- Be honest: be honest with yourself about where you are. Share your vulnerabilities with others. Share your heart with God.
- Be free: you are free from the chains of this world. You can live and walk in that truth today.
- Be adventurous: God puts that spirit in us and he uses it and works in it. Watch what he’ll do!
- Be on mission: you can use your gifts to share the love of Christ with all you come in contact with. Try starting with your next door neighbor.
- Be present: enjoy the moments you have. Be present for someone, show up. Guard your time. Remove distractions.
- Be grateful: list out things you are thankful for on a daily basis. Maybe set up a chart in a visible place in your home, maybe start a journal. Whatever it is, be intentional about expressing gratitude for what you’ve been given in this life.
Now I’m married and guess what? I’m in another stage of Plan Be. I have had things happen in my life that were completely out of my control and not what was in my “master plan.” Not what I wanted for this season. But I go back to what I can do in this moment; how can I live well in this season?
How do I find joy and contentment when life doesn’t go according to my plans?
I rest in his arms and I trust him. Then I move out of myself.
Maybe it was never about Plan A anyway.
*Get a free download of Plan Be self reflections when you subscribe below!*