3 Tips to Navigating When God Re-Directs Your Plans

Discover practical insights for navigating life’s unexpected twists by understanding His bigger picture when plans go awry.

Have your plans been upset lately?

Your family time at Christmas did not turn out as you hoped.
The pregnancy test showed up negative again.
Your child did not get into her first-choice college.
The guy you thought might be “the one” unexpectedly broke up with you.
You got turned down for the job.
(add yours to this list)

Regardless of our age, our plans are often upset. In our disappointment, we can feel rejected, discouraged, misunderstood, and even forgotten by God.

So what do we do?

Remember Mary

Can you imagine how this young teenager who was looking forward to marrying the man of her dreams felt when she was blindsided by a pregnancy? How would Joseph respond? Her parents? The people of her village? What would happen to her?

Pause here and imagine how Mary must have felt.

In her troubled state–the angel proclaimed to her,

“The Lord is with you.” Luke 1:28.

When our plans are interrupted, the first thing we must remember is, God is with me. Jesus was named “Immanuel,” which means God with us. Moses tells us, “The Lord your God goes with you, he will never leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5).

When I am disappointed, let down, or confused by my situation, I often say, “Jesus, you will never leave me. You’ve got this. You’ve got me. You are holding me tightly.”

Realize that something bigger might be going on

I imagine that Mary and Joseph did not fully realize that their personal situation was part of a greater, larger plan–the pivotal point in the history of mankind. They could not have imagined this. When my plans are interrupted, I often fail to contemplate the fact that God is about something much more significant than my current angst. He is so much bigger than I realize, and He is still in charge. God is good. He is not caught off guard by “this.” My interruption could be part of His larger plan in ways that I cannot understand right now. In His time, He will use this for good. (Romans 8:28).

It’s helpful to pray, “Father, I am disappointed and sad. You alone really understand me. (Psalm 147:5). I ask you to give me a larger perspective that I might believe you are about something bigger than this situation. Please make me open to see the other things you might be doing. Show me new things that I do not know. (Jeremiah 33:3).

Recall times from the past

Is there a time when your plans were interrupted?

When I was young, I was very ambitious. I majored in Political Science with dreams of going to law school, perhaps running for Congress or even vice president. In those days, women were not encouraged to do this! I liked boys, but I didn’t really have plans for a big family. I did not like to babysit. And I thought church was boring.

God, however, has a sense of humor, and He had a different plan. Gently and slowly, He redirected my life, and I ended up married to a pastor. We have five kids and 21 grandchildren.

When I look back, I am so thankful for His re-directing. The apostle Paul puts it this way, “For it is God who is at work within you both to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.” (Philippians 2: 13).

In His Word

Contemplate Paul’s words to his friends in Philippi:

 “For I am confident of this that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)    

Ask: How might a current upset (interruption) in my life or in the life of a loved one be part of a re-direction in my life? Pray: Help me, Lord to believe that you are good and to watch for your re-directing and your blessings to come from “this.”

In Your Life

Looking back in your life, where have you seen God interrupt your plans?

A fun conversation with friends: Share with one another where you experienced God’s faithfulness in the first 20 years of your life, the second 20 years, and so on.  When we do this, our faith will grow, and our perspective on our current situation will be enlarged.

We Recommend

You’ll truly appreciate Susan’s books Risky Faith and the One Devotional. In an earlier blog for Club31, she shares about a terrifying interruption in her family’s life. Click here.

Sign up to receive her blogs here.

Let’s Connect

Sign up here to receive Susan’s biweekly blog and a beautiful one-word graphic each week which has one character trait of God to focus on, one verse, and one thought for your week. She also shares encouragement on Instagram.