When Plans Don’t Go Your Way

I had dreamed of this day since I was a little girl. I would wear the most beautiful white dress surrounded by all my family and friends as I promised forever to the most amazing man. I knew it was a dream I had to hold loosely and constantly surrender to God, whether it was His plan for my life or not. Then I met the incredible Adam, who is now my soon-to-be husband. He planned the sweetest proposal, and we spent the following months envisioning our perfect day—from colors to decor to music and more. Most importantly, this day meant celebrating how God brought us together and the story He’d write as we began our lives together. Dealing with a worldwide pandemic was not in the plan. I’ve watched this storm cause turmoil and upend the lives of so many, and the hovering clouds cross days on the calendar, threatening our anticipated celebration. Confusion, worry, cautious optimism, repeat. My emotions cycled daily, if not hourly. Do we still go on with the wedding? What if we have to limit our guest attendance? Maybe this will all be over soon? I wanted my brain to stop spinning, just for a few moments. Amidst the perpetual questions, I began to sense something deeper that God began stirring in my heart. A passage I’ve known for twenty-some years began to take on a new meaning.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Prov. 3:5–6)

Either I believe God, or I don’t. I can’t say I trust Him if I'm living like everything depends on me. I wasn’t trusting Him wholeheartedly. I was acting out of my own understanding and knowledge. I didn’t acknowledge His presence or His plans for me. I was trying to make my own path. I’m so quick to react in my independence and attempt to find solutions on my own—anyone else? But the good news I’m finding and hope you discover, too, is that it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s never too late to empty our hands before Jesus and fully trust Him. We get to choose how we will respond to any circumstance, change of plans, sickness, or disappointment. Will we choose to trust God?

Rhythms of Trust

What does it look like to trust God, especially when plans look different than we hoped? Tell Jesus how you feel. Talk to Him. One of my best friends is about to get married even sooner than me, and I asked how she was processing everything. She shared that the quickest way for her to get to a place of trust is to be honest with God before she has time to stew on her emotions. When her temptation is to push her feelings away, she brings them to light and doesn’t try to hide them. God made you, and He made your feelings. It is not wrong to be upset or disappointed or confused or sad; it’s only unhealthy when we stay in those places. Jesus is with you in whatever you’re facing, and He cares about your emotions. You can give all your worries to Him because He cares for you (1 Pet. 5:7). As you talk with Him, invite Him into your emotions and allow Him to hold your heart. David reminds us in the Psalms to “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us” (Ps. 62:8). Trust looks like pouring out your heart to the One who cares about you. Remember His goodness. It’s easy to forget God’s faithfulness, but the practice of giving thanks keeps my heart tuned to His goodness. As believers, there is always something to be thankful for. We are free from all of our sins and saved through Jesus’ death on the cross. Talk about gratitude! He demonstrates His goodness in a lot of other ways, showering us with “grace upon grace” (John 1:16). We worship the Lord by our gratitude. Psalm 92:1–2 says, “It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night.” It is good to give thanks to Him, to adore Him—not just for what He does, but also for who He is. When I wake up in the morning and before I go to bed at night, remembering His steadfast love draws me to a deeper trust. How do you see God’s gifts in your life, right this moment? Keep your eyes up. Next to eternity, one day is only a speck. When I can’t sleep because I’m worrying about how much food we’re going to order for the wedding or how we’re going to notify our guests of changes, God gently reminds me that, though those things are important, they are not where I should put my hope or satisfaction. In my temptation to get caught up in the blur of planning, Psalm 90:12 reminds me to spend each day wisely:

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

Look up and see that life is right now. It doesn’t begin when we’re married or have the perfect job or the perfect house or all the money we could ever want. Each day is an opportunity to trust God.

The Best Adventure

I’m writing these reminders for myself in the middle of the unknown as God lovingly pulls me into His trustworthy arms. Even as I move forward with wedding plans that look much different than I hoped, the grief I experience can coexist with the joy that’s here and coming. If you’re afraid of what your future will look like . . . If you’re waiting for healing . . . If your graduation or sport or season has been canceled . . . God knows what you’re experiencing, and He wants you to draw near to Him. Ask Jesus to help you trust Him with your whole heart. In a month, I will walk down the aisle to my future husband and say yes to serving Jesus by his side, forever. Whether it’s the day I pictured or nothing like it, marriage is about far more than the wedding. Let’s release our tight grips. May every part of our lives be marked with wild trust. God is faithful, and choosing to trust Him is the best kind of life there is.

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.