When God’s Plans Don’t Match Our Own

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11

I dated a guy in high school who was smart, devilishly handsome, a talented athlete, funny in the most brilliant and unexpected ways, charismatic enough to be a pied-piper for hermits, and a natural way about him that made you feel like you were the only person in the universe. We’ll call him Festus. I fell for Festus, and I fell hard. My heart pitter-pattered every time I got near him, and I wanted him to loooooooove me with every fiber of my being. Never mind he was also the baddest of bad boys and my mother, who always just knows about people, detested him with everything that was in her.

Over a short time, it became clear that my beloved thought I was a little too goody-goody for him, and our relationship began to falter. I would pray and pray and pray to God to just make it work. Pleading for Him to change him into the guy I needed him to be, or me into the girl that my boyfriend wanted. God did neither of those things – Festus stayed a bad boy, and it wasn’t in me to sacrifice my moral code for a guy. He ended up cheating on me with one of my closest friends – apparently, I wasn’t the only girl he abused his charms on. When I found out, it felt like a herd of elephants stampeded my heart. I was shattered.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” – Isaiah 55:8

Fast-forward 26 years: I stumbled across a mugshot of that same ex the other day. Actually, it was only one of his five separate mugshots that I could see on the website. He had an impressive array of charges surrounding the photos, most of which were burglary, paternity, and drug-related. When I saw his arrest record, the first thing I did was thank God He didn’t answer my prayers in the way I so desperately wanted. God knew my heart better than I did. He knew His plan for me. He knew what was best and things I had no way of knowing. The Holy Spirit used that relationship to help me recognize specific characteristics I liked in a partner, but also that it was vital to consider the whole package.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6 

Eleven years after that guy and I broke up, God led me to marry an intelligent, handsome, talented man, who is funny in the most brilliant and unexpected ways, charismatic enough to be a pied-piper for hermits, and who has a natural way about him that makes you feel like you are the only person in the universe.  He gave me a guy man who loves Jesus and puts him first. One who cherishes me, believes in and supports me, builds me up to higher heights, and sets the most fantastic example for our kids. My Mike loves me for me – including all my goody-goody, wild, weird, and nerdy. God knew what He was doing, but I was praying in all the wrong ways for all the wrong things and trying to impose my will upon God.

“ And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

The moral of the story is this: When you pray, let it be for God’s will do be done in your life and not your own. Do this in every area of your life – not just regarding romantic love. Pray for His wisdom and guidance, and for God to help you to accept and steward whatever He wills for you. God is trustworthy. When you demand specifics that aren’t in His plan, He won’t give them to you – and for a good reason! Accept the “no” with thanksgiving! God is for you. Can you imagine where I would be if God answered my prayers the way I wanted him to? I can’t. And I don’t want to. Sometimes, God’s greatest “I love you” to us comes in the form of a “no.”

My prayer for you:

God, please help this beautiful woman accept Your plan for her life. Soften and open her heart so that she learns to trust you implicitly. You are a great and wonderful God whose ways are higher than our own. Thank you for helping her to recognize that, and for straightening her paths so they all lead back to you. Thank You for blessing and comforting her today. Amen.

You are loved.

Thank you for reading! I know how valuable your time is.

Did this help or inspire you? Perhaps you’ve already experienced the blessing of a “no”? If so, I would love to hear from you, and I’m sure some other readers would, too! Let’s create a community of supportive, God-loving women! Help the other ladies know they’re not alone by sharing your thoughts or experiences in the comments below.

If you’re from the Mansfield, Ohio area and want to deepen your relationship with God, my upcoming “Overflowing Women: Pour” class might be just what you need. We’d love to have you! They’re every Wednesday during the month of October. Click for more information.

If this helped you, please click the “Like” star and follow the blog to get weekly inspiration delivered straight to your inbox! As always, if you know anyone who will benefit from reading this, please spread the love and share! Let them know you’re there for them.

You can also find me on Instagram or Facebook. I’d love to see some pics of your overflow! You can tag me and use the hashtag #overflowingwoman

Photo by Julentto Photography on Unsplash

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