by Jane Anderson, Featured Contributor
What’s your plan for today? Don’t do it my way.
A FRIEND AND I decided to study the book of Proverbs for our daily personal quiet time. Have you ever done that? Read one Proverb a day? There are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs, which is like being inoculated with wisdom every day. Reading the first chapter confirms its intent stated right up front in verse 2, “To learn wisdom and moral instruction, and to discern wise counsel.” And that’s just the beginning.
Last year, 2014, I chose the word discernment for my word to live by. Maybe you didn’t get all caught up in that #OneWord trend, but it made sense to me. According to languagemonitor.com there are 1,025,109.8 words in the English language and the Oxford dictionary says there are 171,476 in current use. How did I choose one word? I prayerfully considered what I wanted to see evidenced in my life that year and discernment – knowing right from wrong, good from evil, truth from lies, wisdom over foolishness, decision points. Believe me. I have not arrived, but through stumbles and blunders, progress is made.
You don’t need to choose one word to live by to see progress in your life, and neither do I. It served as a good reminder to me when making decisions, and this morning while reading Proverbs One, I realized how important discernment is. The past couple days have been like a multiple choice test, and I got most of the answers wrong. Winding down from a Florida vacation should have felt different. We had spent three wonderful weeks with my family and were able to meet some new friends and visit with others from home. In my mind, I had a Plan A. It was a strategy all planned for unpacking from our trip, neat, tidy and organized. Whether it was disheartening news or the avalanche of mail or the totally empty fridge or seeing a dozen bags and suitcases to deal with or maybe it was the combination, it was just too much. That strategic Plan A for an orderly unpacking? Well, it was more like unraveling – the plan and me.
The enemy of my soul knew exactly where my weak spots were going to be, and I let down my guard. I confess that I had a conversation with a person at healthcare.gov. I was not nice. I confess that I had a disagreement with my husband, and I was not nice. I confess that I wasted most of the day caught up in what-if thoughts over things happening that I couldn’t change. I had so many conversations with God, he was probably using bookmarks to point out that I had already ‘told him that three other times’. Verse five of Proverbs one says, “Let the wise also hear and gain instruction, and let the discerning acquire guidance.”
Admittedly, it was time for a contingency plan. I wasn’t feeling very wise and my discernment was in question; thankfully God looks on the heart. Nothing changed – but God knew I was trying to discern his truth and follow his path so he sent reinforcements to hold me up when I felt down. A text message from a friend, a phone call from another, a text message exchange with my sister-in-law, a phone call from my sister … nothing changed, except everything. Attitude is everything when abilities are nothing. Yesterday, I had nothing left.
I woke up with a start at 3:00 am this morning. It was the enemy of my soul again – trying to crank those old rusty wheels of doubt into action. But as my friend prayed for me yesterday, Satan has no place in my life. Remember that roaring lion seeking whom he may devour? (1 Peter 5:8) It’s not going to be me. And if you feel like the claws and fangs of the evil lion are coming after you, run! Run to God who shelters you. Psalm 18:30 “The one true God acts in a faithful manner; the Lord’s promise is reliable; he is a shield to all who take shelter in him.”
What are your plans for today? Do you have a strategy all planned for making the most of your time? If it doesn’t work out, do you have a contingency plan? Here’s a thought. Don’t follow my example from yesterday. My contingency plan was God. There would have been no casualties yesterday, if God had been my Plan A. Unpacking and all that tumbled out with it would not have turned into unraveling, if I’d consulted the Master Weaver first; if my Plan A had been aligned with God’s plan. Read Isaiah 44:6 “[your] protector, the Lord who commands armies says: “I am the first and I am the last, there is no God but me.”
Make God your Plan A. Ready? Let’s get out there.