Sometimes even our best laid plans don't work out the way we'd hoped. We don't all grow up to do what we thought we would do, and what looks like failure descends upon us all. However, that does not mean God is absent from our struggles. Pete Wilson, author of plan b: what do you do when god doesn't show up the way you thought he would?, believes that it is only by overcoming fear and giving up control that we are able to discover the life God has planned for us. Pete, in Plan B, one of the things you demonstrate is how God does His best work in some of our most hopeless situations. If that's a given, is there ever a "Plan B" or was that really the only workable plan all along?

Pete Wilson: Well, you could really go deep with the theology behind that. I think we all face Plan B's, because often life does not turn out the way we thought it would. We have all of these dreams, but no one ever dreamed that they would end up with cancer at 35, or that they would be divorced at 45, or lose their job at 50. You face all of these situations in life that just do not turn out the way you hoped they would. So, in essence, they are certainly plan B's to us. Now obviously, for God in His sovereignty, I don't believe that it is His Plan B. But for us, from a human standpoint, we face these shattered dreams all the time.

(Watch the video version of this interview below)

the plans of our lives: pete wilson on control, fear, dreams, and god's will from crosswalkdotcom on vimeo.

CW: Regarding shattered dreams, one of the things you say is that we need to learn to put fear in its proper place. Which is…?

PW: Fear is also just a normal thing. Fear in and of itself is not an issue. Fear without faith is a huge issue, especially for those of us who are believers in Christ, because fear establishes the limits of your life. If you fear heights, you will stay low. If you fear outside, you stay inside. If you fear people, you will never be in community. Since it establishes these limits on your life, it is essential that you not allow yourself to be paralyzed by it, but that you allow fear to almost become the fuel that pushes you forward through that uncomfortable moment. 

If you look throughout history, if you look throughout the pages of the Bible, it is full of one person after another who had to face some kind of fear. In fact, every character in the Bible that God uses in a significant way had to go through that situation where they were facing fear, and they had to trust God in its midst that He was larger, that He was enough to sustain them through whatever it is that they feared.

CW: So how do we reconcile using fear and the importance of fear without it being part of the spirit that God gives us?

PW: Well, it is part of living in a broken, sinful world. I don't think fear is something we should look for but, the reality is, we are going to have it. Even the most mature believers face situations where they are going to experience fear. Fear is something that can be produced in our mind. It is not necessarily a bad thing. It becomes bad when we allow those fears to dictate our choices over faith, when we allow the fear to drive us instead of our faith.