Whenever I hear how God has a plan for me, I always think, “Excellent! I can’t wait to find out what it is!” Like any time now a Fed-Ex guy will knock on my door with an overnight delivery envelope.
“Looks like God’s plan for you has arrived!” he’ll say. “Sign here.”
Lately I’ve been rethinking the whole idea of God having a “plan” for me. Because if there really is a plan for me, then that means that ultimately God intends me to be somewhere other than where I am right now, to do something other than what I’m doing right now, to maybe be someone other than who I am, right now.
Something about that feels a little counterintuitive. And it makes me wonder if instead of being essentially subject to a “plan” God has for me, I’m not, exactly as I am right now, being the “plan” God has for me. I think maybe I’m already living the exact “plan” that God has had for me since the beginning of time. Not that I’m perfect, or have arrived at some lofty height just south of heaven, or anything like that. No, because that kind of paradigm — that “I’m moving from this lower point to that higher point”– is, I think, a view of God’s relationship to us that’s entirely too simple, linear, essentially evaluative in nature. I think it’s too … human a way of looking at how God looks at us.
If there’s one thing we know about God, it’s that he’s all about process. All any of us can ever be is a work in progress. It’s not like we ever complete our relationship with God. None of us ever reaches a point where we go, “Ah, good. I’ve now attained complete spiritual and intellectual understanding of God, and of all his glory! Great! Well, I’m off to the store! Big sale on watermelons!”No. God ever unfolds before us. From wherever we are we keep falling, and he keeps catching us, and putting us back in place. That’s the relationship. That’s the model.
That’s the plan.
That’s always the plan.
There is no other plan.
I do think God has a plan for me. I think maybe God’s always had a plan for me. I think maybe that plan was for me to be born, to live exactly as I have, and to be, right now, exactly the imperfect, questioning, arrogant, willful, stubborn person that I am. Something about me being just who I am right now must work for God, or he’d have arranged it so that I had somehow ended up being different than I am.
It’s a scary thought, in that it’s awfully close to really arrogant, and dangerously satisfied. But that’s not what it’s about. Instead, it’s about saying, “Okay, if God loves me, then he loves all of me, right now. So maybe I can just relax. Maybe who I’m supposed to be, and how I’m supposed to be, and where in this life I’m supposed to end up, is all up to God. Maybe all I’m supposed to do is just be alive. Maybe simply existing-maybe simply living every moment of my life exactly as I have up to this moment-is God’s “plan” for me. Maybe that’s always been God’s plan for me.”
Maybe the whole of my life has been the fulfillment of a plan God’s always had for … well, me.
Maybe God’s entire plan for me is nothing more complex or demanding than my finally understanding that God really and truly loves me, just as I am today.