Whenever I hear how God has a plan for me, I always think, "Excellent! I can't wait to find out what it is!" Like any time now a Fed-Ex guy will knock on my door with an overnight delivery envelope.
"Looks like God's plan for you has arrived!" he'll say. "Sign here."
Lately I've been rethinking the whole idea of God having a "plan" for me. Because if there really is a plan for me, then that means that ultimately God intends me to be somewhere other than where I am right now, to do something other than what I'm doing right now, to maybe be someone other than who I am, right now.
Something about that feels a little counterintuitive. And it makes me wonder if instead of being essentially subject to a "plan" God has for me, I'm not, exactly as I am right now, being the "plan" God has for me. I think maybe I'm already living the exact "plan" that God has had for me since the beginning of time. Not that I'm perfect, or have arrived at some lofty height just south of heaven, or anything like that. No, because that kind of paradigm -- that "I'm moving from this lower point to that higher point"-- is, I think, a view of God's relationship to us that's entirely too simple, linear, essentially evaluative in nature. I think it's too ... human a way of looking at how God looks at us.
If there's one thing we know about God, it's that he's all about process. All any of us can ever be is a work in progress. It's not like we ever complete our relationship with God. None of us ever reaches a point where we go, "Ah, good. I've now attained complete spiritual and intellectual understanding of God, and of all his glory! Great! Well, I'm off to the store! Big sale on watermelons!"
No. God ever unfolds before us. From wherever we are we keep falling, and he keeps catching us, and putting us back in place. That's the relationship. That's the model.
That's the plan.
That's always the plan.
There is no other plan.
I do think God has a plan for me. I think maybe God's always had a plan for me. I think maybe that plan was for me to be born, to live exactly as I have, and to be, right now, exactly the imperfect, questioning, arrogant, willful, stubborn person that I am. Something about me being just who I am right now must work for God, or he'd have arranged it so that I had somehow ended up being different than I am.
It's a scary thought, in that it's awfully close to really arrogant, and dangerously satisfied. But that's not what it's about. Instead, it's about saying, "Okay, if God loves me, then he loves all of me, right now. So maybe I can just relax. Maybe who I'm supposed to be, and how I'm supposed to be, and where in this life I'm supposed to end up, is all up to God. Maybe all I'm supposed to do is just be alive. Maybe simply existing-maybe simply living every moment of my life exactly as I have up to this moment-is God's "plan" for me. Maybe that's always been God's plan for me."
Maybe the whole of my life has been the fulfillment of a plan God's always had for ... well, me.
Maybe God's entire plan for me is nothing more complex or demanding than my finally understanding that God really and truly loves me, just as I am today.
I'm going to have to think more about this. I'm not sure I totally agree with John, especially about being "the imperfect, questioning, arrogant, wilful, stubborn person I am." I believe God's plan is for me to be more, greater, holier, wiser, more loving than I am today.
But on the other hand, just reading his post and noting his thoughts is wonderfully freeing. We American Christians often get far too preoccupied with God's future plan for us, and forget that His plan for us includes where we are now and what we are doing today. "God's plan for my life" is for me to spend TODAY doing what He has called me to do TODAY; if I focus too much on His future plan, I may well miss His plan for me right now. Who does He want me to talk to today? What should I do in the next hour to carry out His plan for me?
He's right, too, about accepting who we are today; about "understanding that God really and truly loves me, just as I am today." As Paul said in Philippians 3:13: "One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." As a homeschooling mom, it's easy to focus on all the things I've done wrong, all the areas I haven't touched, all the times I've yelled at my kids or neglected them in favor of the computer. But God intends for me to reach for what is still ahead of me, to "press on toward the goal," and to know that He loves me. If He was willing to love me enough reach down and redeem me when I was still His enemy, lost in my sins, then how much more does He love me now, imperfect though I am? Do I really think He didn't know then, when He sent Jesus for me, that I would have failed as I have? Of course He knew - and He chose me anyway.
No wonder the Psalmist says, "I will sing of the Lord's great love forever."
THAT'S God's plan for me - to grasp His love for me, in all its glory, and to live out what He has called me to do, today and every day.