Wednesday, September 30, 2015

When Plans Go Amuck Again and Again

Image courtesy of phasinphoto @ freedigitalphotos.net



We all have plans. Some might just be the day to day plans and other plans are huge. They are ones that we have dreamed about for years. 

So what happens when even our biggest plans and dreams go amuck? How do we handle messed up plans?  How does God want us to handle them?

If you are anything like me, you probably don't handle it very well but I am slowly learning to change that.

Can we do anything about plans that go wrong? 

Should we to do anything?

Or does God want us to trust that He has it all worked out despite the fact that all our plans and dreams have just disappeared?

To answer these questions I am looking into the life of Joseph from Genesis Chapter 37, 39-41 because if anyone had dreams he did. And if anyone had dreams go south, he did. Big time!   

When we are first introduced to Joseph, we are told that he is seventeen years old and he and his brothers are responsible for taking care of their father's sheep. He told his father about his older brother's bad behaviour. A very special robe had been given to Joseph by his father; indicative of his father's favour. 

Joseph told his brothers that he dreamed that his sheaf rose up and his brothers' sheaves bowed down to his sheaf. 

Genesis: 37: 9 NIV  ' "Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?" And they hated him all the more.'

Then he told his brothers and father about his second dream, that the sun, moon and eleven stars bowed down to him. 

In Genesis 37: 30 "....his father rebuked him and said, 'What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?' " 

Yes they actually did bow down to Joseph but that was many years later. 

Joseph had to experience great loss. He had to mature and become responsible. He had to grow in his faith and trust in God. He had to learn about forgiveness.


A Summary of Joseph's Messed Up Life:
  • His brothers hated him enough to want to kill him.
  • His oldest brother, Rueben, spared his life.
  • They stripped him of his robe.
  • Tossed him into an empty cistern.
  • He was sold for twenty shekels to the Ishmaelites and Midianite merchants.
  • He was taken to Egypt.
  • When Reuben returned to the cistern to rescue Joseph he was gone.
  • The brothers killed a goat and dipped Joseph's robe into the blood.
  • They took the bloody robe to their father and let him assume that Joseph had died.
  • The Midianites sold Joseph to Potiphar who was the captain of Pharaoh's guard.
  • Joseph was given responsibility for Potiphar's household and did his job well.
  • Potiphar's wife falsely accused Joseph of wanting to sleep with her.
  • Potiphar had Joseph put in prison.
  • In prison, Joseph again was given responsibilities.
  • Pharaoh's cup bearer and baker are put in prison.
  • Each have a dream which they tell to Joseph.
  • Joseph asked God to provide the interpretation of their dreams.
  • God does and within three days both dreams come true.
  • The cup bearer returns to his job and the baker is beheaded.
  • Joseph asked the cup bearer to remember him, as he was falsely accused and placed in prison.
  • Two years go by and Pharaoh has two dreams.
  • The cup bearer finally remembers that Joseph's God had given him the correct interpretation of his dream and the baker's dream. 
  • Joseph is called out of prison to clean up and to present himself to Pharaoh. 
  • Joseph explained to Pharaoh that God will give him the meaning of the dreams. 
  • Seven good years of growing and seven lean years (famine) was the interpretation.
  • Joseph also wisely instructs Pharaoh on how to store food from the good years for the years of famine. 
  • Pharaoh places Joseph in charge of the task to gather and keep the grain during the seven good years.
  • Joseph is in charge of Egypt
  • He is thirty years old when he began working for Pharaoh. 

Joseph had quite the life experiences before he became Pharoah's second in command. During the years of famine was the time that Joseph met up with his brothers again. Only, they didn't recognize him and of course they bowed down to him; just like he had dreamed. 

After all that he had been through, how could Joseph possibly forgive his brothers? Or the others who had wronged him? He forgave because he knew that everything that had happened had been an essential part of God's plan. Joseph had to be in Egypt so that he could save his family during the famine.

What does this tell you and me?  That even though plans may go amuck and dreams might too; God does have a plan and a reason for our life experiences. We can make the choice to grow closer to Him as a result of messy life and put our trust in Him. We can also make the choice to forgive. Like Joseph, we have to experience all the ups and downs of life in order to mature and to realize that God truly has a plan for our life and that He is in control. 

Have you experienced some messes in your life? How have you dealt with them? Have you drawn closer to God as a result? Feel free to leave a comment.

Other blog posts which might interest you are:

When plans go amuck

When everyone thinks you're crazy


Prayer about finding a church



Wednesday, September 16, 2015

When Plans Go Amuck


I had summer writing plans. They were huge!


 Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici @ freedigitalphotos.net

At least, they were big plans for me. I was actually going to finish writing a Young Adult Fantasy novel which I had started a few years ago. So, I shared this summer goal with my local writing friends so that I would be held accountable. I really had planned to follow through except....


I spent my first two weeks of summer being sick. So dizzy with vertigo that my eyes had to be closed more than they were open and instead of sitting or standing I had to be in a horizontal position much of the time. When I could keep my eyes open reading or staring at a screen made me queasy. 


 So I did some thinking about my plot and my characters...and bemoaned the fact that I couldn’t write or jot these thoughts down but hoped that I would remember. 


 Then I got better and life was good. I could sit up. I could stare at a screen and I could write. So write I did until....


I kept getting stuck. I would get my main characters into a predicament and then what? How was I ever going to get them out of that mess? 


 Problem solved and then I’d get stuck again. This time it wasn’t a particular plotting problem it was the demise of the blank screen, writer’s block. 


 What was my solution?


I did lots of reading. Reading about writing blog posts, writing books, how to expand your audience, how to write an ebook. I even spent time reading some fantastic historical romances which I had downloaded as ebooks from the library. 


I also just began writing. Nothing in particular. Sometimes journaling about my day; the kind of writing that is referred to as “freewriting.” The stuff that is pretty rough but may hold one or two gems. From this I culled some ideas for my YA novel, and for blog posts, as well as for another book I am thinking about.


Meanwhile, July rolled into August and I my first draft was only a little over half way complete. 


What happened next? 


 Insomnia.

 I kid you not. The first three weeks of August, I was struck with insomnia and I would have days when I couldn’t sleep and then one night when I would finally fall asleep. Without proper sleep I felt horrible and I couldn’t think clearly enough to string together a coherent sentence let alone a plot.  


There was definitely something going on and my personal, writing deadline was fading quickly as was my accountability. 


Self-doubt and fear waltzed through my mind. 


In my heart, God murmured, “I want you to write this book but first, you need to write about obedience. Then you will be able to write a bit more for the  book.”


So I did. The previous blog post, when everyone thinks you're crazy is what I wrote about obedience. Since writing that post, my YA Fantasy plot has started rolling again....slowly. 

Your turn. Have you had some of your plans go amuck? Please share in the comment section below and what did you do when things didn't go as planned?