Spoiler alert: God’s purpose prevails.

From Proverbs 19.21: “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

This verse has been sticking in my head a lot lately; to be specific, I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between plans and purpose. I’ve sought God’s will in my life for as long as I can remember, but it was especially evident in the middle of making an important decision, that my understanding of reaching God’s will was basically decided on a flip of the coin. And then hoping I chose correctly. Should I go to this school or that one? Go Greek or is that lame? Take this job or that one? Marry this person or not? Have a baby or wait? Like it was yesterday, I can remember toiling over the decision of which university I should choose. I prayed and prayed – and was very earnest and serious about seeking God’s will. I choose ACU. Did God breathe a sigh of relief that I rerouted the course of my life towards Texas or was He hoping I’d choose the other front-runner? Or, even worse, was God’s will that I’d choose a school that wasn’t even on my list and I missed my calling altogether?! 

We drive ourselves crazy with these kinds of decisions and I think the answer is much simpler than we make it: SEEK GOD. Before everything else. See, I was in the habit of making plans when I should have been fulfilling purpose. Having purpose is intentional and it’s noble and it builds confidence. Plans are broken or fall through; purpose remains even if the plans don’t work out. And the way we go about understanding our purpose is kind of magical and romantic. We get to know God, we learn His heart, and it shapes the way we see the world. In much the same way a marriage binds two people together in love as companions and partners, we can sync up with God and complete each other’s sentences, so to speak. When we know God so deeply and have come to a place where nothing is more important to us than loving Him, how much more peaceful our decisions about life can be, knowing that we are already in God’s will. It means ACU vs. Lipscomb wasn’t really a big deal, as long as I was seeking to know God more and was glorifying Him while walking out my life.

9 times out of 10, people do what they want to do anyway, right? Sometimes we can get ahead of the tough decisions, but sometimes we end up in situations with a lot of pressure, tension, or heartbreak. We react based on what is existing in our hearts. When we are full of God and our lives show the fruit of a growing, healthy relationship with Him, we don’t freak out over tough decisions or circumstances. We are grounded in purpose, not tied up in plans. Paul gives us this encouragement in Romans 1.2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” 

When he says we’ll be able to approve what God’s will is – it’s incredible to know that I can be so confident and settled into my relationship with God that I can approve what His will is. Someone so small like me, speaking as an authority on something so significant.

I know that where I am in my life right now has been guided by the prayer of people who love me and, more importantly, by a Creator who is crazy about me. I am fortunate. My encouragement today comes from knowing that my purpose is so attainable to me and knowing God’s will for my life is not nearly the puzzle I have always believed it to be. “Seek first His kingdom and His righteous and then all these things will be given to you.” Matthew 6.33