Many are the plans of a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. – Proverbs 19:21
During my freshman and sophomore (particularly my sophomore) years of college, I really took this verse to heart. I had entered college with intentions of becoming the next secretary of state, or perhaps the next Michael Yon/Michelle Malkin (I once had a dream I met Michael Yon – most women dream of meeting Hollywood actors. I’d rather meet a combat journalist). I was going to graduate with a degree in political science, history and journalism, minor in Mideast Studies, earn a doctorate, complete a stint with the Peace Corps, become a war correspondent for a bit, and then continue on to politics (all by the age of 30, no less). Oh. And by the end of freshman year, there was no plan for marriage. Ever.
Somewhere along the line, I realized that pursuing political office as a political science major was counterproductive. And then there was that little issue of my college not actually offering a program in Middle Eastern Studies (it’s not like there’s a war going on over there or anything). Finally, I admitted to myself that my reasons for wanting to enter politics were not entirely my own – I had been telling people, since about eighth grade, that I was going to work in politics. It was simply assumed. It was what I thought everyone wanted, what I had been telling myself I wanted. But was it really what God wanted me to do?
So, during my sophomore year of college, I changed my major to journalism and history (besides, who really wants to take three 400-level senior seminars and write an honors thesis?). And the Lord brought someone new into my life, and I realized that accomplishing everything in the world would mean nothing if I did it alone. The effect love can have on your willingness to change your plans is unreal. No longer was I simply pursuing what I wanted to do to further my career, but I began to pursue avenues that would help both of us.
Instead of chasing after my many plans (most of which would have required complete, solitary focus to achieve, anyway), I am studying to become a journalist or an editor, I am preparing to earn my bachelor’s degree, I am preparing to become a wife and a stepmother in less than 16 months. That’s an enormous responsibility, but I know that God has His hand in our lives. Proverbs tells us to trust in the Lord, not ourselves, to acknowledge Him. Philippians reminds us not to be anxious about anything, but to pray. Why? Because “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).
Was politics my calling? I don’t believe so. I enjoy studying politics, but when I finished my history paper last night, I didn’t reward myself by reading Safire’s Political Dictionary (probably because it’s at home on my bookshelf). I decided to reward myself by blogging (which, actually, didn’t happen because I had other work to accomplish). I have always enjoyed writing, and I believe that God has blessed me with that gift, with this current path, to prepare me to glorify Him through my work.
“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.” – Jeremiah 29:11
Maybe our lives don’t always follow the paths we had once envisioned. But perhaps that’s because we are too busy following the plans of our own hearts, instead of giving it all to the Lord and reaching our true potential. When we allow Him to work in our lives, His purpose prevails.