What do you do when you wake up one day, realizing everything you have ever wanted has always been right in front of you? Really, what do you do? That happened to me last week!
You may be saying, "But Michelle, you sound so happy," or "I thought you had everything you wanted!” In a sense, I did and do have everything I ever wanted. The day I met Jesus face to face, everything else became a blur. You see, we were not created to walk around hanging out with Jesus all day and do nothing else. Although I can and should hang out with Jesus all day long, the point is to be advancing His kingdom into the lives of others while I hang out with him.
But here is where we make it complicated. I was three years old when I discovered horses. My grandmother had bought us encyclopedias and I had discovered the part in the book that had information about horses. My favorite horse was the Arabian. For years, from the time I was three, I begged for a horse. The pages in the book had to be taped, and re-taped many times. Neither one of my parents ever rode a horse, but I was relentless! Daddy, "when can I have my horse?" I would ask every day!
It took five years, caring grandparents, and a move to the country to get my first horse. From that moment on, I believed life would be bliss. In many ways it was. When I got on the back of my beloved friend, we would go places I could never go on my own. What I would soon find out is that the rest of the world was in a competition for my attention, to distract me from one of the very reasons I am here.
By the time I was a teenager, the heartache of owning a horse was costly. My parents divorced when I was a teen and the horse dream was over. I tried getting back into horses but this is what I would hear, “Horses cost too much ... they take up too much time ... you're obsessed ... all you ever do is talk about horses ... I think you love the horse more than you do me ... we can’t afford it ... is that all you do, ride horses—you don’t make any money? ... they cost too much money ... the business is too hard.” I could write a book on all the negative things I have heard from real people to discourage me from a childhood dream!
This is what the word of God says in Jeremiah 29:11, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'" (NIV).
God’s plan does not harm us! Do you think it was harmful to hear all the negative things over the course of a lifetime? Yes, it cost me the plans He had for me, which are good! You see, before you were born, you were predestined to be gifted in certain areas to advance His kingdom. You will never be an influence in someone’s life by hiding your giftings and talents. They are given to us to draw people to us for His name’s sake.
Last year, after giving up my horses, three years ago, the Lord very clearly told me that He never told me to give up my horses. He told me I had dropped the ball, by not believing it was Him who wanted me to do something beautiful with horses for Him!
After crying, and getting clarity on how good He really is, I have been picking up the pieces and allowing Him to bring things together. I realized just last week that what I always wanted, He wanted for me. So I want to clearly say, “This one is for you!" Meaning I will no longer be moved by the opinions of others, or even myself. I know He takes pleasure in my prosperity, and His name will be glorified when I do well.
I am not limited by only being gifted with horses, only I can limit the joy and prosperity in my life. God is not cruel enough to give us a dream and then laugh when we fail. He says, "I have given you a hope and a future. They are not plans to fail, but to succeed!"
I wish someone could have told me this when I was three years old! So I am telling you, whatever age you are, God has a good plan for you! I'll bet you know what it is. I'll bet everyone has tried to talk you out of it. I'll bet you feel all alone in it. I'll bet it's the only thing that, when you get involved doing it, you go places you can’t go doing anything else. Take my advice ... just do it! Cling to God and let Him put all the pieces together while you two work this out!
I don’t know where all this will lead, but I know it will be good. I know it will be where He wants me to be. I know I will go places that I never would have by listening to the voices that lie. God is good! His plans for you are good. Believe He can cause you to succeed in what ever He tells you to do. It may be the hardest thing you have ever done, but in the end, you know you’ll have won.
"Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. 'If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you'” (John 8:31-32, MSG).
Lord, thank you for loving us enough to bring us back to your plans for our lives. They are good, and when we follow you, we will prosper!
Michelle Mangold is a blogger, business owner, and mom of three kids.