I’m a planner. Not in the sense that I must control every minute of every day but I do like to have some idea of how I will spend my time. I drive my wife crazy at times when I ask, “What are we doing this weekend?” on the Monday prior. I can’t help it though. I like to have something to look forward to.
Planning out how I’ll spend my free time is usually pretty harmless but the problem with planning too much is that it sometimes causes delay. In my spiritual life, there have been many occasions where I felt God was leading me in a particular direction and I didn’t act. It’s not that I would purposely disobey Him or walk into a sinful situation willfully. I wouldn’t act because I was too busy planning, picking apart every scenario and outcome, weighing all the pros and cons. And many times if I had acted immediately I would have been better off. In hindsight, it’s always easier to see that isn’t it? In hindsight, it’s much easier to criticize myself for not having the faith needed to trust God.
I was convicted of this when I was reading Hebrews chapter 11 recently and remembered the amazing faith of people like Noah and Abraham and Moses who were able to trust God enough to act on his commands even when they were unsure of the outcome. They didn’t have all the answers when they committed to obey God. They had faith, knowing that God’s provision was enough. And it was. Just open up the Bible and read their stories. God always came through for them, and today he always comes through for us. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
I can see that now. I see how my planning can sometimes cause delay and how delay can become disobedience. I can see times when God needed me to act and I didn’t and the truth is, it was a lack of faith. It was me trying to cover all the bases, to play it safe, to plan for every outcome. I knew the right thing to do and failed to do it and in God’s eyes that is sin (James 4:17).
All this is to say, it’s not bad to plan. It’s not wrong to be aware of what lies ahead. But if it causes delay or causes me to miss out on opportunities to help others or go in the direction that God is leading, then it has become disobedience.