Not What I Had Planned

I recently saw a photo online of the Mississippi River and the various paths it has taken over the course of its existence. Did you know the Mississippi River is a dynamic and changing river? Its course has already changed numerous times and will eventually change again.* It has jumped back and forth and winded this way and that way, and there were so many paths along the way, at one point, to keep it steady and on the same path. they simply built walls around it. The boundaries were set. It’s not moving again. But even after the walls were built, the Mississippi went outside the boundaries of even these walls, creating yet another new path. Isn’t that exactly how life is for us? A lot of things in life we look back on and realize this just wasn’t what we planned – the twists and turns weren’t on our radar. Our map looks a lot like how I just described the Mississippi River. Paths going back and forth when we’re thinking it won’t change, and then before we know it, something changes and creates a new path and there we are. Not on the path we thought we’d be. Not in control of the life that we were at one point, headed toward or at least hoping or planning for.
Has anything happened in life you didn’t plan? I suppose this question could go, as the Mississippi River, in various ways. Maybe what you have now far exceeds what you planned. Maybe what you have now is beneath what you had planned. Or maybe it’s a few degrees one way or the other. But rarely is it exactly what we had planned. God always has a way of changing things up for us, and usually when we’re “far exceeding” our plans, we’re fine with things. We’re okay with things not being as planned as long as we’re “in abundance” – but when things are beneath what we’d planned, there’s where discouragement, confusion and “wondering what happened” sets in. Divorce, job loss, financial strain, loss of a loved one, failing health, etc. The list goes on and on. These are the things that we never planned. These are things that may creep up slowly, or things that may blindside you on an idle Thursday…. and usually, they hurt.
I think lots of times we build walls around our lives, just like they did with the river, and we think that after we do that, things are going to be pretty steady moving forward. Got a new job? GREAT! Financial freedom! Got married? GREAT! Smooth sailing ‘til death do we part. Got a positive health report? GREAT! No worries about that part of my life! But let’s be honest.. All of us know that just because something is moving along a certain path one minute, doesn’t mean it won’t change the next. Job is a perfect example of this.
Job 3:24-26 (NIV):
24 For sighing has become my daily food;
my groans pour out like water.
25 What I feared has come upon me;
what I dreaded has happened to me.
26 I have no peace, no quietness;
I have no rest, but only turmoil.”
As Christians, we have to expect that God is going to twist and mold us into different shapes and have our lives weave in different patterns. When I think back to my early 20’s, I can honestly say my life hasn’t turned out the way I imagined. Some things, yes, but other things no. Have bad things happened? Of course. Have good things happened? Of course! Although a Christian since the age of 15, I’ve not been as close to God as I should’ve been all of this time, and there were times in my life that I just didn’t know how to make heads or tails of what was happening. Yes, God was there, but was I turning to Him?  Not always.
I look at my life then and look at my life now, where I’m closer to God than I’ve ever been, and it’s times like this that even in the midst of the times when things aren’t going to plan, I always know that God knows what’s going to happen tomorrow. Maybe what happened today was really hard, but He knew yesterday.. even before I was born, that this was going to happen. He’s already been there – and because of that, I don’t have to worry. I have to check in with myself when things are scary in life and remind myself “God knows how this turns out; I don’t have to worry”. He doesn’t want us to worry about the twists and turns in our river of life, because He’s already downstream. Sure, we may be in rapids and barely able to keep our head above water, but He’s already up ahead navigating us, even when we don’t feel Him or see Him. We have to just trust His path.
I think we should be proud of our twists and turns in life. The people in our path that make us happy, sad, joyful, annoyed, irritated, or elated all have a purpose in our lives and the dots all connect to the next. Gods perfect plan unfolds before our eyes. Is this where I thought I’d be? Maybe not where I thought, but I couldn’t ask to be in a better place in life and am so grateful to be where I am. Even when my plan ends up not being perfect, or I end up in a different place than I thought I would, who have I learned has the perfect plan laid out for me? Oh yeah.. that would be God.
Job 42:2-3(NIV):
Then Job replied to the Lord:
2 “I know that You can do all things;
no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures My plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.
Job 42:12b New International Version (NIV)
12 The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.”
*To read more about the Mississippi River, click here:


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About Dena:
“First and foremost, I’m a Daughter of the King and a long-time Christ follower. I’m also a dog mom who enjoys reading Christian books, cardio drumming, traveling often, and I’m a bit of a techie geek. My life has seen its fair share of curve-balls and I’ve found that I’ve become closer to Christ in each trial as He’s comforted me and shown me that I can solely put my faith and trust in Him. 2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT says “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” I feel thankful and blessed for the messes in my life – as they have brought me closer to Him.”

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