The Draft, the Tower, and a Desire

I am not sure how the average person is when it comes to planning, but I am the type that always needs to have a long-term plan in place. I used to be so high strung in my teenage years. I could not enjoy any sort of spontaneous plan change without feeling uncomfortable, or even anxious, because things were now out of my control.

Not only must I have a long-term plan in place, I have to be able to visualize it, and name it so that I can have something to tell important people. God forbid if I didn’t know where I wanted to be in five years!This golden plan is mainly for the protecting of the tall tower of my pride that, in all honesty, probably gets more attentions in its preservation and renovations than it should.

I be protecting my pride like…

If you understand that reference from above picture, you are awesome and shall be automatically added to the “cool person” list.

Despite these rigid building plans I hold on to, life has thrust at me boulder after boulder and has broken some windows and crushed other sections of this pride tower of mine. These circumstances of illness, harmful relationships, family trauma and changing surroundings have in many ways completely erased the plans I had to build my ivory tower, my very american dream. I am she who spreads out her drafting paper, constructs the most daring elaborate designs I can muster and continually revisit the design when I am feeling discouraged. I do this when I paint something decent, or actually manage to squeeze out a song. Think of when you have this amazing project that you finished – whether it be an art piece, a ridiculously long yet rewarding research paper, or an event you organized –  and how you either put it on display or keep on rereading it, looking at it with pride thinking “Wow, I did this, I planned this, I thought of this on my own.”

I am a dreamer, I love to dwell in the possibilities, and this creates strong desires inside of me. Once I am able to visualize something, or am willing to work for something, I hold on to that plan with as much vigor as possible thinking, “I want to create, finish, achieve something I can take pride in and display inside of my ‘tower’.” It is okay to desire excellence. Determination and ambition are common within the zealous hearts of the young. However, excellence for the sake of achieving excellence will only result in emptiness. Unquenchable emptiness at that.

Even a plan with a good motive can leave a void or stagnate your life. Lately, I have been asking myself more than ever: Why do I have this certain desire? Why must I continue my education this way? What is my underlying motive? What was wrong with my previous plan? It didn’t seem like a bad or evil plan. So, why is God leading me in a different direction? Sometimes it is not that the plan or desire I had before was evil or bad, but it was something that was safe or even meant for someone else. God desires a bigger more complex plan for me. Uniquely crafted for the potential he planted in me at the beginning.

I had ironclad plans when college began. Now, God seems to be guiding me down a different more unique path, and is guiding me hands as I erase some of my tower draft sketches and even demolish part of my tower so my foundation can be rebuilt. Like I said before, it is not as though my plans were equivalent to Hitler, but, many times, these plans were what I put my hope in, what motivated me and kept me going. Yet, why would I put my trust in a flimsy draft when my God, the Author and Finisher of my faith, holds the whole of history and future history made in his hands?

I am beginning to understand more of what the Psalmist meant when he said, “Delight yourself in the LORD; and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4). The syntax of this verse is a bit misleading in this translation as it seems God will grant us our wish like that of a genie. Let’s be honest, our desires aren’t always selfless or wholesome

For years, I focused so much on the fact that I was receiving something I wanted from God where I could be like, “Oh, thanks, Papa God.” and walk off with this wishlist item while I go play with it. That is not the point of this verse. What needs to be focused on in this verse is not that our obedience leads to gifts, but that it is GOD who gives the desires, not grants them. He will reveal to you the desires he had in store for you, that had lain dormant until you sought to know God more and something finally illuminated within the deepest part of your heart.

Every time I come across Proverbs 16, I begin to cop a sarcastic attitude towards God as I ironically laugh at all of the convicting words in this passage. This passage is the Ent chucking boulders at my pristine tower, waging war against the pollutant – my iron clad plans built mostly from pride – of my heart and my relationship with God . Particularly Proverbs 16:1-9:

The plans of the heart belong to man,
    but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
    but the Lord weighs the spirit.
Commit your work to the Lord,
    and your plans will be established.
The Lord has made everything for its purpose,
    even the wicked for the day of trouble.
Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
    be assured, he will not go unpunished.
By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for,
    and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.
When a man’s ways please the Lord,
    he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Better is a little with righteousness
    than great revenues with injustice.
The heart of man plans his way,
    but the Lord establishes his steps.

Many times, as a Christian, I  am accused of being a puppet simply allowing myself to be tossed to and fro by the Great Puppet master. I am no Saruman. God gave us free will, we can choose the plans that cause us to rely on him more, or we can choose the easy, comprehensible roads that lead us in circles of for the rest of our lives.  I choose to trust that God has the best plan, the most rewarding, the one that will make a great name for JESUS CHRIST, not for BETHANY. Depending on Christ fully is not the same as being controlled, I must choose daily to live a life that represents Jesus Christ to those around me. That is the ultimate blueprint no matter what we plan in this life on Earth.

More on a personal level, God is leading me in a direction for my career that I could not even think of a few years ago when I started college. I still do not know what the end goal will be, what the final blueprint of my life’s work will look like. I need to be okay with that. Also, I need to be at peace and in a place of humility before others and be content with not being able to give a clear answer when asked, “What do you want to do with your life?” or “…after you graduate?”

I have plans, inclinations, but I have only lightly sketched them on the drafting paper, making sure they can be easily edited later. It is hard to put to death old plans sometimes. Despite this, the new desires that God is placing in my heart were not random and chaotic, they had actually been there in my heart, in the back of my mind since a kid, but to label them as a “passion” had been a dormant idea. I began to realize as God showed me a newer, revised direction Oh, that makes sense. Along with, I won’t be able to pull that amazing plan off without you giving me your strength, God.

But that is how life needs to be. God is way more creative than we could ever be and our putting limits on that creativity is a hindrance to our life’s masterpiece. I found this quote on Tolkien, and it seemed fitting:

“On Tolkien: “His fussiness threatened to overwhelm his creativity.”

Now, here is the inspiration to blame for my obnoxiously long “tower” metaphor and numerous analogical statements:

And, like I always do, a song that relates to the post. This one mentions towers, well castles, their destruction and rebuilding. Well, if we want to draw some parallels here, it talks about built of plans and ideals, those ideals not panning out, and having to rebuild things from scratch. Below:

“If its real, you can see it with your eyes, even in the dark. And that’s where I want to be.” Only God’s purpose prevails through dark times.

-Bethany

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