Perspective, Trusting God, Writing

Direction: 3 Things to Remember When God Changes Our Plans

Meme with rocks that are slanting downward and the word, "Slant"

@JeanneTakenaka

In May, I participated in a twelve-day Instagram writer’s challenge. It was both stretching and fun. We were given a different word each day and created posts about those words relating to our writer’s life. 

As I contemplated each word, I discovered correlations between writing life and real-life. I’ve expanded on the original posts, and I’d love to read your thoughts on these words as they relate to your life as well.

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Have you ever thought you knew where your path was leading, only to have it slant in another direction? 

If I had to guess, most of us have experienced occasions in our lives where we thought we knew the plan, only to have it change in some way.

I thought I’d procure a teaching position straight out of college, only to work in other jobs for two years before God led me to the job He’d intended for me. 

I thought Hubs and I would begin having children before I turned thirty . . . and our first child came along when I was nearly thirty-six. 

Photo of large rocks slanting downward near a highway


I thought I had a good understanding of how to raise children well . . . only to be confronted with my own failure and weakness time and again.

I thought I’d have a publishing contract within two years after beginning my writing journey. I worked hard with the information I knew, and nine years later, I’m still working toward my first published book.

Photo of a wooden path which Y's off into two directions

In all the important things in my life, I started on the journey with a clear goal in mind. I worked toward an expected outcome . . . only to find my journey angling in a direction I never anticipated. 

What I’ve discovered in each of these situations is that God knew the path He had for me, and in each situation, His plan was different from mine.

Photo fo a path with yellow-leafed trees overhanging it

We never get from point A to point Z without being changed along the path.If we trust God to lead us, He refines our character and conforms us to the image of His Son. Stretching, agonizing, chafing (at least, if you’re me), striving, changing, and accepting are usually a part of the journey.

Meme with Psalm 119:105—"Your word s a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."

God knows the plans He has for each of us. I fall into the trap of thinking that, because the first step is leading in a certain direction, I can set my plans to continue in that direction. But, the Lord only shows us a few steps at a time, because He wants us to look to Him, to trust Him for each next-step along the journey.

When we trust His leading—even when we don’t understand the Why’s—we will grow in depth as His children. We learn lessons and gain wisdom to take with us and use on our journeys. 

Meme on a backdrop of a large rock. Words say: "Thought slanted paths take me by surprise, I'm discovering God has lovingly orchestrated each new direction."

Though these slanted paths take me by surprise, I’m discovering God has lovingly orchestrated each new direction.

Our Father knows the character He desires to develop in us. God uses situations in our lives that will draw us closer to Him and enable us to reflect Him the most clearly to those around us.  

Photo of large rocks slanting downward in the desert

God knows the perfect timing for our journeys. He knew that giving Hubs and me children when I was thirty wasn’t the best thing for us. I still don’t understand the Why’s, but He brought two boys into our lives when He knew it was best. 

He knows why I haven’t moved further in my writing journey yet. Though I don’t understand the Why’s of that, I can trust Him to bring things to fruition in His timing. 

Unlike us humans, God sees from the moment of our birth to our last breath on earth. He’s not constrained by the boundary of time the way we are. And He knows what’s best for us.

Photo of a rock-paved path

When, from my vantage point, my path seems to slant into the ditch, perhaps this was the straight-line path God envisioned for me all along?

What about you? When have you felt like God slanted your path in a different direction? How do you navigate the slants God arranges in your path?

Click to Tweet: If we trust God to lead us, He refines our character and conforms us to the image of His Son.

I’m linking up with #TellHisStory and #RaRaLinkup

21 thoughts on “Direction: 3 Things to Remember When God Changes Our Plans”

  1. Surely, God, You did not mean
    for this to be my path?
    The way ahead is dark, unseen;
    did I incur Your wrath?
    I’m at the end of quite a day;
    tomorrow will be worse,
    and in the pain there’s hell to pay,
    a special kind of curse.
    But no, I think this was designed
    to fill a purpose I can’t fathom
    except that I’m to be refined
    like the second, final Adam.
    By the light of holy mystery
    I’ll complete my walk to Calvary.

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  2. Jeanne,
    Sometimes I feel like my whole life has been on big “slant”!! I would have never predicted the twists and turns my life has taken, but when I look back, I can begin to see what God was up to. I think we tend to think in terms of destinations, when what God is concerned about is building our character and molding us into Christ’s image. His goals are different from my goals. Great post!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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    1. Bev, there are times when I feel like my life has been on a big slant too. 🙂 I’m so thankful that, even though I can’t see beyond the moment, our loving Father sees every moment, and He’s working in and through each of them. And Yes, God is concerned about building our character and molding us into Jesus’ image. So thankful for you and your wisdom!

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  3. I think most of us have had times where we have had an idea of how we want things to turn out only to find that God’s plans or timing are very different. It is encouraging when we can look back and see some of what he was doing and how he has been teaching us and growing us along the way. It definitely helps to increase our faith for the thing that are not going as we hope in the present.

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    1. Lesley, I think you’re right. I wonder if it’s human nature to have an idea of how we want things to go and planning (and if you’re like me) clinging tightly to the plan, even when God re-directs us. And yes, sometimes we can only truly see what He was doing in the slanting seasons when we look back with a more complete picture between past and present. I so appreciate your words, friend!

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  4. Oh yes, Jeanne. God knows the way that will “draw us closer to Him and enable us to reflect Him the most clearly to those around us.” In hindsight, we can see more clearly why God allowed all the struggles that were so hard and the dreams to fall by the wayside. I remember many years ago asking God to conform me more to His image. Then for a while there was a time that I was afraid to pray it as I thought, “Not like this, Lord!” But God truly does knows how best to refine us doesn’t He? Thank you for these encouraging insights that gave me pause to reflect! Love and blessings to you!

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  5. Hey Jeanne, I thought I’d already commented on this post. Maybe not. I relate to your sentiments here. I think part of the Christian journey in our individual lives and paths is learning to trust the Lord’s direction and plan. It’s true, even when we don’t understand the whys, God’s still leading and working behind the scenes for our good and His purpose. I’ve learned His timing really is perfect because when I try to run ahead of God, it rarely turns out as blessed as it might have been if I had waited. Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. Hey Karen, I’ve had some odd things going on with WordPress recently. I’m sorry for any issues. I find comfort in the truth that nothing that comes into our lives is a surprise to God, and that He’s leading, even when we can’t necessarily see what’s going on behind the scenes. I try to run ahead of Him too sometimes. 🙂 I can be a slow learner. Have a wonderful weekend!

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  6. Hi Jeanne … One good thing about getting older is that we get to look back and see God’s faithfulness and wisdom in the midst of seemingly out of control occurrences and weird timelines.

    More than ever I’m leaning into Him and finding Him strong and loving.

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    1. So true, Linda. it’s almost like we can use those remembrances of God’s faithfulness as altars to help us remember when times are difficult. I imagine you’re leaning on Him a lot right now. I’m saying prayers for you and your family today.

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  7. The “whys” can get me into trouble. I have things in my life that haven’t gone according to my timeline. The good part is that God always has the best plan and timing. God also knows what He is doing which is good for me. I’m loving this series and how you are going deeper into your writer’s challenge.

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    1. Agreed, Mary. God always has the best ways and timeline. He’s reminded me of this so many times. I’m so glad I can rest in the truth that He always does what’s best for me because He loves me/us. 🙂

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  8. Hi, Jeanne. I’ve certainly seen many of those unexpected changes, too, but your thoughts from Scripture are right on, and as one of your readers commented, as we get older we can look back and see how much better God’s path was for us!!

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    1. Kathy, I couldn’t agree with you more! In the moment, the paths God puts us on seem hard. But when we have the advantage of looking back, so often we can see His hand in all of it, and the ways He was working. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  9. God has definitely taken my life and my plans on a different journey. I’ve learned that it’s better to go with the flow and follow God’s lead. As you said he only gives us one piece at a time. We just have to remember that not matter what our plans our God has his pwn way of doing things. Excellent post!

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    1. EJ, I completely agree. 🙂 It’s always better to go on the paths God leads us on rather than trying to forge our own path. I’m so thankful God is intentional in the ways and wheres of His leading. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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