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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

02 Jul '11

Life as we know it and life as we planned it

Posted by T.J. Addington in personal growth, spiritual formation, The heart, trust
I can already see the smile on your face if you are in your forties or later! For many of us, perhaps most of us, life as we know it today is very different than life as we planned it. That is certainly true for me. The question is, have we adjusted and embraced life as we know it rather than living in sadness or bitterness over life as we planned it.

Life as we planned it is a product of our youth, largely devoid of the realities of living in a sinful, fallen world which causes life to come undone (see my new book) and change in ways we never could have imagined. More than that, life as we planned it cannot take into account the sovereign work of God in our lives who wants to use us in ways that we could not have imagined. His divine preparation for our use takes us to places we could have never imagined. 

Think of Moses. From a life of privilege and nobility, could he have possibly imagined forty years as a shepherd in the wilderness? Yet that was the path God took him on so that when he met Him in the burning bush he was prepared for the task ahead of him.

Think of David. He is anointed by Samuel as the next king and then finds himself running for his life for years as Saul tries to kill him. Yet, it was in those years that many of the Psalms were written which show how God was shaping his heart in the process of his wilderness experience. He would become the greatest king Israel would ever have. 

The reality is that God has a way of taking our dreams and molding us for impact that is far beyond what we could have imagined but the path to that greater impact is a path of hardship and even the wilderness that forces us to trust Him more, push into Him more, develop authentic faith and hard won character. His diversions for our lives are not aberrations but are His contribution to life as we planned it. Even when that means taking great heartache and redeeming it for His purposes.

One of the conclusions I have is that life as I planned it does not have the color, opportunities, growth, faith filled moments and trust learned the hard way as life as I know it. And that is because my Sovereign Father took my dreams - and willingness to follow - infused it with His purposes and  His preparation and gave me opportunities and impact that I could not have ever had without His participation in my life.


I think of Abraham. What would life have been for Him if he had not walked the life of faith that he did. It was certainly not life as he planned it. But because of his obedience and God's work in his life, He impacted every person who every followed God after him as he became the model of faith and followership.


Seen through God's eyes, life as we planned it is a mere shadow of life as we know it when we have wholeheartedly followed Him in the adventure of life. Without His sovereignty over the course of our lives we would be far less than we are today. For that, in spite of the road that got me here, I rejoice.

Sometime take a sheet of paper and make three columns: Life as I planned it; Life as it is today and lessons God taught me in the process. Then ask, "how am I different because of the path God took me on - including the painful and hard times?"