Thy Will Be Done
“There are many plans in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.” Proverbs 19:21 KJV.
I use to be a dreamer, and like so many, my happiness depended on those dreams coming to fruition. I was validating myself based on where I was in life, what possessions I had, or the lack thereof, by the friends that were around me, and the friends which were not around. After my mind became renewed in Jesus, my attitude toward how I viewed life made a complete 180°. I began to know and understand bit by bit this God I heard of from a child. Simply knowing of God is no feat really; a lot of people believe there is a God, and a lot of people know of the God mentioned in the Bible, but how many really know Him? To Know God is to keep His commandments. To love God is to keep His commandments. His commandments are to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul & strength. And Jesus also commands that we love one another the way He loves us. Those are His commandments for us today.
Very rarely does ones life turn out exactly the way they planned it as a child or a young adult. As children, we were taught by our parents, and later on in life, by society, that we’re supposed to have a certain life. As we grow, trying to live up to these expectations, these ambitions, for some, can in many ways be very taxing on the mind, body and soul. Not many parents teach their children that the most important thing in this life is to live one’s life according to God’s perfect plan, according to His will.
Our heads and hearts being so filled up with our own plans and our own desires, that there is scarcely any room to even have as much as a notion to seek God’s will. We’re never taught to seek God’s wise counsel before we run out and start making plans that will affect our entire lives; most of which never come to be or never truly last because your path wasn’t rooted in and directed by God, only what is done in Christ truly lasts in this life.
It is written in Hebrews 10:36, “For you have need for endurance; so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise”. What is it that God expects of us exactly? How do you know that you’re living your life according to God’s will? Well, we can find all of the answers to life’s questions in the Bible and by praying steadfastly for Him to direct our paths and give us discernment. “In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6. A great deal of trust and faith in God is required of us when we’re pursuing something and find ourselves unsure if it is His will.
For the longest time I felt like I was pretty much just existing, not living at all, and that realization would send me into bouts of depression. I never really thought I had any talents or gifts, I went to work simply to watch the clock, and had a little celebratory moment in my head or sometimes made a loud sigh of relief when my time to punch out came. My salary went on basic things, mostly clothing because I partied a lot for quite a while, but eventually that became disatisfying.
From the age of eighteen to about twenty-five I think I had approximately twelve or thirteen odd jobs, all of which I hated except the club job I had because that never felt like a “real job”. I was fired twice, but I quit all the others simply because I always had a nagging feeling within me that life had to be more than that, at least my life had to be more than that.
I would think as I was stocking the shelves in a pharmacy where I worked, “I went to ‘good schools’, so why was my life not showing the fruits of someone who went to decent schools?”. I always had an attitude of, “I’m better than this tacky job”. I had no clue of what God wanted of my life, or anyone’s life for that matter. What was life suppose to consist of anyway? Working and having some savings to purchase a car or home? Live for the weekend? Become rich or famous? Marry someone famous or rich? Have some kids, watch them grow up, eventually growing old myself, then become a resident in some geriatric home, then comes death, end of story? Are we really just biding our time here until something bigger happens what we’re really supposed to be doing?
Later, I learned that God wants us to desire to live a quiet life, “But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.” 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12 NKJV.
God had our lives planned out, so did our parents, sometimes those plans are not in cohesion. For our parents, we were to graduate from high school; graduate from college, get married, produce kids, build or purchase a home, but not necessarily in that order. In reality, it’s almost never in that particular order anymore. For some people babies usually spring up sometimes mid high school and all the latter plans end up having to shift or get the axe. Making plans for your kids isn’t a bad thing because parents really just want the best for their kids right?
Obtaining a “nice job” is probably the most important thing, and by nice, in most cases, people don’t mean a regular average job like delivering mail, or being a store clerk. Not even a job like working in a library is good enough for some parent’s, or being a waitress in a dive somewhere. Someone might be saying right now, “There is nothing wrong with wanting the absolute best for your children, wanting them to live comfortably”. You’re right, nothing is wrong with that; but what becomes of your child if they don’t live up to your expectations? Will you make sure they don’t feel like less of a human being? Have you ever sought out God’s council when your child finished high school and asked God to guide your child into doing what is according to His will? Did you teach your child to do the same, making prayer and supplication to God in regards to guidance over their life? Or, did you just start looking for Colleges or Universities and planning your child’s life based on your personal ambitions?
For some reason, there are mothers and fathers out there that have not realized that everyone on planet earth cannot and will not be a doctor or a lawyer or an astrophysicist. Just about every job serves a fundamental purpose in society, no matter how menial someone may think it is. Of course, being a hit man or a stripper is definitely not something a person who has decided to live their life for God, or really anyone, should aspire to be, so that pretty much goes without saying. I think it’s pretty safe to say jobs like those are not a part of God’s plan for anyone’s life, it’s simply a clear indication that you’re doing your own thing.
Still, sadly, for many, if you’re not the first doctor to separate conjoined octuplets, or if you don’t have a platinum album or broke some world record or something far more epic like that, then you’re categorized as a failure or a loser, or somebody that didn’t live up to their “full potential”.
Society treats certain people that play “unimpressive” roles as though they don’t matter, or it’s something somebody should be ashamed of, or that’s the life you get when you don’t go to college, these are the invisible people whose contribution in life goes unnoticed but is very much needed.
Is tertiary education the answer to all of life’s problems or is God the real answer? College and Universities serve a purpose; but will they truly secure your future? This isn’t to say don’t go to an institution of higher learning; but if you place all your hope in believing that obtaining a degree guarantee’s you will have a secure future, and be super happy all the rest of your days, you may be setting yourself up for a very rude awakening. Some may see this as an unfavorable even negative perspective to have; but the truth is, for many people, after graduation day things don’t always go according to plan, and not everyone is able to take things in stride when they don’t.
This is not to discourage anyone, it’s simply to provide a little perspective. It’s okay to look at certain things differently than the way you were taught by teachers and peers. We were warned by God not to put our trust in man and that our minds should be placed on things above, Colossians 3:2. Still people decide to place all their hope on earthly things. Are there professions where a College degree is necessary? Most definitely. There are many professions where a college degree is a must; but is this everyone’s golden ticket?
Yes, people just want to be secure; all of the plans our parents made for themselves and for us were all about securing a good future. Education for many is a form of security. Going to College is supposed to secure a person a good future isn’t it? A “good career” is another form of security; health and life insurance are forms of security. We trust banks to make sure our money is secure. We trust bars, locks, fences, cameras, even people to keep our homes and businesses secure; but are you really secure because of those things or in spite of those things? “Unless the Lord builds a house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guard the city, the watchmen stays awake in vain.” Psalm 127:1 NKJV.
As humans we find safety in believing a certain thing will secure one’s future, but we overlook the only real and faithful security, God. Yes, we can plan and plan for our lives, we can project all of our dreams and hopes onto our children, but there is no guarantee any of these things will ever happen; we should trust in the faithfulness of God. If we put our trust and love in Him all things will work out.
Many people don’t realize how many expectations of how a persons life should be can negatively shape the society we live in. The world is showing us through the media and other things that being wealthy have huge benefits that the regular everyday average Joe should not want to miss out on, and living paycheck to paycheck is the bottom of the barrel. What’s going to happen when these people get a reality check issued by life? Some people end up having some really sinister ambitions then.
For many, there was a time when robbing someone, selling drugs, stripping, prostitution, or killing someone because they wouldn’t give you their handbag, never entered their mind, then the point of desperation arrives and the character of that person is tested. There are many inexcusable crimes that are committed and this is certainly not to justify any of them; but if we desire to find a solution to many of the social ills in life we must be willing to acknowledge all the various reasons behind it. The primary reasons behind many crimes committed is sin, which produce in some people covetousness, jealousy, depraved minds and so on, but a few, maybe one or two of those persons fell through the proverbial cracks, and was trying to keep up with a pretense of how their life should look because of certain ambitions that were projected onto them, by peers, parents, society, the media, everybody, so they take desperate measures to, “Keep up with the Jones’”; it’s all horribly wrong and very sad.
“Get rich, or die trying”, that’s a motto many are living by; but the people who end up dying are usually the ones who end up being the victims of crimes made by individuals who’s moral compass’ got shattered the same time their dreams did. The truth is, everyone’s not going to be adopted by Daddy Warbucks and go on to live happily ever after with their lofty inheritance. Everyone’s not going to hit a bit of luck and win the lottery. In life, more often, real hard work is required, and for a man it always required that he work for what he wants in life. Yes, there are times when there will be some hard knocks; but you shouldn’t allow low moments in life to cause you to act like a low life.
You should not be defined, or want to be defined by how much money you have or don’t have. You’re not less of a person because you don’t make six figures or because you don’t drive the latest European car. It doesn’t matter that your home doesn’t have wings a foyer and a home theatre, or because your clothing isn’t straight off of the runway in Milan, or because you can’t afford to vacation in the Bahamas or Venice or on the Moon even. “And He said unto them, ‘Take heed, and beware of greed: for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.’” Luke 12:15 nkjv.
I believe that most parents’ intentions are actually good; they simply want the best for their children. However, I don’t think many parents consider the pressure some kids trying to live up to their expectations feel at times and they go from being loving and comforting parents who support their kids irregardless of what life throws at them, to becoming dictators. If there are parents reading this, you can cool your jets this isn’t an attack, just being real. Later on children grow up and become adults and have to deal with the pressures of society; and for many it’s just too much. Some of these kids become unhappy adults trying to keep up with everyone with the latest trends, the latest everything, just to be who they were told they’re suppose to be, and sometimes it just pushes folks to the brink.
My mother was very loving, and made a lot of sacrifices for me and my siblings, I guess so we could have the life she thought we deserved; and that her children became somebody worth bragging about. That’s not so bad is it; making your parents so proud they tell everyone everywhere they go what you’ve accomplished? I didn’t have that, my mother died while I was still in the process of figuring out what I want to be in life. Even after that I was still trying to live up to her expectations, even though she would never see it, she would never know. Some expectations, I believe, are the numero uno reason why many lives today are filled with misery and heartache. Perhaps, that could also be the reason some try so hard to accomplish their dreams; it’s partly for them, but mostly for the approval of others.
Many persons want the family and the booming career; but more so, just about everyone these days want to be famous or rich. It’s always been drummed into many people, that it’s more admirable to live a decadent life than a simple quiet one. Society urges us to chase these dreams to no end, or our lives end. The more impractical, the more you’re coerced to pursue it. Flip on the TV and you can be certain that someone somewhere is searching for the next something. If it’s not the next top model, it’s the next pop star, or next super chef.
It used to be, ‘Hitch your wagon to the stars’, now it’s more like forget about the wagon just be the star. Expedience, it’s all about expedience. If you got to step on some toes, strategically place a few knives in a few backs, systematically ruining every life on your path to greatness; go right ahead, it’s all about getting to the top, expeditiously of course. That’s the way of the world and it’s wrong. It’s unloving and ungodly but many people don’t care. As believers we are to, “Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God”, Micah 6:8 NKJV. As far as many are concerned, “I got a brand new European car somewhere with my name on it, and by hook or by crook it will be mine”. It’s not a sin to make plans; but if they’re selfish and require you to do evil things, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s not of God. Always remember when praying for something, pray His will be done, not yours.
There are people who obsess about a career in the NBA. When you obsess over getting that record deal or becoming a model or really any career, to the point where you become so unhinged that you set aside morals and rationality and your logic becomes, “There is literally nothing I wouldn’t do for my dreams to come true”. If that becomes you, just know that you’re trotting on a very treacherous bit of turf. That cunning devil loves when a person forgets or doesn’t even know what God wants us to, “Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ, as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in your conduct, because it is written, Be holy, for I am holy”. 1 Peter 1:13-15 NKJV. If you don’t walk in a perpetual state of sobriety, you will step right into every snare the enemy has set up for delusional dreamers. If you remain drunk and possessed with fantasizing and dreaming about grandeur, you’ll neglect your family; friends around you that care, more importantly you won’t even make time for God.
What if God has different plans for you? What if His plans are so different from what you have in mind, you refuse to believe it could truly be His will? I think some people are career dream chasers. Some people are so consumed with dreaming that they refuse to even entertain the possibility that perhaps what they have in mind may not be what God’s will is for their lives.
The world teaches us to chase dreams, but God teaches us to pursue the things of the Kingdom; righteousness, peace, love and so on. What if my dream is His will? Good question, but you should know the answer to that already, based on the very question, you said it was “my dream” not His. Have you been asking God to guide you into doing all things according to His will, have you honestly been acknowledging Him? If not, odds are more like that what you’re doing isn’t His will but in actuality yours.
As far as this world is concerned, a person is not truly successful until they have “lived their dream”; however, God’s idea of success is quite different. A person might be a stay at home mom and be a success, motherhood is rewarding. A person might even have a simple quiet job where they won’t get any fame and it’s okay. Not making six figures doesn’t mean you have failed. Being able to find contentment in simplicity is a treasure many never find. This isn’t to be confused with settling, but simplicity is just being able to be content in thing’s that perhaps many won’t think worthy to write home about. Even the Gospel is simple, but man still found ways to meddle with that and create other doctrines.
Some persons can have really busy lives making a huge salary and still at nights they’re troubled. Some search for something to fill that void in their lives, or to drown out any awareness of it. For many, alcohol, drugs, and sex become their place of refuge. For some, overworking themselves also helps to smother the truth they need to face, that Jesus Christ is the answer, He is the only piece that will fit that hole. Sadly, through not believing, this truth doesn’t soothe many people, they prefer anything that will take away or mask their reality, this is the more preferable cure for what ails them. Many become so intoxicated that they are unable to take stock of their lives to see where it all went wrong and what’s really missing so they can make the necessary changes.
If you have ever watched award shows, and have seen that when the ‘celebrity’ leaves to accept or present an award or just goes to the toilet, somebody comes and sits down in their seat, that person is know as a ‘seat filler’. In some lives, drugs are kind of a seat filler, it really shouldn’t be there, but it fills a gap for a while. Sadly, many end up learning the hard way that drugs have a price that is usually very high, that you pay when you’re taken very low. Even so, after many have realized that and tried to seek help through rehab and so on, because drugs are something many persons become so dependent on, even when they want to stop it’s very difficult.
Addiction is an aggressive affliction that manifests itself in various forms in a person’s life, but only God is able to break the binding it has on people. A persons mind says it wants to stop but the body is saying it can’t function without it, eventually that feeling catches up with your mind and you start believing that you really cannot function without it, believing it will get your mind off of stress or whatever, so you revert to using the substance again. The only real solution is healing by God brought about by a renewed mind in Jesus Christ.
If someone decides they no longer want to pursue an acting career or modeling, or no longer want to be a pop singer or a ball player, or a nurse or lawyer, or doctor, people are quick to say they let their dreams die, they gave up, and so they’re a failure or will be one. Very rarely does anyone say, it’s okay that you didn’t become a famous ball player, it’s alright you didn’t get that record deal, you didn’t get the promotion this time, it’s okay your life is not over. You have a purpose and God will help you to live it, if you surrender to Him, if you have faith.
The Bible exhorts us to deny ourselves; some of the thing’s we may have to deny ourselves are those dreams of fame and fortune. In the Bible we are taught to not set our mind on high things, but to associate with the humble, Romans 12:16 nkjv. I don’t think God wants us to do that so we can be miserable and poor; but so that we can avoid the heartaches and disappointments greed and a sinful life can bring. God really wants us to experience the richness of contentment, in a life that is simplistic and rewarding at the same time, an abundant life; and an abundant life doesn’t necessarily mean wealth. Perhaps there are people confusing abundant, with abundance. There are certainly some preachers and non-preachers teaching that we are all supposed to be wealthy and that is how we gain happiness and fulfillment in this life. But is financial prosperity what God really has planned for all of us, or is it spiritual prosperity we should aspire to obtain?
If people followed God’s way, I’m sure there would be fewer suicides. If people grasped this truth, less people would believe they’re a failure because their dream didn’t come true. In 2 Timothy 2:4 nkjv, “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please Him who enlisted him as a soldier”. Many sink into despair when their dreams don’t become reality. Is this the meaning of life, chasing dreams? Is that the reason we were created, to be on an endless pursuit of happiness? Is that how we obtain purpose, by chasing it? Is that what life is all about? We chase our dreams, once it’s found we live it, and then we die, then another generation comes, rinse and repeat? But where does God fit into all of this?
In the first chapter, in the book of Ecclesiastes, verse 3 NKJV, King Solomon said, “What profit has man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun? One generation passes away, and another generation comes, but the earth abides forever”. This book talks about the vanity of life. We really weren’t created to chase dreams but to live out a certain purpose. Each of our lives has great value, and the decisions each of us make are very important, it not only affects the course of our lives but also the lives surrounding us. As believers, our lives were already mapped out from the beginning of time. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”, Ephesians 2:10 NKJV.
Perhaps, if a few can be dissuaded from spending all their time and energy following the dictates of their heart, and follow the will of God, many may be saved from a life of despair. We are taught constantly by songs, movies, friends, co-workers, from just about everybody, to follow our hearts, but God said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it”? Jeremiah 17:9. That scripture is sharing how the heart is truly not the place to seek council when making decisions in your life, the heart can misguide you. Even friends can give us bad council, we must be very careful when taking advice from friends.
It is so important to seek God’s Kingdom first because once you begin to learn what God expects of you and you start praying for Him to lead you to doing all that is according to His will, you will start to desire the things He desired for us to have and be all along. Many out there in the world are drunk on sin, to the point where they don’t desire to walk upright; they love that temporary feeling of intoxication that sin provides. Also, for many, even after coming to this realization they still try to avoid their true calling and choose to remain preoccupied pursuing their selfish ambitions, which may very well lead to their destruction.
Certainly, there is a purpose for every life, but purpose isn’t something to be chased, it is something that has already been written, purpose is something we live. God will not lead us into a pit, by trusting in Him and by living our lives according to His will; we will understand what success really is in the eyes of God. For He is our creator, He’s the one true God, “Who was, and is, and is to come”, Revelation 1:8. Yes, I use to be a dreamer, but now, I leave all the dreaming up to the John Lennon’s of the world. Living your purpose deserves more of your time and energy than chasing dreams, the riches you gather here doesn’t matter in the life to come, in the end it all perishes, will you accompany it? Being obedient to God now has great rewards in store for all those who chose to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Jesus Christ.
Living more abundantly as a light of the world, salt of the earth, and a bondservant of the Lord, are some of the plans God has made for us. God said His commandments are not burdensome. Jesus loves you, it may sound cliché, but God truly loves you so much, if you could only understand how much. “’For I know the thought’s that I think toward you’, say’s the Lord, ‘Thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope’”. Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV.