Ask a group of 4-year-olds what they want to be when they grow up and you’ll most likely hear things like: a fireman, teacher, doctor, veterinarian, or a giraffe! Even at that early age little people have a picture of what they think their life will look like. Granted, these dreams change over the years.
At 10 they want to be a Youtuber, professional baseball player, ballerina or such. By the time they’re a college freshman they either have a definitive answer or no clue as to what they want to do and be. Four short years later, as they walk across that stage at graduation the blank canvas of life is wide open, yet the beginning of adulting seems a bit overwhelming – the wonder if they can be all they long to be. The plans of life seem at the same time exciting and daunting.
We’ve all had dreams. Some came to be. Some didn’t. The ones that come to be usually bring a sense of accomplishment and reward, they are positive experiences. No trouble there. The tough things to handle are those dreams that didn’t work out the way we had always planned that they would.
In scripture, Joseph had dreams that worked out. They were given to him by God, so of course they did. But his older brothers’ dreams didn’t. They dreamed of being in charge because they were older and higher in the pecking order. Some little rugrat brother was not going to rule over them, and they would certainly never bow down to him. But our plans don’t always pan out. And theirs didn’t. They one day found themselves bowing down to that little brother all grown up and in charge, because their life depended on his help, his authority, his position above them.
Have you found yourself in an I-never-dreamed-it-would-end-up-like-this-life? Perhaps it was youthful dreams of a Cinderella romance that didn’t pan out. Maybe it was a career that went off track and left you floundering. Possibly it was unexpected health or financial issues. It could have even been a derailing of your dreams caused by your own bad choices.
What do we do when that happens, when life takes a detour that wasn’t in our play book? Does it devastate us and stall us out on living? Do we become untrue to our principles and convictions? Bitter and resentful? Or do we find a way to rise above?
I want to encourage you today, that whatever path you find yourself treading, the Lord will bring about His purposes in your life. In Proverbs 19:21 God’s Word tells us, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
We need to lean on Him, to trust Him. But what we often do is try to manipulate and figure it all out with our own fallible wisdom. Or we “phone a friend” and get their answer (human & fallible) to our situation. The book of Proverbs tells us what we should do.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 16:3-4 “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. The Lord works out everything to its proper end…”
The book of Psalms reminds us where to look for guidance when our life goals seem squashed and our hearts are saddened because things just aren’t working out.
Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”
Psalm 119:130 “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”
So, if today things seem like you’re at a dead end or you really wish you were in a different place, turn to the Father. Go to His Word. Seek Him in prayer. Pour out your heart’s deepest desires and trust Him to be the one to accomplish all that and so much more in your life. Then lay down your plans and look forward to the fertile pasture He will bring you to. You may not get to be the giraffe you had dreamed of being as a 4-year-old, but I guarantee, God is good, He does good, and He has good plans for your life. Sit back and enjoy the adventure. And don’t say “No” if He says he’s taking you to a new place.