New Years resolutions.
We've all had one. A promise to ourselves to be a better, nicer, healthier or more financially responsible person during the coming year than we were the year before.
Often times, though, we forget that while having goals can be very helpful and rewarding, only God knows the future. Only He can really say what changes in our lives will ultimately be the most rewarding.
Personally I found it pretty surprising the first time I learned that God took the time to figure out a plan for my life. After all, He is awfully busy, surely He had better things to do.
But the Bible promises that God has an active role in the planning of our futures.
"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
God applied all of His power; His Omniscience, His Omnipresence, and His Omnipotence, to create the very best plan for our lives that could possibly exist.
Trouble is, our own very limited abilities make these plans impossible for us to comprehend.
This usually means that we come up with our own plans. We set our own goals and cling to our own ideal of what our best life will look like.
Armed with that image we start out at the beginning of every year, marching steadfastly towards that perfect goal.
Now goals aren't a bad thing in and of themselves. The problems come when we start to think that those goals really are as perfect as we've made them out to be.
But they can't be. Because we fashioned them within our limited knowledge of the future. A knowledge that is almost always incorrect in some way. How could any plan turn out well under those circumstances?
Yet more often than not, we fall for the lie that only the success of our own plans will make us happy. That if those plans fail, we ourselves are failures.
The devil loves it when we believe that lie. As he loves when we fall for any of his tricks.
We end up wearing ourselves out for a goal that God already knows isn't what our lives really need. And there He is in the background trying to get our attention for our own benefit.
The truth is that God is the only one who really knows where our lives are heading and what tomorrow holds. Sure we can guess based on probability and take steps toward one specific point in the future shaping those steps to create that future as we move. But only God really knows if all that effort will pan out or not in the end.
This can sometimes lead to unnecessary stress as we take on the futile task of trying to force our own will over God's.
We say to God, "take the wheel" and then stubbornly cling to our day planners, effectively turning him into an unpaid chauffeur.
Our plans should always take a back seat to God's. And this is definitely hard, especially for me. I love being in control. However, God has been working with me lately, helping me to let go when necessary, and I've been better off for it.
So, while we're making that list of resolutions, let's not forget to leave room in our minds and hearts for God's plans.
Thanks for joining me this week!