“Are you going to be an author who speaks or a speaker who writes?”
Someone asked me that question the other day and the truth is, I’m not sure.
These have been three of the weirdest years of my life and people keep asking me things like that.
And right now, I feel like everyone on the planet has a plan for their life except me. Have you ever felt that way?
I look at other Christians and, in my head, I imagine that they’ve got a perfect ten-year plan. They’ve got some well defined vision and know exactly what they’re going to work on for the next year. They’ve got emotional, financial, spiritual and physical goals and are simply checking them off one by one as they march confidently into the land of awesome. They all know what they want to be when they grow up, and they are currently doing exactly that.
Me? I can’t seem to get my hands around a plan. I want to. I’ve got a few steps laid out, but they are floaty and soft and not at all structured with the level of detail the guy in the show Prison Break had. He had tattoos that outlined his plan perfectly. Me? I’m like the guy in Memento, scrawling messages in sharpie like “Write a new book. Be a better dad. Make sure your wife knows you love her. Work on your core.”
Now clearly the core’s not an issue. I do a lot of medicine ball exercises and push this weighted sled at the gym that I’m almost positive Satan himself handcrafted in the bowels of hell, but what about my plan?
Don’t I need a plan for my life? A perfectly structured, flawlessly executed plan?
That’s where I’m at, right this second, which is why I was caught off guard recently by the story of the prodigal son.
I’ve read that story a thousand times. I’ve blogged about it dozens of times. I wrote a draft of a book about it, but despite all of that, I saw something new in it last week. Here’s what I bumped into:
The prodigal son had to trade in his plan to get the party.
After wasting his inheritance and essentially telling his father he wished he was dead, he came home to the farm. And he did not return empty handed. He was carrying his plan. He crafted it carefully when he “came to his senses.” He filled his hands and his heart and his mouth with that plan.
On the road, his father ran to him. The son tried to pay his way back onto the farm with his plan. He thought that was the price of admission. The plan was what would bring him back to life. He was wrong.
His father met him and wouldn’t even let him say the entire plan out loud. The son didn’t even get to outline the whole plan. His father, God, cut him off. There was a party to discuss. And in that moment, the son had a choice, continue with his plan, or drop it to the ground, there in the road and open his hands.
He chose the party over the plan.
Into those empty hands, the father placed his ring.
Into those empty arms, the father placed his best robe.
Into that empty heart, the father placed his love.
I don’t know where you are on that road. Maybe life has fallen apart and you’re in the midst of a divorce and a new plan for a new you feels so appealing. Maybe you’re unemployed, and you feel like if you could just figure out the perfect plan, life would get back on track. Maybe you’re single and, while that’s fine for everyone else, for you that was never part of the plan. And a better plan would get you where you need to go.
I don’t know what’s in your hands right now, but I do know one thing.
I know what God wants to put into them.
His ring. His robe. His love.
Am I going to be an author who speaks or a speaker who writes? I’m not sure. This has unexpectedly become a season of letting go for me.
So that’s what I’m doing.
I’m going to trade in my plan for a party, which I think is always a deal worth making.
How about you?