Why Plan B is Plan A: Learning What God Wants for Your Life
- Monday, October 04, 2010
There are some fears that are healthy fears. Fear right now is what keeps you from running out in front of a car. It's what keeps you from touching the hot stove. So there can be a healthy fear, but whenever you allow your fear to overcome your faith, and what it is that God can do, that is when I think our lives can go sideways.
CW: People have fears of not being in control, or of having to go to Plan B, and having things not work out. Is there ever a time to take matters into our own hands and become the stewards of our own dreams?
PW: It is a balance, and this is really difficult. As a pastor I face this all the time. People come in, and they will say, "Here is where my life is at. How much of this am I responsible for and how much of this is God responsible for?" Nine times out of ten, I tell them, "I don't have a clue." It is very difficult to look at somebody else's life and figure out that balance and that path for them. I think that at the end of the day when you are in the midst of a crisis, your illusion of control—and I think control is the greatest of all illusions—your illusion of control just gets shattered.
The illustration that I use a lot is that we view life like a little marionette puppet, where you have these strings that run down to it, and we think that we are the puppet-master of our life. We have a string that runs to our finances, and we have a string that runs to our marriage, and we have a string that runs to our career. So, what happens is, when you face crisis, all of a sudden you realize that the control was an illusion. In that moment, you are going to do one of two things. Either you are going to continue and try to control and manipulate what you cannot control and manipulate, or you will get to the point of surrender. Getting to that point of surrender is really the catalyst of spiritual transformation. It is not that we need crisis for spiritual transformation. What we need is surrender. Crisis, generally, is the vehicle that gets us to that place where we surrender.
CW: If getting to that point is so enriching and rewarding (and so many of us have been there before), why do we fear crisis or surrender, and why do we cling to the illusion of control?
PW: Well, I think it is part of human nature. Nobody likes to feel like they are out of control. It's why I'm more afraid of riding in a plane than driving a car and yet, statistically, I am much safer in a plane. I like the car because I have control. I do not like the plane because I am not the one behind the wheel.
There are so many analogies in life for that. It's scary. I believe this is part of the spiritual transformation. It's funny how, as Christians, we will trust Jesus Christ for our eternity, but we don't trust Him with our life. It does not make sense, but it is getting to that place where you say, "All right, Jesus knows more about relationships than I do. He knows more about money than I do. He knows more about this career path than I do." It is transitioning from accepting Jesus not just as your Savior but understanding He is also your Lord. He is your Teacher. There is a way in which we are to live our lives, and He kind of lays that model out for us.
CW: In the chapter "Your Jordan," you say that Plan B situations often require more of you than you thought you had. Plan A, as we develop it, seems perfect. Plan B is harder and less appealing. So why does God seem to delight in Plan B?
PW: You know, because of exactly what you just said. Plan A is all about what we can do in our own power. God does not get any glory through that. It is only when I do things that I know are beyond my ability, beyond my knowledge, and beyond my powers and my skills, that God ultimately gets glory. So that is why you see all throughout scripture God puts people in situations that are beyond anything that they are capable of doing on their own. That is why I talk in the book about that misconception that we often have in Christian circles that "God will never give you 1 Corinthians 1:13."
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