Plan of God vs plan of Carin

I visited a friend the other day—at the hospital.  She is an older woman.  She had recently been released from a rehabilitation center after four months to return home.  She wasn’t well enough to go home, mind you, but her insurance had capped out on the rehabilitation benefit so they sent her home.  She is fighting the onset of old age and fighting for her independence.  We have tried helping her and offering solutions to her dilemmas but she doesn’t want ‘that kind’ of help so she has declined offers for assistance.

Over the weekend, she fell, at her home, and couldn’t get up.  She couldn’t reach the phone and she laid there, on the floor of her apartment for two days until a previously scheduled appointment showed up at her door and she was able to call for help.

She really does need some help, even though she hasn’t wanted any of ‘that kind.’  I think this last little episode has opened her heart to receiving ‘that kind’ of help, at least a little bit.

Why do we have to be so stubborn sometimes?!!

I am not blaming my friend.  I too have had times in my life where I am insistent in doing things MY way.

In my experience, when I am in that place, the Lord throws a brick and wallops me upside the head.  It is usually an experience similar to my friend’s who laid on the floor for two days.  It is as if He is saying, “See?  This is what happens when you do not listen.  Now are you ready to do it my way?” or “follow my counsel?” or “do what I am asking you to?”.

This hurts!

I read a scripture one time many times, over and over again, which has seriously enlightened me, Doctrine and Covenants 3:3

Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated but the work of man.

So now when I am banging my head against the wall over a particular issue, I stop and think:  Maybe this is the work of Carin and not the work of God?  There’s a novel thought!

Then I actually try to reconnect with my Father in Heaven and ask Him if maybe, just maybe I might be pushing the plan of Carin (with a small p).  Lots of times, I am.

When I stop pushing the wrong agenda and open my heart to His process and I ask Him, “What am I suppose to be learning in these circumstances? What is my place or role here at this time?”  When I begin asking questions instead of pushing my agenda, that is when learning takes place.  That is when my heart is finally ready to hear the answers He has been trying to give me.

It is a lot easier to recognize I am pushing the plan of Carin and stop and ask questions than it is to be hit with a brick and it hurts less too.

I am kind of in one of those places right now.  I am not pushing my agenda.  But it seems every day I have to ask, What are we doing?  Why are we doing it? What is the time-table exactly?  I don’t get answers to all of those questions, especially the time-table one.  The answer is usually, a few more things have to be in place first, trust me.  OK……………….that’s fine……………………..how long again?  No response.

It is one of those things I have to take on faith.  When I try to estimate my own time-table I am usually off by YEARS!  Seriously!  Twice I had the ‘heads-up’ we were moving.  Twice it was years early!  Do you know how ridiculous it is to get a jump start on packing years ahead of time?

I packed up all the books thinking it would be helpful to start there.  A few months later, I would have to dig through all the packed books so I could write a talk or prepare a lesson.  (Though now with so much being on the internet, maybe I could get away with packing books next time?……….)

Now when I receive information without a time-table, I just try to ‘hang-tight’ and not be too emotionally invested in the ‘when’.

I have also learned that I cannot force the time-table.  Just because I know something is in line with what the Lord wants, doesn’t mean I can have it any sooner than He wants me to.  Can you believe it?!  It’s like He knows something I don’t……………Heavenly Father has His own time-table—always—-and things happen in His time.  Remember, it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of Carin man (and Carin, unless it is inline with God), and that is a lot harder than it sounds.

So how do you do it?  How do you bring your plan inline with God’s plan?

First, you have to recognize you have your own agenda.  Second, you have to know if your agenda conflicts with His, so you have to be able to find out what His agenda is.  Sometimes Most times, we have to pray to soften our hearts and to be open to His agenda.  I pray that I will be willing to know and do His will.  Sometimes Most times, I recognize that I will put conditions on His agenda.  “I will forgive so and so if she apologizes for this and that.”

Heavenly Father doesn’t usually work that way.  But I think He does work with us when we are honestly trying to do His will and it is just really hard for us.  I have two examples—-spiders and my daughter.  The first one is kind of funny.

I knew we were suppose to move into a basement apartment in Provo.  I only knew we were suppose to after I told my husband, “Absolutely not!  I will not live there—it is dark and dirty and there are spiders.”  He asked me to pray about it.  At first, I refused.  I was not living there.  Then I relented.  I matter-of-factly told the Lord that I did not want to live there and I listed all of my reasons, but agreed that I would do what He wanted me to.  Then I asked.  He told me that He wanted me to move there.  Ugh!  “Alright, I will but only if you agree to keep the poisonous spiders outside of my house.  If they bite me or my babies, I am moving.”  I knew the spiders would obey God, even the dust does that!  We made the move and the black widows stayed outside—-right outside my front door, mind you—but they never bit any of us.

The second example is my one and only daughter.  When I found out I was expecting our sixth child, I told my Father in Heaven, “Hey, thanks for sending this baby.  I am grateful for the baby.  But you’ve sent me five sons—in a row.  I think I can handle more children but if that is something you want me to do, then I need you to send me something else.  I don’t think any family should have six boys, that is too many.”

You can obviously see that He has a sense of humor.  He didn’t think we should have six either.  He sent eight!  But He also sent my daughter, when I asked for her——because if you want to know the truth, I have trouble asking for things, even from Him.  So when I actually do put that effort out there, He usually honors my request, or He tells me why I can’t have it my  way.

don’t forget this one.

I have learned that He really does care and listen.  He really does have a plan—always—and it is always better than mine.  But I still struggle with that whole time-table thing.  But at least I don’t have to be hit upside the head with a brick before I try to adjust my plan to His plan, well, usually.

I think one of our greatest tasks in this life is learning to put aside the plan of Carin (insert your own name there), for the Plan God has for our life.  Here are two quotes that lead me that direction.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

The submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. It is a hard doctrine, but it is true. The many other things we give to God, however nice that may be of us, are actually things He has already given us, and He has loaned them to us. But when we begin to submit ourselves by letting our wills be swallowed up in God’s will, then we are really giving something to Him. And that hard doctrine lies at the center of discipleship. There is a part of us that is ultimately sovereign, the mind and heart, where we really do decide which way to go and what to do. And when we submit to His will, then we’ve really given Him the one thing He asks of us. And the other things are not very, very important. It is the only possession we have that we can give, and there is no resulting shortage in our agency as a result. Instead, what we see is a flowering of our talents and more and more surges of joy. Submission to Him is the only form of submission that is completely safe.  Sharing Insights from My Life.

President Deiter F. Uchtdorf:

Perhaps during times such as these, we might find ourselves asking, “Do we really need to obey all of God’s commandments?”

My response to this question is simple:

I think God knows something we don’t—things that are beyond our capacity to comprehend! Our Father in Heaven is an eternal being whose experience, wisdom, and intelligence are infinitely greater than ours.4 Not only that, but He is also eternally loving, compassionate, and focused on one blessed goal: to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life.5

In other words, He not only knows what is best for you; He also anxiously wants you to choose what is best for you.

If you believe this in your hearts—if you truly believe the great mission of our Heavenly Father is to exalt and glorify His children and that He knows best how to do it—doesn’t it make sense to embrace and follow His commandments, even the ones that appear difficult? Should we not cherish the light posts He has given that guide us through the darkness and the trials of mortality? They mark the way back to our heavenly home! By choosing Heavenly Father’s path, you lay a divine foundation for your personal progress as a daughter of God that will bless you throughout your life.

Part of our challenge is, I think, that we imagine that God has all of His blessings locked in a huge cloud up in heaven, refusing to give them to us unless we comply with some strict, paternalistic requirements He has set up. But the commandments aren’t like that at all. In reality, Heavenly Father is constantly raining blessings upon us. It is our fear, doubt, and sin that, like an umbrella, block these blessings from reaching us.

His commandments are the loving instructions and the divine help for us to close the umbrella so we can receive the shower of heavenly blessings.

We need to accept that the commandments of God aren’t just a long list of good ideas. They aren’t “life hacks” from an Internet blog or motivational quotes from a Pinterest board. They are divine counsel, based on eternal truths, given to bring “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.”6

So we have a choice. On the one hand, there is the opinion of the world with its ever-changing theories and questionable motives. On the other hand, there is God’s word to His children—His eternal wisdom, His certain promises, and His loving instructions for returning to His presence in glory, love, and majesty.

The choice is yours!

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