When Planning Becomes an Idol
“Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn, yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” - Luke 12:22-26
Have you ever heard the mantra “A failure to plan is a plan to fail”?
While it’s a quote I love, it’s easy for me to use it as inspiration to manipulate situations, cling to control and counteract the fear of unknown outcomes that I don’t turn over to give God. How often do we use planning as an idol rather than a helpful tool? To combat the emotions and insecurities tied to our struggle with control, we plan. We make reservations a week in advance, so we don’t end up driving around, reeling from the overwhelm of choice (and hunger) on date night. When we’re frustrated with our current housing situations, we start looking at houses six months before our leases are up. We plan out weeks worth of workouts, meals, and after work activities and feel glorified. Again, plans aren’t bad with the right perspective or balance. However, they become sinful, like most things we over-consume, when we make them our salvation or religion.
As Christians, we have to realize that the only stable, consistent truth we can cling to without it slipping through our grips is God’s love for us. As Lysa TerKeurst once said in a podcast interview, “My job is to be obedient to God. God’s job is everything else.” The Lord calls us to turn over our burdens, hand over the things that we grasp onto to feel control, and depend on Him for our feelings of security, not the plans we create for ourselves. Because if we don’t, when plans shift at the last minute or life happens, we end up with the same feelings we tried to outsmart: insecurity.