Jesus Is Better Than Even Our Best Plans

I like to have a plan. Spontaneity is good and fun at certain times, but generally, I prefer to know where I’m going and when, especially when it comes to big life decisions. Where should I go to college?  Where should I live?  Where should I work?  What career am I going to pursue?  The list can go on and on, right? These questions feel daunting, especially if you’re like me and have no idea which direction to go. I remember when I was fresh out of college and ready to begin my career, but I didn’t have a plan. I felt paralyzed. Stuck in overthinking. Uncertain if the paths I wanted to pursue were what God wanted or my own will. I thought I was doing the right thing by asking God what He wanted for my life, but what do we do when God doesn’t give us a plan? Sister, if you want to know God’s will but it seems like He’s not leading you—oh, have I been there. I know you long to follow the path the Lord has for you. I understand the desperate prayers as you face upcoming decisions. I see your pure heart wanting to please and obey God. You’re right to ask Him to lead you. But as you do that, I want to offer some encouragement that may help you shift your perspective. If you’ve ever wished the Lord would display a sign in the sky meant just for you, you’re not alone. God can absolutely reveal plans in miraculous ways, but most times He chooses a different approach. The months I spent job searching and praying, pleading with God to show me His will for my life were difficult, but that season was the beautiful beginning of Jesus redirecting my gaze.

Not the Answer I Expected

As I spent time searching through the Bible and poring over Christian books about finding God’s will for my life, the Lord began revealing a common theme, but it was not the answer I was looking for. I found that His will is far less concerned with the specifics, and more about who we are becoming in Him. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Did you catch those words? This is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. To rejoice always, to pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in every circumstance. Somehow we tend to make our search for God’s will a lot more complicated, as if it’s something big and mysterious that is hard to find. But verses like these and other Scriptures indicate that His desire is for us to know Him, be sanctified by Him, and trust Him (1 Tim. 2:3–4, 1 Thess. 4:3, Prov. 3:5-6). Instead of giving us the specific details of where we’ll end up, He shows us how to live as His people—those He loves with an everlasting love. Though God cares about every detail and it’s good to ask Him for guidance for your life, it’s easy to let your plans or future become an idol. We can get caught up in what we want from God or what He can do for us, rather than desiring Him more than anything. When we turn our attention to Jesus, He becomes the focus, and suddenly our plans don’t seem as important.

Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! —1 Chron. 16:11

Are we seeking His presence more than we’re seeking what He can do for us? Jesus offers us so much more in Himself than all of the best plans we could dream up. Whether you’re wrestling with surrendering your hopes and dreams to the Lord, or just trying to ask Him what He wants for your life, start by reminding yourself who God is and seeking His presence. You are free from having to plan your life. God has good plans for you, and He asks that you trust Him. You trust Him more by knowing Him better; He is the Good Shepherd. If you haven’t heard this series by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth on Psalm 23 from Revive Our Hearts, take a listen. Like sheep follow the shepherd because they know him, we hear and follow Jesus because we know Him. He is the loving, kind, caring Shepherd. Jesus talks about this shepherd metaphor throughout John 10. Do you know Him like the sheep know their shepherd? Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Let’s stop chasing after our futures and plans, and start chasing Jesus, our loving Shepherd.  My life looks nothing like I thought it would—it’s so much better. It’s better because my goal changed from finding the perfect plan for my life to knowing Jesus. By pursuing Him, studying His Word, and seeking His face, discovering His plan for my life simply became a byproduct of walking with Him.

About the Author

Micayla Brickner

Micayla Brickner serves on staff with Revive Our Hearts and loves encouraging others with the truth and wonder of the gospel. She is a big fan of chasing sunrises, sharing conversations over coffee, and finding joy in everyday moments. Micayla and her husband, Adam, live in the Midwest with their son.