This summer, 72 college students and I planned to submit our summer to God as we ventured overseas to Europe to serve Him. When I joined the Ten2 Project, I excitedly began fundraising, telling everyone I knew about this amazing opportunity, and prepping to spend my summer in Europe. I found myself telling people, “Lord willing” I’ll be in Europe this summer… but the reality was my plans were set and I WAS going to spend the summer serving God alongside college students from all over. As quickly as I set these plans into motion, they changed. Change is such a small word, but it can be incredibly scary and difficult. In what seemed like an instant, everything around me began to shut down, get postponed, or even cancelled. The plans that I were so certain of, that I thought God had for me, were changed in an instant. It was in this moment that I grasped the reality of the words “Lord willing.”
HIS PLANS > MINE
We revolve our lives around planning, whether it’s for something big or small. As Christians, we should know that it is okay to set goals and make plans, but we also need to understand that it’s really not our plans that get us anywhere–it’s God’s. We must be flexible in our plans in order to make them align with His. If we lack the willingness to be flexible, we can fall into very prideful behavior as we consider our plans of utmost importance. James 4:13-15 (ESV) shows the reality of submitting to God’s authority well. It says, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’” By submitting to God and His will, it means that we trust His plans above our own.
But what exactly does flexibility look like? What does it mean to submit to God’s will over our own? As Christians, we are to strive to become more Christ-like (1 John 2:6), and the reality is that Jesus is the ultimate model of flexibility. You can see Christ’s humility in John 5:30-32 (ESV) where Jesus says, “I can do nothing on my own.” Jesus humbled himself before the Father to submit to His will. Christ as a perfect Man was willing to humble himself before God and follow His plan, yet us as imperfect humans don’t do this every day in our lives. God is all-knowing and understands what is best for us, so why do we still turn away from Him and follow our own plans? Flexibility as a Christian means understanding that God’s plans are greater than our own, thus we need to submit to Him when change occurs.
I want to close with this reminder. If we want to reap a harvest anywhere and bear fruit, then we need to submit ourselves to God’s plan. We are reminded of this in Jeremiah 17:5-10, where it begins saying, “Cursed is the man who trusts in man, but blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” We need to trust Him over man. The truth of the matter is that, flexibility can only happen as the heart of self-denial. So, the question is, are we willing to lay down our agenda to follow His?
Help us to align our hearts with yours. Help us to humble ourselves as Christ did, when he, as the Son of God, stated “I can do nothing on my own.” God we too can do nothing on our own. We need you, for you are the all-knowing Creator. Help us to live a life of flexibility in submission to You.
– Brianna Wright, Ten2 Project 2020 Participant & Storyteller