]Plan Your Next Steps With Proverbs 16

Put Down Your Overpacked Planner And Plan Your Next Steps With Proverbs 16

Who needs a plan for everything when the greatest planner of all has your future in His hands?

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One of my favorite movies of all time is "You've Got Mail." In this '90s romantic comedy, Meg Ryan plays the owner of a small children's bookshop. I have always felt such a strong connection to her character as she carried her love of books and storytelling with her everywhere she went, inspiring those she met both inside and outside of the shop.

It's a cute story, sure, but what always gets me is the moment when *spoiler alert* the main character, Kathleen Kelly, makes the decision to close her failing shop and part ways with her long-time boyfriend without any plans for her next steps towards a career or relationship.

I am an obsessive planner, and Kathleen's lack of structure for her future life stresses me out each and every time I watch the movie. One phrase in particular always gets me: "there is the dream of someone else." If you ask me, I would say this children's book enthusiast has spent far too much time in the pages of magical lands where unicorns and charming knights run wild. How can she take such a risk with her career and relationship by simply "dreaming" something better will come along? Where is her plan?!

Then came the realization, one I likely should have come to after my first ten times watching the movie, that Kathleen's fearlessness of the future is the same exact attitude I should carry with me throughout every season of life because I have assurance from God that every step I take is one step closer to His perfect plan for me. My plan may seem appropriate and attainable, but there is no guarantee it will unfold in the long run.

I was recently reminded of this truth when a devotional led me back to a well-loved and heavily marked passage of scripture in my Bible, Proverbs 16. Verse three, specifically, caused me to do a double-take on how I was moving forward in life.

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans."
- Proverbs 16:3

Growing up in church, I have heard these words on numerous occasions. This verse always seemed like a promise that as long as I followed God, He would give me whatever I wanted. If only I knew how inaccurate that interpretation was.

God is not promising me the granting of every wish I could ever make. Instead, He is saying He will do what is best for me if I keep my focus on Him. The more I focus on God, the clearer my appropriate plans will become. These plans may temporarily disappoint me or confuse me, but they are the right course set by the One who can see the entire picture, rather than the part of the picture I can see no further past.

So where does this leave me now? Are my current plans the right ones? The answer is simple: I do not know, but the One who "establishes [my] steps" does.

"In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the Lord establishes their steps."
- Proverbs 16:9

In the meantime, as I wait for these beautiful plans to unfold, there is much to be done. It is time to stop dreaming of how God will use me in the future, and start doing what He needs me to do now.

As I have recently discovered, God does not always use you in the ways you originally anticipate. Although you may be active in a ministry, spending the majority of your time working for the Lord, some of the greatest opportunities to witness to others tend to surprise us in places outside the church (think of the grocery store, a classroom, the water fountain in the hallway outside your dorm room.) As long as your eyes are on accomplishing God's goals, nowhere is too out-of-the-way for you to serve.

"All a person's ways seem pure to them,
but motives are weighed by the Lord."
- Proverbs 16:2

Now, don't throw out your planners and calendars. The last thing anyone wants is you to miss that meeting you scheduled three months ago. Instead, quit stressing over the bigger picture and let God guide you through the unclear waters. Focus on the Lord and the rest will fall into place.

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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Summer And Jobs

Working summers doesn't have to be tedious.

Aasayed
Aasayed
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Like many other college students, I was ready for summer but was kinda bummed that I had to work. Its not that I didn't like where I was working, I actually was really lucky to be working in a hospital environment but I just hated being alone all summer from 9-5. I've had this job for a few years now and a few other paid interns came and went but I never really connected with any of them. This year is different though.

I got really lucky to have another intern work with me that was very similar to me. The tasks we got were always simple but they were made to be more fun because I got to do them while talking with someone else. Now I actually enjoy and look forward to going to work.

The key to finding a good job is finding one that you enjoy doing and one that will help you gain knowledge that will help you out with future career plans. Working with friends also make tasks enjoyable! I would be careful with working with your friend however because if your job needs you to be serious and focused, being around your best friends may distract you from that.

Another thing that definitely makes summer jobs more enjoyable are taking breaks! It is your summer vacation after all! I'm not saying don't take a day off just to sit around, but if you make plans with family and friends, take a Friday off and enjoy the warm weather and good company! Employers understand that us college students and on break and have lives, they are usually very lenient with days off!

If you have to do a summer job to make money to live off of or pay for college, the best thing to do is look at the big picture. If you don't enjoy your job but can't afford to quit, remember that the money if going to help you out a lot. Also, this job is probably only for the summer right? So it's not permanent my friend! Get through these annoying few weeks and you will be back at college, taking steps for a bigger and brighter future.

Summer jobs are tough, I know, but make the most of it! And don't forget to enjoy it whenever you can!!!

Aasayed
Aasayed

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