What would happen if we surrendered our own plans for our life and let the true Author of life write our story?
Many of us have created Pinterest boards full of what we hope, dream, and long for in life. Our wedding is planned. Our kids have a cute wardrobe. Life looks Instagram worthy. We have our schedules written in cute planners. We have mapped out possible outcomes so we don’t have to fear the unknown. We have painted the picture of our lives all on our own.
But, what happens when God’s plans for our lives don’t align with what we have planned?
I have been a dancer ever since my mom put me in my first dance class at the age of 3. I fell in love with it. I loved being on a big stage, taking classes, and jamming to my favorite songs in my room. I never wanted to stop.
As a freshman in high school, I finally felt like I was stepping into this “dream” of being a dancer. I was teaching, competing, and improving in my skills.
Until my plan was put on hold.
After one injury that led to another, x-rays, and way too many doctors visits, I was diagnosed with severe bilateral hip dysplasia, a condition where the hip sockets are too shallow to cover and hold the hip joints in place. I sat there in the doctor’s office stunned. I was even more shocked when I was told that surgery was the only trustworthy solution. Surgery that took 6 months to recover from. Both hips. This meant a long road before getting back to dance again, let alone getting back to my normal life again.
This was far from my Pinterest board plans and far from the dreams I had for my life.
I was flooded with anger, confusion, doubt, and questions.
“Why me, God?”
“Why is God putting me in so much pain?”
“Why am I having to sit out on what I love most?”
“What about the dreams and plans that I had for my life”
“Why would God bless me with the gift of dance but then allow me to have injuries and surgeries that put me on the couch for years?”
“What about my plans, God?”
I’m sure many of us have been here before, sitting in doubt and fear, questioning whether God truly knew what He was doing, and wondering if His plans would really turn out better than ours.
Throughout this painful season of my life, I leaned into the Lord. I dug into His word because strength and comfort were only found in making God my refuge in this time of pain and struggle.
In the letter Jeremiah is writing to the exiles in Babylon, God encourages His people with the words—
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
Where God leads us and what He calls us to–
won’t always be easy,
won’t always feel comfortable,
won’t always come natural,
won’t always align with our expectations.
But, the plans God has for our life are good and are for our good–God knows this full well. We can walk through life with this unexplainable hope in knowing that no matter what our circumstances look like, our whole life is in the good and secure hands of our Father, the Author of life.
We aren’t the only ones having to change our plans.
David was led to fighting a giant with small weapons.
Job was asked to let go of absolutely everything.
Moses was called to lead people out of Egypt even though the cost was high.
Esther took action amidst great tension and trouble.
I doubt these would have been clipped to their vision boards back then.
All these callings and plans for their life were far from easy, far from comfortable, and far from natural.
But, God showed up. God was magnified through it all. God equipped them with all that they needed and continued to walk right beside them.
He promises to do the same for you.
God won’t lead us to a place that He hasn’t already been and prepared. He won’t leave us to handle it on our own. The Lord is always near, no matter where He leads us to.
David, Job, Moses, Esther, and so many more had to surrender their own plans to follow the path that God was calling them to walk. They are evidence that beautiful things take place in the act of obedience to God’s callings. So, it’s time to lay our plans down at the feet of the Lord and ask Him to do what only He can do with our eager hearts.
Throughout the early parts of my recovery from my surgeries, I had many hard days. It was hard to say “yes” to the things God was showing me. I got easily upset and discouraged by where God had me in this season, but I had to learn to slow down, take time to heal, and focus on other things while I had to sit out of dance.
My circumstances never limited God. He wasn’t phased by the mountains I faced.
To me, surgery was a roadblock, but to God, it was an opportunity for refining, transforming, and growth. Each and every plan God has for our lives serves a purpose, whether we can see the purpose in the moment or whether it takes getting to the other side to finally see it.
When God formed our bodies, He was patient and intentional with every detail. As I went through the healing process after surgery, it felt as though God was once again renewing every nerve, every bone, every muscle, and teaching them to rely on His strength.
I learned a lot about patience. Patience in getting back to my normal body. Patience in getting back to dance. Patience in every up and every down. Patience in awaiting the beautiful things God had in store for me. Patience in finding peace in God’s plan, not mine.
There is peace in knowing that the same God that knows every precise detail of our bodies also knows the intentional plans for our lives.
“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.”
Psalms 139 is a favorite of mine, it especially took on a new meaning while I was healing from my surgeries. It’s so comforting to know that God knew each of us and the exact plan for our lives before He even created us.
The Lord is familiar with all of our ways. He doesn’t just have a plan for us, He knows the plan really well. So, the roadblocks in life are not a shock to God. My surgeries were not a surprise to Him and neither are the roadblocks that pop up in your life. One day your roadblocks will serve as a testimony of how God uses each and every plan in your life for a purpose.
Looking back on my journey, I am in awe of the ways God took my circumstances and produced so much good. Dance felt so out of reach for so long, but now I am fully back doing what I love most. I never thought it was a possibility, but God proved my doubts and fears wrong. That season of my life serves as my testimony that I have gotten to share with so many people, it provides an opportunity to encourage others going through the same thing, and it is evidence of God’s past faithfulness to give me hope for His future faithfulness.
So many ministry doors have opened in my life since going through my surgery season. One of them being how God called me to create a ministry account on Instagram, called @beautyyandthebible, to share encouragement and truth with the goal of being a light on social media during quarantine. God had a purpose for the waiting all along, I just couldn’t see it in the moment.
Without the challenging and refining season of life, I would not be properly equipped to step into the plans God has for me right now.
When you are feeling discouraged about what season you are in, what God has called you to, or what mountain you stand in front of, remember this–God equips where He calls, provides where He leads, and sustains what is meant for you. His plans for your life will always prevail, no matter how perfect our Pinterest boards look. His plans will always serve a purpose, even in the unknown. His plans are preparing you for great things. When we are obedient to surrender the control we grasp onto and let the Author of life write our story, beautiful things take place.
My name is Carli Hammond and I am a high school senior! Next year I plan on studying multimedia journalism and pursuing photography on the side. I have a passion for spreading truth and encouragement through social media and have used my Instagram account @beautyyandthebible to do just that. I also get the opportunity to serve on my church’s production team as a photographer, which I love to do. In my free time, I am always dancing, drinking coffee, reading, or cuddling with my adorable dogs!