Welcome back on another journey towards a Steady Mind.
Every year around my birthday, I usually sit down to reflect on what the year has been for me and plan out the things I want to achieve in the year coming. I am about to turn 24 in a few days and for the first time, I am realizing how much of my life has been consumed by and committed to my personal timeline.
If you're anything like me, you have personal ideas of what each of the different stages of your life should look like. For those that have no idea of what I'm talking about, they kind of sound like this:
"I want to be a millionaire by 28."
"I want to be married by 30." "I want to graduate college by 25."
"I want to have all my kids before 34."
"I want my business to take off by this time next year"
Now, let me make it abundantly clear that there is absolutely nothing wrong with planning and/or wanting to do things within a certain timeframe. In fact, I believe in the old proverb that says, “he who fails to plan, plans to fail.” But, we find ourselves troubled when we are so committed to these plans that we don't give God room to alter them for His glory and our benefit.
As we move forward, please understand:
Planning is not an issue, but making a god of the plan is.
If you can't identify with this one, that's okay. But a lot of us within this Steady Minds community (myself included) have been bound to timelines and obsolete systems for so long that it has become unnoticeable. I am all about being disciplined, but there comes a time when we all should ask ourselves: is what I've been disciplined to beneficial?
Am I trying to make things happen in my own strength just because I want to beat a clock? Am I forcing myself to become someone I’m not and doing things I don’t want to simply because I feel that it’ll lead me to the promises of God quicker than His perfect timing which has already been set?
Am I placing myself under unnecessary pressure because I am comparing myself to the timeline of others?
While we should possess the ability to plan, that ability should never trump our capacity to submit our lives (and plans) wholeheartedly to God.
The Height of Laziness
Let’s get this straight; I believe that the “height of laziness” is having a deep passion for something, but not having the desire to follow the principles that will lead you to it. Principles are important - and so is discipline.
You'll never be able to maintain anything if you have no sense of commitment to it. The goal is not to lose sight of what has been working. The goal is to rid ourselves of the things that aren't. In many instances, we know what's not working for us, but we don't have the will power to change.
What's "normal" is not always healthy, and what's "regular" is not always productive. It's not about the time that you reach your goal, it's about the manner in which you get there.
A change in strategy can go a long way. There is absolutely nothing with stopping and reviewing what works for you. Even if that means unlearning what was handed down to you and picking up something new. Go after it, but make sure you're going in the right direction!
The Backbone of John
After Jesus came on the scene, it was His cousin, John the Baptist who said "I must decrease and He (Jesus) must increase. In this instance, John was talking about the stages of their ministry. However, this is something that I take with me in every aspect of my life.
His will for us should always go before ours. Though this is not easy, it takes having serious trust in God to let go of the wheel and allow Him to fully take control of our situations. John trusted in Jesus and so much that he allowed Him to take over ministering to the community. In that instance, John knew that his work was completed and it was now the responsibility of Jesus to carry on.
I know you are strong enough to carry it, but are you courageous enough to let go? Do you trust Him enough to handle what you are trying to produce?
Moral of the Story
In each of us there is an end; a place where He must take over. Timelines are one of the greatest struggles for every person to let go of. There are so many people facing depression, insecurities, stress and sickness because what they desired didn't happen in the timeline they wanted it to.
Just because it didn't happen in your timeline doesn't mean that it wont happen at all. God's timing is perfect. And when it happens He always shows us why His set time is better than ours. My prayer is that as His time approaches, you are will be met adhering to the principles and disciplines that are effective for you.
If we don't find the time to commit our plans to God and even find out what His plans are for us, we'll continuously be in a cycle of restlessness. Your planning is not in vain - He just wants to be incorporated in them.
So, this birthday, I won't spend it planning on what's next. But, I'll spend it celebrating what has been and keeping an open mind and heart for what's to come.
Are you exhausted with what you have been trying to do and trying to carry? Are you disappointed that things didn't work out in your timeline? I am confident that God has a better way - but, it is only found in His timeline.
I leave you with this:
Commit your works to the LORD [submit and trust them to Him], And your plans will succeed [if you respond to His will and guidance].
- Proverbs 16:3, AMP Version