No one had more extravagant daydreams than me, age 12, imagining I would win the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
I had gotten high scores on a handful of grade school spelling tests and watched Akeelah and the Bee one too many times. This was enough for me. I had a new goal.
Not only did I imagine winning the Bee, appearing on national television, and meeting my favorite celebrities (Corbin Bleu would give me a kiss on the cheek, I was sure), but I imagined being a witness.
As a Christian winner, I told myself, I could tell people about Jesus and His power. Me winning the Bee, I decided, must be a part of God’s plan. God wanted me to do this, and I promised Him I would.
Thus encouraged, I headed off to compete in my first spelling bee…and promptly lost.
And although my brief experience with spelling bees did not teach me how to spell, it did teach me another lesson – the same lesson that our friend Micah came face to face with in Judges 18.
High and dry
Micah, if you recall, has just created his own home church, complete with his own idols, his own shrine, and his own priests. You would think that he had left his faith in God behind him, but Micah actually believed that God’s blessing was on his project.
He was excited! Micah had daydreamed about this plan and now it had come to fruition. He wasn’t thinking about how his silver idols and homemade shrine broke the first, second, and arguably third commandments! He was telling people about his little church. He was witnessing, working for God!
That’s why, when five men from the tribe of Dan came to town and spoke to his priest, Micah probably didn’t blink an eye.
But then they came back.
The five Danite men turned into 600 Danite men and 600 Danite weapons. They stole Micah’s shrine and his idols. They even convinced his priest he’d be better off with them. And then they left.
And just like that, Micah’s long-loved daydream, his treasured idea, his devotion to what he was sure was God’s plan for his life, was over.
All that was left in its place was embarrassment, emptiness, and – hopefully – a lesson.
“Your plans for your life are not the same as My plans for your life.”
The heady giddiness of a new idea, the way our thoughts race along a mile a minute, the bright visions of success and glory that brighten our minds – it’s delicious, addictive. So much so that we get ahead of ourselves.
And then we get ahead of God. We lose ourselves in a world of our own, forgetting Who we live for, forgetting to ask for His blessing and His guidance, assuming that if we Christianize it a little, it’ll pass the fly test.
But plans that are not blessed by God are doomed from the beginning. If they don’t fall apart immediately, they’ll fall apart later, when it’s painful, when we’ve already wasted time and resources, when we’ve already dedicated our lives to them.
It’s when we surrender our plans, our goals, and our lives to God that we get to experience the abundant life God wants for us. That’s when we get to enjoy the prosperous, hopeful plans God has for us.
And whether it involves success or fame or money or humility or simplicity or sacrifice, it will always involve faith in a God that’s wiser than we are. It will always involve trust that God will do what’s best for us. It will always involve joy and peace and contentment.
So let’s flip over a clean page, turn to a fresh chapter, and get ready to embark on a new plan.
But this time, let’s give control of the plan to God.
What do you think? What plans for your life has God revealed to you?
Talking about times we get excited, think God is in it, but then things fall apart – don’t blame God, wait on His leading and trust that His idea is what’s best