That Monday had provided a cap to a list I felt was growing at an insurmountable rate: the “no” list. On top of that, I started to panic about my life, specifically my major. What am I going to do with it? Did I pick the right one? At noon, I had texted my parents and my closest friend looking for some words of encouragement. All three responses had the same theme: “I’m sorry! But this just means God has something better in mind,” “Trust Him! He know’s the plans He has for you.” or “Don’t worry! God’s got something else for you.” An hour later, I went to a meeting only to announce that a project I had been planning and developing for months would also be on the “no” list. The girl sitting beside me gave me a warm-hearted smile and said, “Oh that’s okay! God must have a different plan for it and I’m sure it will be great!”
My cynism nearly burst out of my chest and attacked that phrase! After hearing it so much, it felt like it didn’t really mean anything at all. Like it was just a thing that was supposed to be said to someone who was disappointed or heart-broken.
As soon as I got in my car I burst into tears; every emotion exploded out of me. In my anger and confusion (and lack of sleep) I began to have a pity party.
“God, what is it? What is it you want from me? I’m not good at anything and I don’t know how You’re ever going to use me! I keep adding stuff to my “no” list–can I get a “yes” now and then? I’m trying to do all this stuff, all this good stuff…”
Then He spoke. And this, in and of itself is amazing to me. There I was, giving Him the silent treatment and then lashing out in an irrational panic.
In a voice only audible to my heart, I heard this:
Baby girl, why are you doing this? This whole year, you’ve been throwing pieces of your “resume” up to me. Are you looking for points or a pat on the back? You’re right, it is good stuff, but sweet girl, it’s not My stuff for you. Are you looking for a different answer? Because I told you a long time ago what I wanted from you. Your heart. Your devotion. And I told you a long time ago what I wanted you to do with the talent I gave you. I haven’t changed my mind. I’m not going to. Don’t bury your talent; go out and invest it, multiply it, and tell others Who supplied it. And let me answer another question: It’s okay that you’re not perfect. I know that already. That’s why I came and rescued you on that cross 2,000 years ago. I told you in My word that I chose the weak, the foolish, the lowly, the despised to fully display My glory. It’s not something that is just said to the disappointed and heart-broken; it’s the truth. I do know the plans I have for you. But baby girl, it’s not quite time for you to know the plans. I love you. Trust me.
In my foolishness, in my attempt at collecting a resume full of stuff, I had ignored the things that were going right for me. I had missed my “yes” list. And it wasn’t that I didn’t know that He had a plan for my life, it’s just that I was trying so hard to fit my plan into a mold that only fit His.
So after the peanut butter and the nap and the encouraging words from my dad, here’s what I learned: Though the whole world seems to be keeping tabs on successes and failures, God isn’t looking for a resume. Because here’s the thing–none of us have one good enough to give Him. I am empty-handed when I come before the throne of His grace. I have nothing, but He has everything I need. All He wants is a bended knee and an obedient heart.
Maybe your like me, hoping He mispoke about what He wants from you, hoping He’ll change His mind. He won’t. Ask me or go to Scripture and ask Jonah, and we’ll tell you He won’t change His mind because He didn’t make a mistake the first time. And maybe you’re like me and it’s hard to imagine that He has a plan because you can’t see it. Let me let you in on a secret that will relieve your over-burdened heart: His plans aren’t riding on your opinion or knowledge of them. We serve a God far bigger than that.
So go home, eat some peanut butter, take a nap, do whatever you need to do. Because it’s okay to be sad and broken-hearted and disappointed sometimes, just don’t let it consume you. Remember the He does know the plans He has for you: plans to prosper you, not to harm you. It’s not just something to say. It’s truth.
1 Corinthians 1:27-28
The Book of Jonah