Whatever the plans, they usually carry one of two emotions: extreme excitement in anticipation...or extreme worry in anticipation. Of course, these two could be intermingled together or with others, but those are the usual ones. There are usually two ways plans can go also. Either they work out the way you had, well...planned (ha! pun intended), or they don't work out the way you had planned. For example, I planned to go to college to become a teacher for most of my life. That was my dream and my longing for when I grew up. In 2008, that plan and longing became real as I began my first year of teaching. On the other hand, as a teenager and a college student, I had "planned" (hoped? pleaded with God? lol) to be married with a child or two by the time I turned 30. Yeah. Not so much at this rate! :)
Do you ever feel like your plans not panning out the way you'd like is a sign that God isn't listening to your heart's cry? Honestly, yes. I've been there...many times! However, I think I'm learning that it's more than that. God hears our heart's cry; He knows our deepest and most sincere longings in life. However, He also considers our needs above our wants. If the plan doesn't work out, then God has other plans for you (...me). What else are you supposed to be focusing on right now? What does God want to teach you?
I'm learning. It's not always easy. It's not always fun. But God's teaching me and loving me through it. Even if I do become impatient while watching my plans be washed away with the rain!
This past week, my group of Bible study girls and I started our study on Esther. We're using Beth Moore's study, and it's going to be great! We did the introductory session on Thursday evening, and it was great to dig into God's word again. Sometimes, I have great aspirations (plans) to dig deeper and learn more, but it's hard on your own. It's so great to have a guide to go by. I can't wait!
For my 52 in 52 verse this week, I'm memorizing Romans 15:4. It says...
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope.
I think that sums up my ambition with 52 in 52 this year. Everything word God wrote is to be used as our guide, as our example and lesson. Through these words, we learn more about Him and His ways. We learn of His outrageous love for us, that is not hindered or weakened by anything. And through these, we find hope. Beth Moore defines hope (well, I think she actually pulled it from a dictionary...) as a confidence, an eager anticipation, and a great expectation for what is to come. Our hope, when it is not put in God, can turn out looking pretty hopeless. However, when we seek God and and put our hope in His plans for our lives (instead of hoping in our own plans), an eager anticipation and expectation begins to grow. An excitement for what He is doing now can help us endure the absence of what we expected to see in our lives at this time.
My prayer this week as I memorize this scripture is that God will plant, water, and grow a bright hope in my heart for His purposes in my life instead of my own.