Plan, what plan?

I smile every time that I think I’m in control of my own life. Just when I start to worry about when my next work project will come in, it does. When I think that I’ve got my latest life strategy planned out, a situation arises that changes it. I believe that God has been guiding my life all a long, but I really failed to see it until my career ended suddenly. When I started looking back over my life and began writing my yet unfinished book, I could see the patterns emerge. I’ve been “retired” from my dream of being in the fire service for 10 years and I never could have imagined the journey I’ve been on ever since. I certainly did not plan any of it and every time I try to plan or worry about a plan, God reminds me that He is charting the course.

My experiences in these past 10 years have been incredible. I’ve met incredible people from all walks of life. As a Councilmember, I’ve been part of a select group that meets monthly to discuss development, investing and economic conditions in the metropolitan Phoenix area. This group really influences what happens in our region; the connections are amazing. I’ve had conversations with people trying to connect an outside property owner who “only needed $5 million” with an investor; it was unreal. I continue to work with the US Army on Homeland Defense initiatives and have become friends with very special people. Not to mention the conversations that I’ve had with General Officers and their staffs. I never planned any of this. My work as a local government consultant continues to take me across the country and into the lives of people who want to do the best they can for their residents. All of these things came to be because I stopped worrying about being in control of my plan and let God show me the way.

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9

We recently celebrated Thanksgiving in the United States and that got me thinking about what I’m thankful for. More importantly, it also reaffirmed how I got to where I am. We all desire to know what lies ahead and to influence those circumstances. Completely letting go is hard. We are human and being in control is one of the things that separates us from the animal kingdom.

We can still make our plans, have our dreams and establish targets for achievements; this is the free will that God gave us. The verse for this week reminds us that God will establish the steps of getting there. I am planning for a long life that ends with my being thankful for a great family and satisfying life. The truth is that if my life ended today because it was in God’s plan, my life would end with my plan being fulfilled. Sure, it may not have been very long, but I’ve achieved what I hoped I would. I am thankful for that and mindful that it is also human nature to never be satisfied with our lives. God knows just what we need and will direct your steps if you let Him.

Outlook for 2013

We are starting a new year with the fiscal cliff being pushed a little farther up the hill. For some of us, this is a sign to be optimistic. Others will simply delay their dreams until something more certain happens. How have these past few years been for you? Tough is my guess. If you think about it, you have been provided for in some way. Sure, your hours at work have been cut or there’s been no overtime to supply the extra buffer of cash you counted on but you have still been provided for. It’s hard to think positively about 2013 when the past few years have been such a struggle. Think about what makes you happy at home and at work and focus on those things. Many people have “re-invented” themselves these past few years when a job loss or change forced it. What do you want  to do? Is there something that you’ve always dreamed of doing? Now may be the time to do it. The world that we knew has changed and doors are being opened for people in a lot of unusual ways, they just don’t see it. If you are in a position of leadership, you should be finding ways to open doors for your people. As a subordinate, you should seek opportunities to expand your experiences by offering to help your boss with their projects. If you feel “stuck” in your job with no hope, look outside of your current position for a new future. They say it’s always easier to find a job when you have one. If you are without one or are “underemployed”, follow your passion! One small opportunity can turn into a bigger one if you are enjoying your life in the sunshine instead of under the dark clouds.

“…God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

So many people think that they are in control of their destiny and that if THEY don’t do things it won’t happen. As Jesus would say “Those Fools!” God has said throughout the bible that He has the plans and that they are not for us to know. He also promises to meet all of our needs as He does here. Paul reminds the Philippians that God will meet their needs. What God doesn’t promise is that he’ll meet the needs that WE desire. We have to remember that what we need to sustain us here in this life is NOT the same as what we need to sustain ourselves for eternity. Paul reminds the Philippians (and us) that we need the riches of Christ Jesus, our savior. God wants us to be happy in this life and he wants us to keep our focus on Him, not our happiness. If you are down about the upcoming year, send your cares to God through prayer. He didn’t finish His work when He raised Jesus from death; He was just sending us a message about where to focus our lives. Live to His glory and He will meet all of your needs.