James 4:14b – For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
We all have a sequence of events in our head of how we think our lives will go and through every phase of that sequence, we’re oftentimes dreaming and planning for the next phase without stopping to enjoy the season we’re in. Think about it.
As a kid, you start dreaming about what you will be and what you’ll do when you grow up. That’s probably one of the most asked questions of kids – “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As you’re in school, you learn what you’re interested in, what you’re good at, and you think ahead as you firm up those plans of what you eventually want to study.
Once you enter high school, especially as you go into your junior and senior years, there’s a lot of pressure to pick a path and stick to it, whether it be college, trade school, or the military. In college, you may start to have anxiety about whether or not you picked the right path and whether you can do a job in this field for your entire life.
Entering the workforce, oftentimes people realize they hate the career they’ve chosen, and they feel like they wasted the past 4-8 years of college studying something they now realize doesn’t fulfill them. Or, even if you do like your career, if you’re not married by the time you graduate, people start to wonder when you’re going to find that person to marry who you think will “make your life complete”. Once you get married, you can go ahead and burn all your plans because it’s two people with two different plans coming together who need to make one new joint plan.
If and when you do get married, then the questions immediately start coming about when you’ll have kids. When you have kids, you might as well throw all your plans completely out the window because everything is in pencil. Sidenote: I absolutely love our five kids but the only difference between a toddler boy and a terrorist is size. They will find the sharpest object in the house and climb to the highest possible place in the house and see what happens.
As your kids get older, you start to make plans for them – what they will study, where they’ll go to college, who they will marry – and as you head into your 50’s and 60’s, the pressure of retirement planning begins. You wonder how you can find a hammock instead of a desk.
A plan is not a bad thing. In fact, plans are my love language and I have plans about plans on top of plans. But, if plans get in the way of enjoying and savoring where God has you in each season, it’s going to be a pretty miserable life and will just feel like a race to the finish line where you turn around and wonder where your life went.
Make plans but do it in pencil, learn how to pivot if need be, and take time to realize that relationships are more important than plans every single time.
What is the difference for your life between planning for the future and presuming that God will follow your plan for the future?