Everyone makes plans they set out to accomplish – from small daily goals on up to career-long desires that take years of planning to execute.
As a mother of four kids, each day can be filled with an alarming number of unplanned incidents that can easily thwart my plans for what I set out to get done in any given day.
I woke up determined to make it to yoga class today. Even though I needed to get work done. Even though I still haven’t planned out my menu for hosting 15 family members on Thanksgiving.
With my girls in tow, we left on-time for 8:30am class. As we turned on to the main street to exit our neighborhood, a young man with his own leashed dog looked bewildered as he stood on the median in the middle of the road.
Two small unleashed dogs we nipping at his feet. I rolled down my window to ask if he needed help. He did. The two small dogs were stray – one with a collar – the other, a puppy, without. I’m a sucker for lost dogs. Can’t stand to just drive by and hope someone else rescues them.
Change of plans.
We piled the two sweet strays in our van and set off to find their owner. I pulled over and called the number of Osita’s tag, voicemail. I left a message. There was an address, so we followed Google maps several miles away to the house listed. I knocked on the door, but no answer. Waited, knocked again. Then I knocked on a neighbor’s door. No answer.
After standing out front trying to figure out what to do, I called Animal Control to see what they would say. They told me to take them to the shelter. Just as I was about to take the sweet pups to SPCA around the corner, a distraught pregnant woman pulled up – crying and nearly hysterical – she was dog sitting for her parents . . . the dogs got out twice this week.
She was grateful I had waited. I was thankful too – it’s tough to get your dogs back once impounded, especially if they don’t have tags or a dog license.
As we loaded back in the car to head to the gym, I smelled, well, you know, an accident. Puppy was apparently nervous in the back of my van.
We headed home to clean up quickly and get to the gym. But then, I decided that my van really just needed a good washing–inside and out–and I told the kids that we were going to stay home.
After scrubbing the van inside and out for nearly two hours, it occurred to me that I hadn’t checked my cell phone since early in the morning. That’s when I saw the reminder I had put on my calendar the previous week: the yoga room would be closed this week for renovations.
I then realized that this just might be another reminder of how God works in us to do His will.
We don’t always comprehend that in our day-to-day drudgery, we are instruments of His plans, that grace extends from Him through us when we let it.
Being open to do what God has for us each day can be tricky; after all, there’s money to be made, bills to pay, people to serve, children to tend, ministries to run.
But listening and being available to God’s still small voice and leaning on Him in the moment as our days are flipped upside down can be just as valuable as checking items off our to-do lists.
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So here’s what I’m reminded of today: what we set out to do is not always what God has planned for us.
Proverbs 19:9 says, “A man plans his ways, but God determines his steps.”
Little reminders like this have a huge impact on me. At times these inconvenient reminders seem small – like rescuing a couple of dogs off the side of the road – other times, God uses me in big ways if I let Him.
Sometimes I’m given a glimpse . . . but most of the time it feels like I’m in the dark. God really is working and moving in me (and you) every day-whether I know it or not.
How will God use you today?
Lauren Hunter is a writer who loves exploring the big picture of the journey we are all on together. Her career spans more than two decades in public relations, content marketing, freelance writing, and publishing. Lauren lives in Northern California with her husband and their four children. Her latest book is Write Your Journey: A Step-by-Step Guide to Write Your Life Story Fast.