How to Decide Between Competing Plans

How to Decide Between Competing Plans

1800 1800 Rachel Rose Nelson


Pearl of Wisdom:

“Many are the plans in a human heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Proverbs 19:21


ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS ABOUT NOT BEING GOD has to be that we never really know what the future brings.

We hope and plan and worry and plan some more.

We can’t know the future. And in the space and anxiety created by not knowing, we create plans. Many plans. Plans for if our plans succeed and plans for if our plans may fail. We create plans based on what seems likely and plans based on what we really wish would happen but probably won’t.

In contrast, God does know the future. He has but one plan and one purpose. And as today’s proverb teaches, that purpose is what prevails.

The good news is, if you want to know His plan, just ask. God loves to answer.

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He may not answer in the way you expect. And He may only reveal enough to set you on the right path, with just enough light for you to find the next step. But that is because God delights in our continually seeking Him, and also in revealing the answers to us.

In fact, a beautiful section from The Book of Jeremiah assures us of this.

“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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

(Verses 11-13)



Insight to Action

When I feel tossed to and fro, lost in the many plans I have brewing in my heart, I have learned to pray to God, asking Him to give me a clear vision. Then I stop and listen expectantly for His answer. It may come right away, or sometimes it takes days or weeks for the answer to be fully revealed. Here are four ways God lets me in on His purpose:

When I pray

…to receive clarity, sometimes God answers right away by providing just that.

When I read

…the Bible it is sometimes amazing how an answer to my prayer seems to jump right out. I think this is the Holy Spirit at work, using Scripture to speak into my heart.

When I talk

…to other Christians sometimes they speak to the exact topic I have recently prayed about – almost as if God has used them, oftentimes without their knowing, to answer my prayers.

When I reflect

…on my life choices, circumstances, and situations I can sometimes detect where I have gone astray because I have been set on my own plans, rather than waiting for God to reveal His.


And when I combine all four of these approaches, it is almost as though a light comes on, and where there once was confusion, suddenly a single path is lit. Not the whole path, but enough to let me know His purpose for my life for that day. And I’ve learned that’s really all I need.

Now I’d love to hear from you. Do you ever suffer from planning overload? How do you deal with it? Do you seek God for answers? If so, does He reply? Share your experiences with a comment below.
P.S. Are you sometimes at a loss for words when you pray? If so, try subscribing to Pearls of Wisdom using the sign-up form to the right. You will receive an email each day with a verse from The Book of Proverbs, along with a responsive prayer you can use to kickstart your own conversations with God.



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