I'm sure you've heard that saying before. It holds true in many ways. Those who fail to create a plan and to follow it may find themselves adrift when trying to meet goals, thus, they don't meet them or they "fail". I'm seeing how "plans" have been working in my life lately. From March 14 through June 16, 2018, I took a prep course for the Senior Professional in HR (SPHR) certification exam. We received our syllabus (or plan) that outlined what we were going to cover each week and on what we would be tested. When we received the online testing material, there was a section in it that allowed us to create and record our study plans. I admit that I didn't take advantage of that section because the syllabus was enough of a "plan" for me but, when the class ended and our instructor gave us recommendations for studying for the actually certification exam itself, then I took heed to his advice and I created a study plan. Admittedly, I didn't always stick to it to the "T" (I may have missed an evening studying but I made up for it in the morning), but I was close. I recall the instructor advising that the number one reason why some people didn't pass the exam was because they didn't created and/or follow a study plan. Well, I set the plan and, by the grace of God, I passed it on June 25, 2018! Thank God! Now, realistically, there was only a 56% pass rate for the exam so I'm sure that there were those who created a plan who didn't pass it. But, if I'm a betting person, then I'd say that, of those who didn't pass, the percentage who didn't follow a study plan was greater than it was for those who did.
As you already know, I'm a runner and I'm preparing for my second marathon. I could just run and keep on running to prepare but it may not help me meet my goal of completing the marathon in 4:00 hours or less. I have a coach and I'm following a running plan that's designed to help me meet that goal. Again, there may be people who have created running plans to meet goals and they may or may not have met their goals. I would venture to say that the percentage of those who didn't meet their goals was greater for those who didn't create and follow a plan than for those who did.
So, I had the chance to hang out with friends in Michigan City this weekend. You know that I love that place . It's so relaxing to me. So peaceful. We had a great time, as usual. I wanted us to be able to see the sun set so, for those who made it there in time on Friday, the plan was to get there by 8:00 pm for the 8:26 pm sunset. Well, we hurried and got to the beach, then walked over a big sand dune only to be disappointed when we got there because the clouds had come in and blocked the sunt. Bummer! Everyone was there on Saturday but we had rained off and on all day. When it appeared that there may have been a better sunset that evening, we were at dinner away from the lake and the trees blocked the view. Bummer, again!
We were leaving to go home today and the crew left early to get there in time to relax. I stuck around and saw that it was gorgeous outside. I knew that it would be a spectacular sunset but I also knew that I needed to get home for work tomorrow. So, bummed that I would miss the sunset, I just left to go home.
But God...He had a lesson for me. The lesson was the reminder that God's plans are not my plans. Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (NIV). So, could it be that we don't need to plan if we have God's plan? I don't think so. I think that we need to plan (with God's guidance through prayer, of course) but understand that God may create a detour in those plans. And, if God creates the detour, trust, you will be fine with it. You see, I didn't get a chance to see the sunset at the beach in Michigan City as planned but look at what God allowed me to witness on my ride home (see pictures above). Simply beautiful! I received a different view of the sunset than what I would have gotten had I been on the beach. Stunning! And what I needed at that particular time.
So, when you set out to make plans and they are altered, don't give up. Just work with what you get. You may be surprised as what you get may be better than you had originally planned.
Have a great week!