But who art thou that judgest thy neighbour? Behold, now you that say: To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and there we will spend a year, and will traffic, and make our gain. Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is a vapour which appeareth for a little while, and afterwards shall vanish away. For that you should say: If the Lord will, and if we shall live, we will do this or that. But now you rejoice in your arrogancies. All such rejoicing is wicked.
JAMES 4:13-16 DOUAY-RHEIMS
I have a friend who makes plans that are always changing. Now, I don't want to subject my friend to ridicule because I do the same thing she does. The only difference is that I keep my plans a secret while she shares her plans openly. Naturally, when those plans don't happen, she looks foolish. Now, I would not advise people to not make plans since I don't think you can make progress without planning. I would advise keeping those plans to yourself and exercising a little humility in regards to those plans. As someone who has made many plans in life, I can tell you that my life is nowhere near where I thought it would be.
There is a certain arrogance in the Plan. I put a capital P on it to designate it in your mind because you have heard it many times. You have to have goals and ambitions in life. You need to FOCUS and DREAM and ACHIEVE. This is all motivational poster stuff, and all of it is a bunch of crap.
What makes the motivational poster stuff a bunch of crap is the fundamental arrogance of this dream it and achieve it mentality. None of us is promised tomorrow. Everything we have and do is on loan from God and is always subject to His will. As Woody Allen so famously put it, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans." Everything you will ever have or ever do is only because God allowed it.
People who boldly declare their plans have drank too deeply from the Kool-Aid pitcher of Friedrich Nietzsche and his concept of the will to power. This philosophy of the self created and the self actualized individual is a nice myth, but it is a delusion. This is why God laughs when you tell Him your plans. When you make plans in absence of humility, you are telling God that you are God. This can only end in two ways. You will either continue in this delusion to be humiliated later, or you will experience humiliation immediately. The best advice I can give you on this is to not do this. Follow the advice of James's epistle and remain humble. Always preface your plans with the statement, "If the Lord wills it, and if we live."
Humility in your plans is the best way to go for two main reasons. The first is that it saves you from disgrace when those plans don't happen as planned. The second is that it leaves you open to God's plans for you which are always better than anything you can plan for yourself. We should always seek what He has for us instead of us telling Him what we are going to seek for ourselves. Plus, the bonus of following God's plans for you is that they always succeed.
It would be nice to know all the details of what God has planned for us, but God lets us know exactly what we need to know when we need to know it. If the bold planner exhibits arrogance, the anxious planner exhibits a lack of faith. God must be out to lunch, so we have to do His work for Him to avoid disaster. Both arrogance and anxiety are foolish. God is God, and you are not God. God knows His business.
Be humble in your plans knowing that your life really is just a vapor. Trust in God's plan and providence instead. Seek His will daily and accept whatever comes with the grace that God gives you. Learn obedience in your sufferings and doubts and be thankful in your successes. This humility in all things pleases God. Place a simple trust in Him and then make your plans with Him always in mind. Things will go better for you, and you will look less foolish.