I had a plan this Lent. A perfectly good plan I might add. I wasn’t going to do “x” and I was going to do “y.” This doing and not doing was going to help me grow in closer friendship with God these 40 days. My plan was all in–and not just for 40 days; I’m far too spiritual for that. But I hit a bump in the road–a roadblock, something–or Someone, stepped in and messed up my plan. These roadblocks looked like anxiety and anger, flu and scheduling and then rescheduling a surgery date, money issues and then no money to have issues with, kids and attitudes and then my own stinky attitude to deal with. You’re probably far more spiritual than me and knew the punchline to this story after reading the first sentence–“I had a plan this Lent.” You’re probably farther along in the spiritual life and knew, God’s plans trumped mine.
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
While I had a scheme with good intentions (scheme and intention are both synonyms of “plan”) the Lord had a base He wanted to build on and form (all synonyms for establish).
Now this doesn’t mean I shouldn’t ever have a plan. What this does mean is when it becomes clear that my plan and God’s plan might be different, I should wholeheartedly embrace His plan–He is after all the Master Planner, the Creator of all things.
So nuts and bolts of what this should look like–or should have looked like in my case, when I came down with the flu…and then the other 7 people living in my house did as well, instead of bemoaning the fact that now we couldn’t go to Stations and soup dinner–I should have offered it up. Instead of being worried that we were all too sick to gather for family rosary and Chris and I were in fact in the middle of 9-weeks of thanksgiving as part of our rosary, I should have offered my suffering for the novena intention. Instead of being put out because I was not able to follow my Bible reading plan, I should have taken that down time to slowly repeat and ponder a scripture verse I have memorized.
In summary, I should have been flexible. I should have been open to the movements of God and the inspirations of His Holy Spirit. Instead, I was feeling frustrated because my Lent was not going the way I planned.
Thankfully, I still have time. I can regroup and start where I am. I can pick my Lenten practices right back up but with the awareness of God’s presence right in the middle of them. This awareness will help me to see all things from Him, for my good. This awareness will help me to stay flexible in the midst of change–something I totally need to work on, not just in Lent. This awareness will help me thank God for the “interruptions” and see them as opportunities instead.
As Lent begins, let’s ask God what He has in mind for our Lent. We could use this list from Equipping Godly Women as a starting point for prayer and discernment on some of the distractions we could clear out to make more room for Him. (Um, numbers 1 and 35….)
So how’s your Lent going? How you planned? Or how God planned?