“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” –Jeremiah 29:11 [NIV]
I’m not usually one for spontaneous blogging and I wouldn’t really classify this as a spontaneous blog since its been a compilation of recent events in my life. However, I think that today just happened to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. I’ll spare the details of the past couple of days as I don’t think that the occurrences are as important as the lessons I’ve been taught.
I’ve learned so much about people lately and while the lessons are ones that I would rather not have learned, it is quite possible that the Lord is in fact preparing me for the real world, for people who will use me, people who will take advantage of my kindness, people who have no problem stepping on others to get to where they desire to be in life. I have never been one of these people and thus it is SO incredibly difficult for me to imagine that there are people who I know, people who I call friends, people who I’ve come to love and admire who are in fact selfish and self-centered. I am guilty of these very same character flaws and more than likely I have hurt others in the very same way that I am hurting right now. If this is the case, then with every fiber of my being and from the very depths of my heart, I am sorry. I can’t imagine making anyone feel the way I am feeling right now and going on with my life as if I’d done nothing wrong.
As I move closer to the quickly approaching future, I am constantly bombarded with competition and dog-eat-dog ferocity I’ve never innately been able to exhibit. In my humble opinion, this kind of attitude requires detachment, coldness, and a lack of interest in the desires of others I am simply not comfortable with. We are social beings. We require interaction with others and relationships in order to succeed in this world, so I would never in a million years consider burning bridges in order to attain success. Perhaps this is because my idea of success is not measured by monetary gain, career attainment, or worldly acquisitions but rather on the quality of my relationships with others, the legacy I leave on those I come into contact with, and my true purpose in this world.
However, I have also learned that I cannot sit back and expect things to come to me. I must be proactive and work towards becoming a part of the plans the Lord so mercifully bestows upon His children. The balance between waiting patiently and exerting effort is so vague that I can’t ever really know if I am doing just enough, too much, or too little. But I guess that’s where faith comes in.
This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. [The Message]
As I laid on the couch, discouraged with the human race, my roommates were gracious enough to remind me of God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11. Now, writing this, I am content, almost completely so, in knowing that I will end up where I am supposed to be. Whether or not what I want and where I’m supposed to be align remains unknown. As I experience this extremely difficult season in my life, Loman has constantly reminded me of this. No matter where the Lord leads me, we will make it work and for this I am so incredibly grateful. The Lord knows the desires of our hearts and this provides comfort, peace, and solace beyond explanation. I refuse to sacrifice my testimony, my heart, and my relationships with others to further advance my own selfish desires in a world of self-interest and extreme egotism.
Following are differing translations of Jeremiah 29:11, all which proclaim the victory, peace, and promise which only come from loving and being loved by God:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. [NLT]
“For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. [Amplified Bible]
I will bless you with a future filled with hope–a future of success, not of suffering. [Contemporary English Version]
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I love how strong you are in being true to yourself, what’s right, and God.