Contingency plans. Everyone has them. No one wants to use them.
Depending on your personality you either take great care in creating yours, or your contingency plan consists of an “I’ll just wing it when I get there” attitude. Either way, we all make plans.
My good friend and Christian writer / prepper, Michaylah Malone, says, “There’s never a need to panic if you have a plan.” I like this idea a lot, because I’m a planner. Though sometimes I still find myself slightly panicky.
I love a good plan. And rarely in my life has my A, B, or C plan failed to produce at least average results. However, right now I find myself in a season where I’m plan-less.
Surprisingly, I am finding that’s a pretty good place for me to be.
Plans Versus Steps
Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
In the past, my voice has said, “Lord, plan my way,” but my actions have said, “I’ll establish my steps, thank you very much.”
I got it exactly backwards, even if I hadn’t intended to. For whatever reason…I couldn’t discern what the will of God was in a situation, or I chose the conventional path, or I fell into the ever-present worldly wisdom. You know this ‘wisdom’ as: You deserve this! You can be whoever you want! Do what feels right in your heart!
In case you are wondering…those mentalities are not backed up by scripture.
Though sometimes our heart is in the right place, but we want to (or have to!) make a quick decision, right? And discernment and listening can take time and silence.
What happens when we can’t see God’s plan for us?
We stay close to Jesus and follow the path He is setting out in front of us, one step at a time, one day at a time.
Follow the Mama Duck
I went out to the river a couple weeks ago to pray. There was this family of ducks swimming in the flooded river near the rapids. The mama duck would swim upstream to a rock through some rapids, then she’d wait for her brave, or sometimes timid, ducklings to jump off their current perch into the swiftly moving water.
Eventually, they would all make it to the next waypoint. They would rest, and Mama would launch herself off again, expecting the ducklings to follow. One time though, a duckling got caught in the rapids surrounding a large rock. He kept swimming all around it, frantically, looking for a way out of the rapids to safety. I was a little nervous, actually.
But the Mama waited patiently while the duckling made it safely on his sixth attempt. See, Mama knew that the duck was in training. If she rescued him, how would he ever develop those muscles he needed to grow stronger?
She didn’t leave him behind, but she also didn’t jump in to rescue him. She led him, then waited for him to practice the task she set before him as he built his strength and achieved the goal. Once he rested, she swam ahead and led all her ducklings safely to the next adventure upstream.
Trust Like a Duckling
I don’t know if ducks can be scared, but that little guy certainly had reason to be frightened. I do know the duck trusted that the direction his mom was leading was the direction he should go, even if it looked dangerous or scary.
I felt God teach me a lesson. If I stick close to Him, He will patiently lead me to the next safe place. He won’t take his eye off me, He won’t let me struggle forever, but He will wait for me to build my strength as I continue to seek Him and His voice through the rough waters of life.
The duck didn’t have a contingency plan. The plan was…follow Mama. When he had trouble succeeding, the plan was still…follow Mama.
So if I’m having trouble hearing or discerning the plan, I want to walk even closer to Jesus.
The Plan…Follow Jesus. The Contingency Plan…Follow Jesus Even Closer.
I have always taken so much comfort in praying Psalm 25. Please check it out and pray it over your life right now. It’s filled with hope.
One of my favorite sections, no wait, they’re all my favorite. Anyway, verses 4 and 5 are a wonderful illustration of this process of trusting God to establish our steps.
“Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
Oh, God, our hope is in You!
When our plans fail, and the fourth or fiftieth attempts to succeed don’t hit the mark, let’s stick close to Jesus. He is watching with a loving eye and establishing our steps. Jesus is leading us on an adventurous path designed to help us grow up strong in Him.