“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
Once while walking through our neighborhood we encountered a man leaning against a shovel in his front yard. He appeared exhausted. As we passed by he stopped us to solicit our advice. Seems he was planting rose bushes in a large flower bed, several of them already perfectly spaced out – until while digging a hole he encountered a huge immovable rock. Which is why he stopped us, to see if we had any ideas about what to do with this rock that was getting in the way of his otherwise perfectly laid out plan.
How many times has that happened to you, you come up with what you think is a perfect plan only to unexpectedly encounter a big immovable rock? That’s when you begin to understand the punch line of the old joke, if you want to make God laugh make plans.
Does that mean we should not make plans? Absolutely not! The great general and former President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” In other words, plans hardly ever work out exactly according to plan. There’s usually some unexpected immovable rock we will encounter. But planning is critical so that we know where we are headed and what we are trying to accomplish.
Every recent college graduate, indeed anyone seeking or starting a new career should read Daniel Pink’s little book, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko; for as the subtitle suggests it is, The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need. Cleverly presented in comic-book style this little story teaches six essential principles necessary for anyone seeking fulfillment in life and work: first being (1) “there is no plan”, at least not as we try to lay out plans. But Johnny Bunko learns from the other five principles that (2) we are each given strengths we should focus on rather than weaknesses; (3) life is not about us but what we do for others; (4) persistence trumps talent; (5) make excellent mistakes; and (6) leave an imprint. And actually that is the plan, that living by these principles will bring fulfillment in our life and work. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. That’s God’s plan too. . . And by the way, our neighbor’s roses are flourishing.