Not My Plan, But Yours


I am a planner. I like to have a plan for what I’m going to do, how I’m going to do it, and when I need to have it done. This desire for control and structure presents itself in both my personal and my professional life. When I sat down to sketch out what I wanted to write, or what I thought God wanted me to share, I had a plan. I had, in my opinion, great things to share through my post. I had even written the majority of the blog, and simply needed to put the finishing touches on it. All of my lesson prep was done. My grades were completed. Even the most immediate household chores were done. I thought, “Yes! I managed to get everything done! I’ve got several days to finish the blog, and then I can move on to other things.” However, my 8-month old, Micah, did not receive the memo about my to-do list. Neither did he seem to appreciate all of the things for which I was responsible. Instead, he was diagnosed with pink eye, was heavily congested, had difficulty breathing, and therefore needed to be held most of the time. With that, my plan went out the window. My sad, sick, little baby needed me, which in turn meant my time was spent caring for him: rocking him, singing to him, holding him while he slept (and inevitably getting sick from him). All of my time that I had planned out was gone.

With no control, and no plan anymore, I sat rocking and praying Micah to sleep. As I rocked, I sang -

Name above all names
Beautiful Savior
Glorious Lord
God is with us
Blessed Redeemer
Living Word

Initially, my desire to sing songs like this to Micah was so he would hear Truth at an early age. Additionally, short and repetitive songs calm him best, so Jesus, Name Above All Names, has been a perfect fit. Even if he doesn’t understand the words yet, he will hear the Truth every day. However, the Lord showed me this week that while it may be beneficial for Micah, it is also beneficial for my heart. And in some of those quiet moments of rocking and singing, in between the fits of screaming and crying, the Lord quietly showed me the nature of my heart, and drew me back to His plan and His goodness.

The Lord began this process of drawing me back through this song by focusing on the different names and attributes of God. How many times had I sung this to Micah? Was I truly focused on the words, or was it a means to get him to sleep so I could return to “my plan”? Since Micah refused to be put down, I rocked him and sang it. A lot. Every time I sang, I thought more about who God is, what He gives us, and what He promises us. The longer I dwelled on this, the more I began to enjoy singing in God’s presence. My mind was no longer focused on my plan. Then I thought, “How often do I just sit and enjoy being in the presence of God?” This question brought to mind one of our Bible Truth Sound-Offs:

What is the chief end of man?
Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

I was convicted thinking about how often my agenda had prevented me from glorifying and enjoying God. Then I wondered about how my struggle with selfish desires and plans could impact my students. As teachers, we have an amazing opportunity to show our students a love for Jesus, a love of God’s Word, and a love for His creation. If I can’t stop to glorify God and enjoy being in His presence, how will I model that for my students?

Just last week, during our morning Bible time, we were discussing Isaiah 55. Since this is the chapter the students have been memorizing during morning assembly, they were engaged with it in a deeper way and wanted to talk more about it. Our conversation of the scripture ran long, which meant we were behind schedule the rest of the day. Not finishing all our work was initially frustrating, but it was a result of a meaningful conversation the Lord had orchestrated. It was His leading, and His plan, that opened the door for good conversation. Not mine. There are times where my teaching is driven by accomplishing goals and completing tasks. However, in that approach, there is little room to stop and appreciate what the content reveals about our God, or discover what He is trying to teach us through our studies. How much more of an impact could I make, if I was willing to set aside my agenda, seek the Lord and what He is doing, and help the students do the same? The Lord graciously reminded me that having a plan and being prepared for my day, and for my students, is good. But it is more important for me to be focused on the Lord, to seek His will and desires for our day, and to pray for Him to reveal Himself through our learning.

I’m grateful my plan for this blog post didn’t work out. I’m thankful for how the Lord used the quiet and chaotic moments of life to draw me back to Him. I’m blessed that I serve a God who lovingly and gently pursues me when I’ve gone astray. I hope I will be able to set aside my plan, enjoy Him fully, and therefore demonstrate to my students that we serve a God who deserves our praise and worship. My prayer is that the Lord will continue to mold me, grow me, and equip me to teach and lead in a way that glorifies Him always.

Jillian Sullivan