I used to be a planner. An organizer. But not a dreamer. My feet have always been firmly planted in reality. I see things as they are, not what they could be.
Maybe there was a time when I dreamt. I vaguely remember visions of traveling to Paris, feeding starving children in Africa, raising a big, happy family...
But there was a day when my dreaming stopped. A day when the harsh reality of what my future would hold hit me square in the face and I became a planner. I looked at my reality and I started seeing it for what it was, and dreaming was not going to fix anything. I had to plan. I had to research. I had to make lists and charts. I had to organize schedules and appointments. There was no time for dreaming. Planning was a neccessity. Being a realist was the only way to survive.
So I took charge of the situation. I made the plan. I created order out of the chaos and I survived...
Until a day I did not plan on brought everything to a stop. In all my planning and realism I had not planned on this! I could not accept it. I could not take it. And so began the end of planning. Or dreaming.
I can relate to the feelings of Job, "My days have passed, my plans are shattered, and so are the desires of my heart." (Job 17:11). I wandered through my days, just waiting for each one to pass. I didn't make plans. I didn't dream of anything different for my future. I felt broken, dazed, and hopeless.
In all of my planning, I had forgotten one important piece of the puzzle. It is found in Proverbs 16:9, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." Wow, no wonder I was so lost. I had tried so hard to take control of the situation but, in truth, it was never mine and never could be. I was making plans but God was in control. And, though I didn't like His plan a whole lot, I had to accept it. I had give Him back the control and let it go.
And slowly, so slowly, I felt life coming back into my soul. If God was the one making the plans and He loved me then I had to hope that the plans were going to be good ones. I had to believe that there was a bigger purpose for all the messiness I had experienced in life. I wanted it to be neat and orderly and pretty, but it was a mess like no other. I was a mess. But, lucky for me, God loves messes.
He doesn't stop planning or dreaming for us. Even when we do. He keeps on loving us and holding us and moving us forward. I had always loved the verse in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I held on to this promise with everything I had. I had to believe that He had a plan, and it was a good plan. He started filling my heart with hope and I started to see that there could be a future. And it could be good.
I started to plan again. But this time I planned differently. I didn't forget the truth of that verse in Proverbs 16:9. I knew I could plan but God would direct my steps. And I let Him. Not perfectly, mind you. I have taken some missteps along the way. I have stumbled. But I am learning to get back up and get back on the course He has for me. One step at a time.
I"ve even started dreaming again. Big dreams. Inklings of what could be pop into my head and my mind starts to wander to new and exciting places. Places I believe God is leading me. And if He isn't, that's okay too. It's still fun to dream. I think I may share those dreams with you soon.
But maybe, just maybe, those dreams are part of the plan. Maybe it's okay to start making plans as long as I know they are part of His plan. His plan to redeem the pain, the mess, the tears. To bring me good and not harm. To give me a hope and a future.
And so, I dream.
And I plan.
But I know "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." (Proverbs 19:21)
And I thank Him for that every single day.