Surrendering My Plans

Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 23:4-5 (NIV)

I wonder if Jesus ever felt frustrated when God changed His plans for the day. Did Jesus feel that angst that comes from having to re-arrange your schedule and commitments? I like to think that He did. But when I read stories where Jesus had to relinquish control, He didn’t seem to have any angst. He simply, but completely, surrendered His agenda and found joy in an absolute dependence on His Father.

God’s challenging me to have that same mindset these days. Although I’m not much of a planner, I’ve felt God calling me to become one to bring order to my days and calm to my chaos. The hard thing is that when I make plans God will ask me to surrender my plans for His. And since confession is good for the soul, I just have to confess that it’s stinkin hard sometimes. I’ll start to worry about getting things done when they are postponed or what others will think if I have to cancel.

I don’t usually see what God is doing at first. Most of the time it feels like a big interruption in an already hard to balance busy life. But when I pause to listen to His quiet voice in my soul, I sense God telling me His best for my life will only be found in absolute dependence on Him, and this is part of the process. It’s part of Him fulfilling my desire for His perspective and presences in my everyday life.

I’ve had lots of “growth” opportunities in this area ever since I started writing about it last week. I was scheduled to record radio shows last Friday morning to get ahead. I’d written my shows, practiced over and over, got my kids to school, kissed my husband good-bye for the weekend (since I was leaving town) and started getting ready. A friend called and while we talked I noticed my voice was scratchy. Not good. I kept drinking hot tea and humming doe-ray-mees but my throat wouldn’t warm up. Scratchy doesn’t sound so good on the air. Much to my disappointment I sensed God telling me to call my producers to cancel. Sounds easy? It’s not. I have to schedule three people for these recordings and finding a day everyone is available is challenging. I had no choice so we re-scheduled for today. And my plans for this week got re-arranged, too.

Initially, I didn’t see this as a God-interruption. I attributed it to allergies and decided to get ahead on this week’s to-do list. I was feeling a little hungry so I opened the fridge to get something to eat. That’s when I noticed we were short on food. A thought went through my head that this “extra time” would give me the opportunity to make a menu and buy groceries for JJ and the kids’ for the weekend.

Now you need to know that I am emotionally allergic to the grocery store. It’s truly my least favorite place. It makes me tired to go there and I’d be heading out of town so I needed to rest, right? Plus my husband loves the grocery store! Surely, God would not want me to take that blessing from JJ. I thought I’d just write a quick menu and grocery list for JJ. That would be kind enough.

Nope. God wanted me to go and do the whole thing.

What I didn’t share is that I was feeling really sad the night before about going out of town. I didn’t want to be away from my family. And I had prayed about it and asked God to fill that empty place with peace. And you know what? After grocery shopping, I felt like a great mom and wife when I came home and loaded my pantry and refrigerator with food for my guys before I headed to the airport. I felt like I had loved my family well and made a big deposit in their accounts when my boys got off the bus that day.

Only God knew how it would bless me as much as it would bless them. When I left town later my heart felt so full knowing that I had loved JJ in special way because he knows its my least favorite thing to do. And my boys were so excited to have extra special snack options when they got home from school. Their whole weekend was full of fun and food at their fingertips! Every time they ate they were reminded that mom was thinking of them before she left town.

I am so glad God answered my prayer and prepared my heart and my home for me to be away this weekend. I pray that each day Jesus will be give me His eyes to see and ears to hear the faithfulness of my Father even when I don’t understand why His plans are better than mine.

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. Brittany says:

    That is exactly what I love about “Do everything as unto the Lord”. We can grumble or we can praise. If we do it out of love, we WILL get blessed.

  2. lisasmith says:

    Did I write this? Seriously, I was pondering writing on just this topic today…I didn’t and you’ve done a fantastic job of stating my mind!

    When I feel those frustrations you speak of I meditate on this verse: For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. Romans 8:20-21

    So glad my God is into turning frustrations to freedom!!!

  3. I have ‘lots of growth opportunities in front of me now. I am having a lot of feelings of emptiness but praying for peace to fill that empty space is exactly where I am going to start.

  4. deborah says:

    Oh my gosh…I needed to read this!

    I also am “allergic” to the grocery store. I have friends who go once a week and I try very hard to, well, not do that!

    It has never crossed my simple little mind how much it blesses my man and my boys to do such simple things for them.

    I do it….I just don’t always enjoy it.

    Now my perspective will be forever changed.

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

  5. Great words Renee! I’m right there with you. Sometimes it can be so hard to understand what He is doing when it looks so different than I expect. That’s where trust comes in though right? I’m trying to remind myself of that quite often here lately.

  6. How beautiful the way you ministered to and loved your family. Often, when feelings aren’t there, we just have to make that choice.

    Love ya my friend,
    Joy

  7. Cheri Bunch says:

    Dear Renee,
    I loved your devotion and your post. I heard the quote just the other day about the rocking chair…..do you suppose the Lord is trying to tell me to quit rocking and get rolling???

    And I love your diagnosis “emotionally allergic to the grocery store”. I have been fighting it for years!

    Thank you so much for your words of wisdom……..I am going to print your devotion off and come back to it when circumstances are threatening to rob my peace………when my peace goes, it seems that joy likes to pack up and take off with it!

    Have an awesome weekend!

    Blessings,
    Cheri

  8. Lisa @ The Preacher's Wife says:

    Now that’s a fresh perspective on grocery shopping I truly need. I usually tell my kids it would be cheaper for them to learn to eat dollar bills.

    Of course those don’t taste nearly as good as Ramen noodles and Doritos.

    Hope all is well with you Renee and that you have a highly productive trip! :))

    Much love,

    Lisa

  9. Great words Renee! I’m right there with you. Sometimes it can be so hard to understand what He is doing when it looks so different than I expect. That’s where trust comes in though right? I’m trying to remind myself of that quite often here lately.

  10. jennyj2boys says:

    I can so relate. I am the type of person that gets frustrated (letting it out on my kids at times) when things don’t go as planned in my daily life. Then when worry comes in and not knowing that things might change if God has other plans, really brings me to my knees. I’ve learned in the last six months that I don’t like change, and comfort/routine is comfortable. It’s amazing how God can stretch you to draw you closer to Him. Thanks for your words/openness.

    Jenny
    gjcjohnson@usfamily.net

  11. It is so easy to make up our minds for ourselves and to forget who we should let be in control. Thank you for your post and for showing me that God needs to be in control of what is going on in my life.

  12. www.fingerprintsfromhishand.webs.com says:

    This is what is so hard for me – to try and be organized, etc., and then have GOD do the ol’ switcheroo. I think I’m being organized to be a good steward, and HE blows it out of the water. I can’t say I’ve gotten victory over this yet.

    Julie
    sweettea.n.ice@gmail.com

  13. This is what is so hard for me – to try and be organized, etc., and then have GOD do the ol’ switcheroo. I think I’m being organized to be a good steward, and HE blows it out of the water. I can’t say I’ve gotten victory over this yet.

    Julie
    sweettea.n.ice@gmail.com

  14. Gods Student 4 Life says:

    Renee,
    As always – you’ve done a stunning job allowing God to use your every day experiences to bring us a new insight in to Him.

    I have a new perspective!

    Praise God!

    Love and Blessings,
    Melissa
    mggb75@gmail.com

  15. Emotionally allergic to the grocery store..ahaha..I love that line. I feel I am as well, but I go because I know my husband works all day and that is the last thing he wants to do.

    This post was great it gives new meaning on grocery shopping and on all the things we get frustrated with, but are probably tools in our spiritual learning.

  16. God is so good. He has so many blessings to give us if only we will let him. Blessings in ordinary everyday things that we do. Praise God.
    millermkw@hotmail.com

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