I used to hate that God had plans for me. I knew He had given me abilities, like crocheting. He gave my sisters the ability to sing. He gave my brothers the ability to shoot Nerf guns with deadly accuracy.
I used to dream of living in the country in a little log cabin. I would have a worn out typewriter next to a blackened coffee pot. Right in the middle of the room would sit a huge stuffed rocking chair, with all of my crochet projects sprawled out. Next to a warm, stoked fire sat my deep red guitar. While I was playing, I could look out the window at my bountiful garden, and watch butterflies dance from flower to flower.
Yes, this is where I saw all of my God-given abilities leading me. I wanted nothing more than to write poetry and music that would bring hope to the hopeless. I wanted people to decorate their homes with my dainty little crochet trinkets. I wanted people to wonder so much how I kept my flowers blooming, that they would come to my house so I could teach them.
Now, growing up, I was always told that God had plans for my life- that He gave me those talents so He could use them. I was told to pray for His will, and not mine. I was taught that no matter what I planned for my life, God’s plan was better.
If I hadn’t been so worried about being spanked, I would have called bullshit. Tell me, how does God’s plan even compare to my idyllic little scene in the country? I suppose I’m just expected to give up on ever enjoying my hobbies! God didn’t care about doilies, or love songs, or flowers. He probably had something more practical in mind, like… dishcloths. And hymnals. And carrots.
I had this fear that surrendering my gifts to His will was the equivalent of sacrificing my firstborn. As if I had put so much effort and time into developing them, and He would rip away any enjoyment for His own satisfaction. I envisioned becoming a slave to my own skills; forced to perform them, but as a mindless drone.
Imagine all my fears soothed by lemonade.
My dad has a way of explaining things. I remember one morning we were sitting in our living room -our entire family- talking about trust. We did this alot.
Usually, it started as one kid making a joke. Mom would take that joke, and turn it into a theological discussion. Then, I would chime in with my twelve years of wisdom.
This time was a little different. My dad pitched in.
The discussion on trust had led from trusting Him to answer prayers, to trusting He will bring you through hard times, to -surprise- trusting that His plans are better than our plans.
I think I asked if I had to follow His plans. I mean, I go to Heaven if I believe in Jesus. And I do. So, what if I just want my plans instead?
My dad then told me a story I will never forget.
“You see, it’s like this. Imagine you’re outside, working hard in the garden. It’s hot, and you’ve been sweating for hours. Once you’ve finally pulled the last weed, you’re exhausted. All you want is a glass of lemonade.
So, you sit down on a patio stool, and ask God for a glass of lemonade. You tell Him that you’ve finished in the garden; your work is all done. You explain that you’re very hot, and would like nothing better than an ice-cold drink.
Now, you’ve hit a crossroad. You know you want a lemonade. You can’t see any other option that will make you happy. You can either hold to that, or trust that God’s plan for you is better.
If you choose to give up your own wants, and ask for His will, it can seem scary. What if He tells you to get back to work? What if He gives you a glass of flat Pepsi? What if He doesn’t do anything, and just leaves you there thirsty?
There is no way to know what His plan is, until you ask Him for it. That’s where the trust comes in. You just have to believe that He loves you, and that He knows best.
So you pray, and you ask Him that His will be done. You tell Him that even though all you want is a glass of lemonade, you know His plan is better.
Now you’re sitting there, on the patio stool, and you just finished your prayer. You’re still hot, sweaty, and exhausted. Before you look up, you are filled with a peace in knowing you are in His hands.
Now you open your eyes. There, sitting on the table in front of you, is not a glass of lemonade. No, God can do better than that! Before you rests a huge, frosted pitcher of fresh-squeezed lemons, swimming in the perfect solution of sweet and tart. A minty garnish lies on top, and He has already filled the first glass for you.”
(My dad’s actual story went a bit like: You can pray for a glass, but God wants to give you a pitcher. He doesn’t actually talk like a hippy, that’s just my desire to write in flowery words kicking in.)
Basically, it’s like this:
God knows the desires of our hearts.
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
He created us. He gave us the ability to enjoy the gifts He gave us. He desires to bless us with peace, contentment, and joy. He loves us unconditionally, and is just waiting for us to ask Him to show us.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
That is what His plan is. It’s His way of showing you just how much you can be loved. There is nothing to fear when it comes to His will for us.
Fear is just the Devil’s way of convincing us that God won’t keep His promises.
So, did I give up on my little log cabin dream? Not exactly. I just prayed that He would put me exactly where He wanted me.
And now, as I sit in my cozy little apartment, it’s not espresso I’m drinking, but hot tea. I don’t have a typewriter, I just have a very slow laptop. My rocking chair is not huge, and it’s more like a glider, but it’s perfect. My crochet projects are actually neatly organized in a storage closet. I have one flower sitting on my countertop that I’m hoping I can keep alive. Ironically, my degree is in growing vegetables.
And my music? I don’t have a guitar. In fact, I haven’t played in years. Music is an integral part of my daily life, though. My favorite time of day is setting down whatever project I happen to be working on, so I can sing a little song to my newborn daughter.
I’m so glad I let God plan my life. At times, I thought He had no idea what He was doing.
“I just graduated college, and you want me to work the graveyard shift… at a Denny’s?”
I actually had to fight for that job. I had over ten years of experience as a waitress, including a year at another Denny’s, and a college degree. I had more teeth than any of the other girls, and the only vice my paycheck enabled was dark chocolate.
My first night, I met my future husband.
I get it now.
My prayer for you, is that you can put down the glass, and trust that He has a pitcher. It’s truly a wonderful adventure to live in the blessings of our Creator!
Do you have a glass/pitcher moment in your life? Please share the encouragement below!