God Ruined My Plans
The night before I came home from college for the summer, I was sitting on a bench in one of my most treasured spots in the world with two of my best friends. We knew it was our last night together for an undetermined amount of time. We discussed the highs and lows of our friendship together, and things got really deep.
My mind is really good at playing the comparison game, and at this point in my life, my self-confidence was at an all time low. I was looking for value in the wrong places and the collateral damage that followed was intense. I remember sitting on a bench that night weeping telling them that I didn’t have any gifts to offer to this world. I told them there were so many people that I wanted to get to know, but I didn’t feel like I was someone worth knowing. Who would want to be friends with me?
Little did I know that it was all Satan getting to me. He’s a liar, he’s a coward, and he wants you to feel worthless about every little bit of your life. Don’t let him in.
I knew I had a lot to look forward to this summer. I was excited to go home and travel to three different states. I’d get to be with people I love, seeing mountains, the ocean, all with my camera in my hands.
But then those plans got destroyed. All within the same week. And I was bummed.
I set my hopes on getting a job, but nothing seemed to be working out. I did not know how I was going to spend my time this summer. I’m passionate about photography, so I decided to make a small investment in a new lens, and try to get a very tiny business of my own going. The same day I brought my lens home, a good friend of my family who’s the youth pastor at my church/photographer stopped by and asked me something.
We discussed my lens and then he asked me about a mission trip that they would be leaving for in three weeks. They were in need of a female leader and they thought I would fit the bill. I had known about this mission trip for a while, especially since it’s one my little brother had been on before. He was set on going for a year at this point, but I never felt serious about going. But when Nick (the youth pastor/photographer guy) asked me about going, this time I said yes without hesitation. A week later, he called me and said that a Bible camp desperately needed another head counselor, and we’d be leaving a day after we got home from the mission trip. I told him I was down for that, too.
Keep in mind that this is not like me. I’m a planner through and through. Three weeks to raise $800+ and mentally prepare myself to spend three weeks with 50+ people I had never met before? This introvert was nervous. I had to be a female leader? I had nothing to offer a group of girls in a small group setting. Be a head counselor of young girls at a summer camp? No way, José. But when Nick asked me to go, standing on the front porch of my house, something inside me pushed the words, “Yes, I’ll go” out of my mouth. It was the Spirit. And when he called me about being a counselor at the Bible camp, I said the same thing. “Yes, I’ll go.” Yikes.
I spent the following three weeks writing support letters, doing photography jobs, and various odd jobs to raise money for this trip. I received more money than I needed, and the overflow was able to go into the trip fund to help kids who were struggling getting the money needed. I knew it was God working in people’s hearts to give so generously. Now that I had the money, my bags were packed, and it was time to leave.
Everyone met up at one of the churches we were partnering with to go on the trip. I walked into the building and was instantly scared. “Are you okay?” my dad asked me.
“Yeah, I’m good,” I replied.
Listen, I was not good. The intensity of being in a room with 50 people I had never met before that I was going to spend two weeks with hit me like a truck. I was way out of my comfort zone. I had known of some of the people, but never met them before. I knew the few people from my church, but I didn’t know them well. It was in this moment that I knew that God was going to have to strengthen me.
And He did. Of course He did. The next two weeks were spent getting to know everyone I was on the trip with. Some better than others, but at the end of the two weeks I knew everyone’s names and had at least a small conversation with each person here and there. The relationship I built with the girls in my community group seemed like it took off instantly. I felt so comfortable being a head counselor at the camp we were working at that I didn’t feel like I was working. I learned more about myself, the power of the Lord, and what it means to be intentional during these two weeks than I had ever learned before. I was ready to get home, reenergize, and leave for the next week at Bible camp.
Now let’s think about something: had I acquired a job working for a company or business in my area, I would have a hard time telling them that I’d have to take off three weeks during the eight weeks I’d be available to work before heading back to school. That would mean I’d only have five weeks to work, and most businesses wouldn’t be too keen on that. Had my plans to travel around the country worked out, I wouldn’t have had time for this trip. If the plans I made carried through, I wouldn’t be writing this and telling you that His plans are greater.
He did more through me than I thought possible. The girl who felt like she was nothing special, that she didn’t carry any gifts or talents to offer this world became new in His name. I laid my insecurities and inhibitions at the cross and took His hand. Friends, hear me when I say that submitting your life to His plans is the best, most difficult, most reviving, and hearty decision you can make. At Bible camp we talked about how sometimes we go to the Lord with closed fists that are holding on what we need to let go. We talked about how when we open our hands up to God and let Him take what we can’t or shouldn’t carry is hard, but beneficial. Nick said that when we aren’t giving up our lives for God’s best for us, we lose. And it’s true.
Oswald Chambers put it this way, “All of God’s people are ordinary people who have been made extraordinary by the purpose He has given them.”
In no way am I trying to come off like I’m tooting my own horn. Do I know my exact purpose? No. But through these past three weeks, I’ve gained direction, encouragement, and I’m ready to see what He’s going to do. Am I perfect? Nobody is. Do I have my life together? No shot. But God is holding it together. Every sickness (I got sick on week two of the trip), bump in the road, failure, is in His name.
Submit to His challenges, pray, talk it out with other believers, and let Him take over. Let Him ruin your plans for His glory.
CBC Student, Hopi Horvat
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