When I have to make a decision, I worry. I question it relentlessly, imagine all the outcomes I can think of, and wonder how it will affect me and the people in my life. (If you have ever been shopping with me, you might have seen this on a smaller scale, which is also why I’m not a big fan of shopping.) There have been times in my life when I have felt overwhelmed by anxiety, for things that didn’t merit that much anxiety at all; things like changing my major or stressing about a part time job. This past year I have experienced a lot of grace with anxiety, but with opportunities and decisions coming up, I’ve been noticing this pesky old friend trying to return.
Ever since I began applying for different things after undergrad, my mind has been wandering to the future. I can assure you I have imagined countless possibilities of what my life would look like after this year, some in fun and some with a heavy dose of anxiety. But when I found out I made it to the final round of the interview process for a program I would love to be a part of, I tried not to think about it. It worked for the most part, but now that I’m on my way I can’t push away the questions any longer. This week I kept thinking of what it would be like coming home if I didn’t get it. I kept thinking that if I didn’t get it, then it would just not be God’s plan for my life and something else would work out.
On the plane ride over, when I was half thinking/praying, I thought about how crazy it is to think that God has a specific plan for each of us. Not in a “wow, God is so awesome that He’s panned each of our lives!” crazy, but in a “who do I think I am to think that the God who created the universe has a written plan just for me” kind of way. Yes, I believe God knows what is going to happen in my life, but I don’t think (or at least I really hope) His plan is contingent on my ability to make the right choices. I think so many Christians have romanticized the way we view “God’s plan for our lives” to the point that needing to follow what we believe it is creates more anxiety than God ever intended for us. I believe God has the same plan for each of us, which Jesus told to us before He left.
“And He said to him, ‘You shall love The Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it; You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.'”
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
This is God’s plan for all of us. I think each of us have different passions and gifts that we should use, but those gifts should be used for these reasons. If this is our goal above all else in whatever we are I doing, then we don’t have to worry about finding God’s plan for our lives because we would already be in it. I will never forget the conversation my team and I had about this when I was in Guatemala. If we make a “wrong” decision, God doesn’t say “well I guess you ruined the plan I had for you.” How many of us would be so severely “off course?”
Jesus’ words are my plan. I’m hoping for things where I think I could live out these things, but if it doesn’t happen, the plan doesn’t change. This is also to say I think too many people spend too much time waiting to figure things out, myself included. It’s time to go for things, green light until red. Even if it doesn’t work out, if our utmost desire is to fulfill Jesus’ words, God will work through it.
I don’t know what will happen with this opportunity, I’m certainly hoping, but it doesn’t happen, I know I’ll just continue to (try to) make God’s plan a reality in my life.