Thursday, June 28, 2012

Forget the Map

I like maps. I like them because they help me know where I'm going.

On a recent trip to London to visit a friend, we found ourselves driving to Brighton on the south coast. Before leaving, my husband, who is good at finding his way around, looked at a map to plan our route. Things went beautifully until we were ready to go back. There was a traffic jam on the Motorway. With quick thinking, my husband got off at the next junction to take the "back way." I don't think any of us knew where we were or what direction to go to get back to the hospitality house where we were staying. My husband decided to follow signs... in lieu of a map. I was fine with that until he decided to stop following those signs. How were we going to get back if our route kept changing? I was very frustrated because I had no idea how we were going to get home.

At the end of the day, we got back to where we were staying, but it wasn't the route we planned on taking.
How often do we get frustrated with God when He has a different route for us to get to our destination? "I know He has called me to do thus-and-such, and this is the way I'd like to go to get there" So we set off on our journey. Then God changes our route. We get frustrated, maybe even angry. I've been there. I cry out to God wondering how I'm going to do this thing He's called me to do when He's changed direction on me.

I like to know how I'm going to get to where God wants me. But God doesn't use maps... or at least He doesn't use the map I want Him to use.

As an example in my own life, I knew that God had called me to ministry work... I just had my own ideas for getting there until God had me meet my husband and move to England.

In a Skype call with some friends, my husband and I were telling them where we see ourselves in the future. We were looking for feedback to help us make a decision. She reminded us of this verse:
A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.  Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV)
It's a good reminder that it's okay to make plans, as long as I'm open to God changing them or changing the route to get there.


Do you like to know where you're going? How do you handle it when God changes your route?


  1. This is a great topic! I feel like this has totally been our experience in overseas ministry. This has happened to us big time on two occasions. First, we raised all of our initial support thinking we'd be headed to Siberia, but a few months before our scheduled departure we found out that we would not be able to go there and rather would be serving in southwest Russia. Then we thought we'd be there long term and unexpectedly had to move only 3 years later! I had a hard time with the first major change and struggled through how calling actually works (But God, I thought we were called to Siberia???! What does it mean that we thought we had clearly heard your voice and now that door is closed?!). I wasn't feeling too excited about this new direction and had to really grapple with whether or not I could accept it as God's perfect plan for me. I ended up absolutely loving the place that we were unexpectedly redirected to, and by God's grace, was allowed to see so many of God's reasons for Him re-directing us. I think that experience has been the biggest help when other unexpected re-directions come about. I also love the proverb that you quoted and being reminded of how not only does He direct our steps, but also that His ways are higher than ours and that His plan is always good. I find a lot of peace in the sovereignty of God because it seems like so often things don't go as planned. We've got some things going on now with adoption that are not going as we had originally envisioned (not bad, just different) and are in the process of thinking through these same things again about our plan vs. His perfect plan. It is a constant issue in life I think. Thanks, Chrysti for starting this conversation! I would love to learn from others of you who have things to share about how to walk through these times in faith.

    1. Isn't it great how God's plans are always better? :) I don't know what I'd do if God wasn't sovereign...