]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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To The Nursing Major During The Hardest Week Of The Year

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

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To the Nursing Major During Finals Week,

I know you're tired, I know you're stressed, and I know you feel like you can't go on. I know that no part of this seems fair, and I know you are by far the biggest critic of yourself. I know that you've thought about giving up. I know that you feel alone. I know that you wonder why in the world you chose one of the hardest college majors, especially on the days it leaves you feeling empty and broken.

But, I also know that you love nursing school. I know your eyes light up when you're with patients, and I know your heart races when you think of graduation. I know that you love the people that you're in school with, like truly, we're-all-in-this-together, family type of love. I know that you look at the older nurses with admiration, just hoping and praying that you will remain that calm and composed one day. I know that every time someone asks what your college major is that you beam with pride as you tell them it's nursing, and I know that your heart skips a beat knowing that you are making a difference.

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that a failed class doesn't mean you aren't meant to do this. I know that a 'C' on a test that you studied so. dang. hard. for does not mean that you are not intelligent. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

I know that nursing school isn't fair. I know you wish it was easier. I know that some days you can't remember why it's worth it. I know you want to go out and have fun. I know that staying up until 1:00 A.M. doing paperwork, only to have to be up and at clinicals before the sun rises is not fair. I know that studying this much only to be failing the class is hard. I know you wish your friends and family understood. I know that this is difficult.

Nursing school isn't glamorous, with the white lab coat and stethoscope. Nursing school is crying, randomly and a lot. Nursing school is exhaustion. Nursing school is drinking so much coffee that you lose track. Nursing school is being so stressed that you can't eat. Nursing school is four cumulative finals jam-packed into one week that is enough to make you go insane.

But, nursing school is worth it. I know that when these assignments are turned in and finals are over, that you will find the motivation to keep going. I know that one good day of making a difference in a patient's life is worth a hundred bad days of nursing school.

Keep hanging in there, nursing majors. It'll all be worth it— this I know, for sure.

So, if you have a nursing major in your life, hug them and tell them that you're proud of them. Nursing school is tough, nursing school is scary, and nursing school is overwhelming; but a simple 'thank-you' from someone we love is all we need to keep going.

Sincerely,

A third-year nursing student who knows

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To The High School Graduating Seniors

I know you're ready, but be ready.

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Seniors,

I am not going to say anything about senioritis because I was ready to get out of there and I'm sure you are too; however, in your last months living at home you should take advantage of the luxuries you will not have in a college dorm. The part of college seen in movies is great, the rest of it is incredibly inconvenient. It is better to come to terms with this While you still have plenty of time to prepare and enjoy yourself.

Perhaps one of the most annoying examples is the shower. Enjoy your hot, barefoot showers now because soon enough you will have no water pressure and a drain clogged with other people's hair. Enjoy touching your feet to the floor in the shower and the bathroom because though it seems weird, it's a small thing taken away from you in college when you have to wear shoes everywhere.

Enjoy your last summer with your friends. After this summer, any free time you take is a sacrifice. For example, if you want to go home for the summer after your freshman year and be with your friends, you have to sacrifice an internship. If you sacrifice an internship, you risk falling behind on your resume, and so on. I'm not saying you can't do that, but it is not an easy choice anymore.

Get organized. If you're like me you probably got good grades in high school by relying on your own mind. You think I can remember what I have to do for tomorrow. In college, it is much more difficult to live by memory. There are classes that only meet once or twice a week and meeting and appointments in between that are impossible to mentally keep straight. If you do not yet have an organizational system that works for you, get one.

I do not mean to sound pessimistic about school. College is great and you will meet a lot of people and make a lot of memories that will stick with you for most of your life. I'm just saying be ready.

-A freshman drowning in work

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