When Plans Fail | guest post

There once lived a boy; a boy who, for as long as he could remember, wanted someday to be married. As the boy grew older, so did that desire. Eventually the boy became a man, a young man, but a man nevertheless. He lived with his family… but he didn’t want to. He began to feel trapped. And his family frustrated him. They didn’t understand him, he thought. At times, it felt like they didn’t even love him. They were selfish and proud and insensitive, and all this boy-man wanted, all he could think about now, was to get away; to marry a girl who would understand him and love him the way his family didn’t (or maybe couldn’t); to marry a girl, and get away; to escape.

That’s the nature of my plans, sometimes. They aren’t exactly God’s plans, but sometimes I can’t tell the difference because my heart can be so delightfully deceptive. (My plans could be God’s plans. I mean… Getting married might be exactly what God’s calling me to do. Who are you to say otherwise? Right?) Sometimes, I convince myself that my plans, dreams, and desires are what God’s leading me to and that my family (or whatever situation I’m in that I don’t like) is what He’s leading me away from. And so I plan. I scheme. I devise my own way...

...and I fall flat on my face.

That’s usually what ends up happening when I try to set goals and make plans. God comes along and causes my plans to fail. He crushes my dreams of “a better life.” He sabotages my attempts at chasing my dreams. It almost feels like He… enjoys… causing my plans to fail. But why does He do it? Why does He thwart nearly all of my plans??

He does it because He has a purpose and a reason for the situation I’m in: There are lessons that He’s trying to teach me right now. Here. Where I am. But why? What makes these lessons so important that He has to cut me off at the knees sometimes? (At least that’s what it feels like when the life I thought I was going to live suddenly becomes nothing but a shattered mirror, reflecting the dream I once had but only in broken pieces.) Why would He cause such pain just to get my attention?

It’s because He’s making me more like Christ. The lessons He’s teaching me now, right where I am, are important because it’s going to make me more like Christ. My family seems to me to be selfish and proud and insensitive because I am selfish and proud and insensitive. This is one of God’s gifts in disguise: He places me with people who act as mirrors, reflecting back to me the flaws that I so clearly see in myself. But so many times, I’m blinded by my own selfishness and pride to notice.

So many times, I look inward but not to learn. Not to search my heart. No, I look inward to focus on how “bad” my situation is; How frustrated I am with the people around me (who, in fact, act the same way I do); How I could never be happy unless I escape this situation. If only I had x or did y or lived in z. Then I’d be happy. I get mad at God when I don’t get my way… I delight only in myself and my own desires.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 (ESV)

Instead of getting mad, instead of allowing myself to become so self-centered as to either become depressed or bitter, I need to learn the lessons God is teaching me. I need to learn them now, as soons as I can, and as quickly as I can. I need, everyday, to take my plans to God and ask that His priorities would be my priorities. I need to give up (in a sense) on chasing my dreams (the ones that aren’t from Him). I need to stop worrying so much about what the future holds or about all of the details and unknowns. Instead, I need to focus only on doing the things that I already know I’m supposed to be doing… the things God has already told me I should do. He needs to be what I desire, not a woman I can escape to (going back to the original example). Because if I don’t learn this lesson, now, that same woman whom I run to will simply become a woman I will one day want to escape from. And the process will repeat itself, presenting another (harder) opportunity to learn my lessons.

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.” Psalm 37:5-6 (ESV)


Joseph Wilson is the oldest of six kids born. In his mid-twenties (but most of the time acting half his age), you can find him in central Tennessee with the rest of his family. He enjoys art, cartooning and illustration, animation, and classic '90s toons and toys. Professionally, he works as a freelance illustrator and web designer. Unprofessionally, he plays video games with his younger siblings... many times losing to the youngest few who possess far more "A-game" than he ever had at their age. When he makes the time to write, he finds it useful to write about topics that God is working Him through because he's able to share what he's learning with others. To find out more, visit his site at jgwilsondesign.com


  1. I'm in a very similar phase of life, and really appreciate reading your experiences :) God bless you.

  2. Raquel, what a fabulous post. Can I just say this is exactly and I mean exactly what I needed to hear. Things have been quite difficult lately and I've been trying to make my own path and trying to get God to follow my plan instead of His. I've been trying to find an easy path and not face the one He has in store for me. Thank you so much for this reminder and that we are learning even when things are hard and difficult. Such a great post!!!

  3. wow, that was soo eye-opening! thank you for this :) it's honestly just what i needed to hear.