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  • Writer's pictureGabrielle Spencer

What To Do When God Changes The...Your Plan?

We’ve all been there.

You’re reading the mile markers and all the signs. Everything is on schedule. Suddenly, you see that bright orange sign- “Detour Ahead.”

It’s cool. There’s probably some construction going on ahead. Maybe you’ll need to take the service road.

You keep driving, and then you see it- the detour sign.

It has an arrow pointing in the opposite direction of that which you were going in.

You furrow your brow in confusion.

You think to yourself, “This is not the way I’m supposed to go.”

You turn right, and the GPS says, “You have left the planned route.”

Your first thoughts are to pull over.

You look at the GPS.

You scroll back through the directions to see if you took a wrong turn somewhere.

Nope. You followed the directions correctly. You listened to the voice commands. How could you not- the monotone voice recording kept interrupting your favorite playlist.

Ah! A moment of clarity!

You decide to fast forward through the directions to see if you’ll somehow end up where you’re supposed to be.

No signal! Seriously?!?

You get back on the road, and the GPS says, “Would you like me to recalculate your route?”

Girl, I guess...

If this has not been your experience- keep living.

Some detours we take on our won. We decide that the path set before us is not the one we want to take. We get sidetracked. A shiny object gets our attention, and we follow it only to realize it was glitter and not gold.

Other times, we follow the path set by someone else- our parents, that well-meaning teacher or professor, our friends. Finally, we hear God’s voice, and we decide to follow Jesus. We commit our plans to Him, and we are excited because Proverbs 16:3 says He will establish them. But did you read the verses before that or even the one after it? As an ELA teacher, let me tell you- context (clues) matter.

1 We can make our own plans,

but the Lord gives the right answer.

2 People may be pure in their own eyes,

but the Lord examines their motives.

3 Commit your actions to the Lord,

and your plans will succeed.

4 The Lord has made everything for his own purposes,

even the wicked for a day of disaster.

Proverbs 16:1-4

Let’s break this down, shall we?

Proverbs 16:1 tells us that we can make plans, but the Lord gives the right answer. What does that even mean?!? (Calm down, I can hear your frustration, ma’am/ sir!)

It means that while we may plan and pray and get a green light from God to move on our plans, the outcome is still His call. Think about what he says in Isaiah 55:8-9:

8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.

“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so my ways are higher than your ways

and my thoughts higher than your thoughts...”

So why bother planning at all? Good question. Let’s look at Proverb 16:2:

3 People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives.

We have a plan. But so does He.

Our plan looks like a good plan. We sprinkle it with a good measure of prayer and even scripture, or we may go deeper in prayer and even fasting. Then, we allow our thoughts to run with the possibilities.

We can picture it so clearly- that new house, that dream job, that prospering business. We have even decided how it will best serve God and the Kingdom. Maybe God gave you the vision but be mindful we don’t have the whole picture.

Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 13:9:

9 Now, our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!

What am I saying? You may think that your motives are pure, and they very well may be pure. But God examines the heart, and He sees far beyond the surface. Sure, He may want the same things for you that you desire. But God sees the bitterness, the unforgiveness, the lack of discipline in your finances or time management- all the things that could undermine everything you want to do. If His plans are good for you- and they are- to give you hope and a future, why would He allow you to build anything you cannot maintain. Why would you want Him to?

Now, back to that verse, we love so much- Proverbs 16:3. Let’s look at that first word- commit.

What does it mean? If you google the verb, there are various definitions. Again, we want to be sure we are using it correctly in context, so there are two definitions we want to focus on here.

Commit: a. to pledge or assign to some particular course or use

b. to put into charge or trust: ENTRUST

The first definition is what we do. We must pledge or assign ourselves to some particular course or use. We think. We pray. We seek wisdom from others. We fast.

The second definition is also what we do. We must put into God’s charge or trust our plans; we entrust them to Him. Now, how He establishes them is His business.

This brings us to Proverbs 16:4:

4 The Lord has made everything for his own purposes,

even the wicked for a day of disaster.

Again, there is no way we will know what He’s up to. We have no idea what’s on the other side of our commitment, obedience, yes- and even our no. We can only trust that He knows- the good, the bad, the ugly- and all of it is being used for His purpose- even the wicked cannot escape His plans.

Now, what do we do? Pivot and shift, of course!

Here are some directions for the road trip:

1.Listen carefully for His voice. Isaiah 30:21

21 Your ears will hear him.

Right behind you, a voice will say,

“This is the way you should go,”

whether to the right or to the left.

The only way we can get directions is if we are listening with our “own ears.” Always keep your ears open for His voice.

2. Trust and seek Him. Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;

do not depend on your own understanding.

6 Seek his will in all you do,

and he will show you which path to take.

I cannot stress the importance of trusting and seeking him- He will show you which path to take.

3. Surrender. Matthew 11:28-30

8 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

His way will always produce the best outcome. Allow him to lead you fully. It will lighten the load.

4. Check your engine (heart). Philippians 2:14-15

14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.

There is nothing worse than taking a road trip with someone who is mumbling and complaining the whole way there. Remember the children of Israel in the wilderness on their way to the Promised land? (See Exodus and Numbers- they complained A LOT!) Don’t be like them. Check your heart and cast anything that is not like God aside. Leave it on the side of the road.

Enjoy the ride!

Love y’all,


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