Sometimes it can feel like God is being really harsh. You want something so bad, and you beg God to please let you have it, and you feel like you can’t survive without it, and then suddenly, it’s gone. The door closes; the hammer drops; that thing you want is whisked away into some far off land you can never reach. He just killed your dreams, and he expects you to surrender your life to Him?
And it hurts.
And it’s hard to understand.
And you cry out to God, asking Him why he would do this to you, why He would take that thing or that person or that situation away, why He wouldn’t listen to you.
And You wonder if He even truly cares at all.
Yes, it can feel impossible to accept God’s plan for your life when it goes so far away from your own plan. It can feel impossible to let go of control.
These faith-shaking moments when we have already lost the control we so desperately desire, when we are forced to accept that God’s plan looks different from our own, are blessings. We just can’t see it yet.
God Killed My Dreams
When I was 20 years old, I wanted to get married. It was a ridiculous, desperate, attention-based desire that stemmed from wanting to be able to show off a ring on social media and be like all the other girls I knew who married really young.
I had fears of being an “old” mom if I didn’t have kids before 23 like my own mom did. I was so in love with the idea of being in love and being married and being “an adult” that I came scarily close to marrying the wrong person.
When God squashed my plans, I was angry. I knew exactly what I wanted, and I wasn’t about to let go of that plan. I begged. I screamed. I ignored God. I did a lot of stupid things trying to get that plan back.
Now, I’m 22. I’m getting married in two months to the right person, and we have agreed to hold off on kids until we’re really ready, and I have a feeling that won’t be for a while yet.
I stopped trying to rush everything. I stopped fighting God’s plan. I surrendered to His will, and you know what? It worked. Things began falling into place.
Maybe this isn’t how I thought my life would go. Maybe this isn’t what I planned, and maybe my life looks a whole lot different than I originally wanted, but God’s plan is so much better than my own.
Now, I am so thankful that God killed my plans. He saved me from a life of regret, and I don’t even deserve that.
So now it’s your turn. What do you do when God’s plan is different than your own?
Why God Takes Things Away
Think about the scope of eternity. Think about every single human being who has ever and will ever walk the planet. God knows the entire life–every single moment–of every single human ever.
That’s a whole lot of foresight. So doesn’t it make sense that God might know something about you that you don’t even know yet?
There are so many reasons God could take something away from you.
Maybe you didn’t get that promotion because God knows that in another few years there will be an even better job option.
Maybe God won’t let your house sell because He needs you right where you are.
Maybe your breakup is a sign that you’re not ready for a relationship or marriage.
Maybe God uses your parents to keep you from going to that party in order to save you from a drunk driver.
There are so many variables in your life. Every single moment, every second, has the potential to drastically alter your entire existence.
God knows every variable, every possible outcome, and He wants the best for you. You have no way of knowing what could happen or what will happen, but He does.
Doesn’t it make sense then to surrender the planning to the One who already knows the outcome? Personally, allowing God to take over the plans lifts so much stress off of my shoulders.
If I’m surrendering my life to God’s plan, I know I’m not making a mistake. I don’t have any regrets.
A while ago, I wrote about how I began to discover God’s plan for my life when my own plans began to overwhelm, paralyze, and consume me. I spent a long time coming to terms with the fact that I don’t get to choose what happens to me, and that realization really helped me surrender to God’s plan.
How to Cope When God Takes Something Away
Okay, so we know why He does it, but that doesn’t always make it easier to accept, especially in the moment.
The absolute best thing you can do in order to accept God’s will is pray.
Prayer has a lot of benefits, and I really believe God answers every single prayer, even if we don’t always hear His answer.
Ask God why you lost your job. Ask him why your loved one lost the battle with cancer. Ask him what His purpose is in these moments and how He wants you to proceed.
Prayer’s purpose is two-fold in my opinion.
First, you’re having an open conversation with God. You are talking to God, and you are opening your heart up for a response.
Second, you are strengthening your own faith through prayer. Prayer is one of those really strong acts that has the power to cause you to rely on God even more. Just the act of prayer forces you to surrender your life to God by softening your heart towards His will.
The next thing you can do to cope with the loss is to leave that closed door closed.
Don’t go back and beg your boss to give you that promotion.
Don’t text your ex a million times.
Don’t lose yourself in grief so that you stop taking care of yourself, your faith, and others.
Losing anything is hard. Surrendering your life to God is hard. Grief can feel paralyzing. So stop reopening the wound, and allow yourself to heal and face your loss with strength and the readiness to accept God’s will.
This will strengthen your faith and allow God to work through you and for you. God’s plan is for you to prosper, not to wither, and even when it feels like you are withering, remember there is a higher power who is working for your benefit, even if you can’t understand His plan yet.
The last way to surrender your life to God is to be content where you are.
I know as humans in today’s world it is ingrained from birth that you should continuously stretch yourself towards the stars, seeking more and more and more. Get an education, get a job, and climb that ladder to the top and beyond.
Now, I am not saying that having dreams or goals is a bad thing. I am also not saying that you shouldn’t ever try for a promotion or higher education or a bigger house.
However, it’s important to remember that all of these things are temporary. That job, that degree, that house will not follow you into eternity.
The only things that you will find in eternity are Jesus and people. If you look at Jesus’s life, you see this harsh but wonderful truth.
Jesus focused on two things in his time on Earth: God and others. In that order. He prayed constantly. He taught God’s word constantly. He wholeheartedly surrendered his literal, physical life to God’s eternal plan. He helped others constantly. You see these acts repeated over and over and over throughout the gospel.
What you don’t see is Jesus spending long hours at the office. You don’t see Jesus buying a huge house or looking for attention or stockpiling material possessions.
So right there, you see what your own priorities should be. God and others. Everything else is temporary.
So yes, try for that promotion. Save up for that new house or car or TV. But first, focus on God. Second, focus on other people. Then let the rest fall into place. And don’t put so much stock into your dreams that you allow your faith to falter when your plan fails.
And while you’re at it, check out some simple ways to change your life without batting up against God’s plan.
A Word of Encouragement
Here are a few really simple truths:
- God’s plan is better than yours. I promise.
- None of this matters in the scope of eternity. (Not that job, not that disease, not that relationship, not that vacation, not that retirement fund.)
- You are stronger than you think. But only if you get your strength from God. Rely on Him entirely, and you cannot fail.
I know you think your own plan is amazing and perfect, and you want things to go your way so badly. But I also know that God will take things away from you. That’s reality. So you can choose to accept God’s plan with joy or suffer through clinging to your own crushed plans.
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