Respire

Planning It Out

“You are more of a careful planner than a natural improviser.  Agree/Disagree?”

Me: “…Agree…I think…?”

I decided to take an online Myers-Briggs test a couple weeks ago. To be honest I’ve done these tests multiple times before, but I wanted to do one again just to see if anything changed. Turns out it was the same: ENFJ.

In case that doesn’t make sense, ENFJ means that I have tendencies to be

    • More “Extroverted” rather than an “Introverted”
    • More “Intuitive” than I am “Sensing”
    • More prone to “Feeling” rather than “Thinking”
    • and more prone to “Judging” rather than “Perceiving” their situations (kind of confirms that I’m more of a planner than an improviser)

They’re not very strong tendencies. One of the earlier personality tests I took told me how much I leaned towards these attributes and it said I tend to show these traits only the slightest more than their counterparts (it said I had marginal or no preference of Feeling over Thinking…heh). Though this time around, it did make me wonder if the things I do in my life show any consistency. Am I this way or that way, and in either case, do the actions I make in my life reflect that? The question above really tug at me recently: can I say for sure that I am more of a careful planner than a natural improviser?

Making the Decision

I’ve been in the process of making a pretty big life decision lately, a decision to accomplish some goals of mine that I cannot be certain of what the outcome will be. I don’t want to say too much publicly as to what they are yet, although of course through my time thinking about it and getting opinions of those closer to me, I have shared to some what they are. [I usually try to keep my goals on the DL—especially for ones I really want to make happen—after reading about a study a while ago that people who talked about their goals/intentions became less likely to make them happen.]

It’s been something I’ve been thinking about doing since the beginning of this year, but I didn’t pull the trigger on it until now because I wanted to go into it with as clear a conscience as I can, supplemented with as much prayer as I can pray and as much counsel as I can get. One of the main reasons was that it would call for me to drop full time work for a a couple months, meaning I’d have no income for a while and no sure way back to a steady income again afterwards. So basically, I wanted a clear path. I wanted to know that I was making the “right” decision, and that it wouldn’t result in me regretting it later. But after a lot of reflection and input from friends, parents, and from some of my church Pastors (all of whose opinions I am immensely grateful for), I realized that there’s just things I’ll never know for sure, and God doesn’t expect me to.

What is God’s Will?

One of the biggest, most life changing messages I’ve ever received was during a retreat hosted by my Christian fellowship back in college. The retreat was centered around the theme “Stuff Christians Say”, and one of the messages had to do with God’s will, and how Christians tend to always ask what God’s will is for their lives. But what are we expecting? What is this will we so desperately want to know?

The thing is, God’s will can be split into two categories, God’s Desired Will, and God’s Sovereign Will. God’s Desired Will is what is revealed in the Bible in what he wants for humanity and for ourselves (1 Thessalonians 4:3a; Colossians 1:9). God’s Sovereign Will is what will definitely come to pass, and no one can go against it (Ephesians 1:11; Romans 1:10). For most of us, we want to know what God desires for us to do. We want to make sure what we do is not against His will, which is not wrong. But when we ask things like “God, is this your desire for me to have this job?” or “Is it your desire for me to marry this person?”, what we’re really asking is to know God’s Sovereign Will. What God desires for us is to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33-34). He’s revealed this part of his will in the Bible, and it’s the only part where we have free agency over. We can choose to seek Him, or not to seek Him. We can choose to follow His righteousness, or not to.

But we’re not called to understand God’s sovereignty over our lives and how he exercises that sovereignty. We should not aim to know God’s Sovereign Will: God does not expect us to figure it all out before following him. For us, the canvas is not complete, but for God it is already done. As long as we desire for God’s Desired Will—as we pursue to be more and more like Christ—we will inevitably hit His Sovereign Will.

Conclusion

Planning is a good thing. It is a mark of a person who attempts to be wise with his/her actions, and chooses to think purposefully and diligently about them, before they carry those actions out (Proverbs 21:5). When we plan, we evaluate the circumstance and the necessary steps to get to a goal before we move onto a decision of commitment. Jesus used imagery of this process of evaluation to commitment when preaching on the cost of discipleship (Luke 14:28-31). This form of planning comes into play for many if not all Christians that have come to know Him. We evaluate what we know, weigh the cost, and come out understanding that above all, Christ is better. Christ is worth it. But not all decisions in life are as decisive as choosing eternal life over death. For some big decisions we may ask the right questions, evaluate which decision best glorifies God, ultimately weighing the pros and cons and coming out from it seeing that the scale stays perpetually balanced. From there, just do something. For if we are passionately pursing Christ and his holiness, that’s all that matters.

So am I more of a planner than an improviser? I still think so. But I’ve come to recognize that I don’t always have to plan everything out, as long as I am actively pursing Christ. Sometimes, the details are better left in His hands.

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