The Five Year Plan

A friend and I were recently talking about the problem with the question, “What’s your five year plan?”

See, it sounds like a decent question to ask someone in an interview, but here’s where the question falls short:

What was your plan five years ago?

If you tell me that you’re actually living it, I’ll be surprised and more than a little impressed. Because I, too, thought I had a grasp on what I’d be doing with my life today. But if you had told me five years ago that I would have stopped working at Advancing Native Missions for any reason other than marriage, I would have laughed in your face.

Five year plans aren’t bad in and of themselves. It’s good to have goals. It’s good to have an idea of where you’re going in life.

But when you’re so caught up in those plans you made five years ago that you can’t see how God is reshaping your dream, your plan becomes a problem. Your goal becomes your god.

And that’s where I was a little over a year ago—living the only dream I had ever dreamed. It was all I ever wanted from the time I was eight years old and read a story about Amy Carmichael and her beautiful brown eyes that saved the lives of countless children. I know, I was a rather ambitious eight year old. But those ambitions remained for the next ten years until I could finally touch them. I was there. Doing everything I ever dreamed I would be doing.

And then one day I realized I wasn’t dreaming anymore. Maybe in my heart of hearts I still wanted to be an Amy Carmichael, but somewhere along the line, my idea of ministry had changed.

When you dream one dream for twelve years, it can be absolutely terrifying to let it go.

I wrestled for months with the knowing in my heart. The knowing that it was time to let go and move on. But I was afraid. I was ever so afraid of dreaming a new dream. I was absolutely terrified of giving up the familiar.

This was uncharted territory I was exploring. This was never in the plan. Well, it was in The Plan, just not my plan.

And in the past year I’ve learned that it’s okay to throw my plans out the window. It’s okay to admit that I may have been wrong about the timing. And that maybe my dream wasn’t supposed to last five years after all.

Because I’m not the girl I was five years ago. Nor am I the girl I once imagined I would be.

But I’m finally coming to terms with that. I’m finally deciding that maybe this is where I was meant to be all along. And maybe life has grander adventures in store than the ones I conjured up with my limited imagination.

Today if you ask me my five year plan, I’ll tell you to ask The Man Upstairs. Because I’m done making plans for Him to interrupt. I think maybe it’s best if I just let Him lead me step by step.

8 thoughts on “The Five Year Plan

  1. I love this because it’s totally where I am right now. Five years ago, if you would have told me I’d be doing what I am right now, I would have said, “Yeah, that’s what I’m dreaming will happen in five years. What’s really going to happen?” Yet no dream is perfect, no situation is perfect. I don’t know what the next five years hold because I don’t even know what the next year will hold. I’d much rather make a five year plan like a four year plan we did in college of what classes we’re going to take what semester but even those didn’t work out the way we expected. Thanks for being honest in this struggle.

  2. It’s good when ambitious eight year olds grow up and give into His plan. Am leaving an everyday job with a head full of dreams and nowhere to go. It’s time for something else.

    • When Abraham set out to follow God, he didn’t know where he was going. But he did know who was leading him, and that made all the difference. I pray God will soon reveal a piece of His divine plan for your life.

  3. Love it. Jamie Grace has a great song out called, “You Lead” which I think fits perfectly with your post. 🙂 Have you heard the song before?

  4. My five year plan has turned out to be less significant and less exciting than the life God had planned for me all along. His plans truly are greater than mine.

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