As people, we think we know what we want in life, but in hindsight, we often learn that what God had for us was far better. Which is really easy to say when you’re not in the midst of losing something you wanted—be it a job, a boyfriend or even entrance into the university of your dreams.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
I will also say that hearing the above verse when you’re still stinging over a loss can feel awfully painful. Ignoring our feelings won’t make us more Christian or a better person. Dealing with life when it doesn’t go as planned is a lifelong journey, but here are some helpful hints to get you through the rough times and help you focus on God’s plan rather than your own.
- We were never really in control anyway. When we make plans, we’re telling God how our life is going to be, and He may have so much better in store for us. I can tell you from experience how my life might have turned out if I’d married one of those awful boyfriends I pined for rather than my husband! But I had to go through the journey. Without it, I might never have appreciated the genuine love from my husband. I have to admit now that I never really had control and God’s plan was so much better than my own!
- When our plans fail, God is still with us. The funny thing about plans is they’re really more “guidelines” of how we’d like to see our path go. We can feel really alone when our plans fail—and when we look beside us and see that another person is succeeding. It can make us feel like God doesn’t care for us, but He is looking out for others. That could not be further from the truth. Remember in the Bible when Leah was married to Jacob, but he loved his other wife, Rachel? Imagine how powerless Leah felt. God allowed Leah to have many children—she thought so that Jacob would love her.
When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. (Genesis 29:31)
I love this verse because God saw Leah’s pain. He was not blind to it—and ultimately, He gave her many sons and in the end, they were her joy.
- God may have something to teach us. I always think it’s good to look back on a situation and collect what we learned about the situation. Maybe we learned that someone wasn’t really our friend. Did that enable us to make better friend choices later? Maybe we learned that we actually wanted something different than what we thought we did. Every experience is a learning opportunity and a chance to get closer to God. When you have clarity over a dire situation, look back and see how it helped you grow as a person.
The most important thing is to never feel like a wrong path cannot be corrected. God is always with us and He allows for U-turns and second chances. If life hasn’t gone as you’d planned, make a new plan!
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