Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Have a Great Plan!

“I have a great plan, Mama!”

I was out running a couple of errands yesterday afternoon with our young son in tow. He had been happily chattering away in the backseat of our minivan—making up a story about a prince, a dinosaur, a few of his friends, some bad guys, and a monster of some sort—when suddenly he stopped and announced that he had a "great plan."

Oh, that kid. He always has a plan. Good grief, he’s only three.

We still had a bit of a drive, so I decided to humor him. “Okay, honey. What’s your plan?”

He announced, “After we go to the library [he pronounces it ‘li-bear-y’], we can go home and you can give me some cookies. And you’ll be nice to me and you’ll say okay I can have them and you not say 'Wait till after dinner and blah blah…' but you be nice and let me have some, okay? How 'bout that? That’s a good plan.”

Wait a minute. Did he just say “blah blah”?!

Without giving me a chance to respond (smart kid), he barreled on, “And you say yes, okay? Because I don’t like no. No doesn’t make me happy. No is not my favorite. So you say yes and I’ll have some cookies when we get home, okay, Mom? Yeah, that’s a great plan.”

(See, this is one of the things they don’t tell you before you have kids. That you have to think on your feet in situations like this… which happen pretty much every day.)

Trying to figure out which issue to address first, I said, “Buddy, my rules for you are not ‘blah, blah.’ And I am being nice to you when I say wait to eat your cookies until after dinner. Because if you eat too many cookies now, you won’t be hungry for your good dinner and you’ll have a tummy ache.”

“But Mo-om!” he protested. “Don’t say no! No is not my favorite!”

“Wait a minute,” I said, stopping him mid-whine. “I didn’t say no. But I didn’t say yes either. Tell you what: let’s wait and see how you behave in the library. Then, if you have a happy heart and obey me in there, I’ll let you have one cookie before dinner. How about that?”

“Okay, Mama!” he piped up cheerily. “That sounds like a good plan.” With that issue settled, he picked up his story about a monster and a dinosaur… or something like that.

When I recounted the conversation to Brett last night, we both got a good chuckle out of Buddy’s ingenuity. I tell you, that boy is chock-full of personality, bursting at the seams with charm. (And we agreed to talk to him about the blah, blah part, since that was showing disrespect.)

More often than I’d like to admit, as I’m giggling over something the kids have done, God uses their antics to shine a spotlight on how I’ve been relating to Him in much the same way.

If I’m honest, how often do I approach God with “I have a great plan!” (Someone once quipped, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”)

Then I casually suggest to the sovereign God of the universe—in a spiritual way, of course, quoting Bible verses and such—how He could accomplish my “great plan” and even how my “great plan” could help so many other people and blah, blah.

(Can you just imagine how this sounds to God?)

And how many times, so enamored with my own plans and dreams and schemes for the future, do I say (or at least think), “And You be nice and don’t tell me no, God.” Because no is not my favorite either.

But God, like a good parent, knows what’s best for me. His rules are for my good. His plans are for my best. And His ways are much higher than my own (Isaiah 55:8–9). Sometimes He says no to my so-called great plan, not because He’s “not nice,” but because He has something infinitely better for me in mind. “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! (Ephesians 3:20 MSG).

Sometimes, when I have a “happy heart” and live in obedience to God, He gives me a cookie, so to speak. His Word tells us that when we focus on Him and find delight in His ways, He gives us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). (Of course, when we delight in the Lord, our desires begin to look a lot like His.)

And it’s only when we abandon our own plans and embrace the perfect will of God that we will experience “real and eternal life, more and better life than we ever dreamed of” (John 10:10 MSG).

So I have a great plan. This time, instead of telling God my plans and asking Him to say yes to what I want, I’ll trust in Him and seek what He has in store for me.

Because God’s Word and His will are so much more than blah, blah.

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