There's a dangerous statement that likes to go around in Christian circles, and it goes something like this:
"God has a plan for your life."
You might be wondering what I mean by dangerous, or perhaps you're thinking that I'm being a bit cheeky and that I don't mean "dangerous" in the way that you might commonly read it. But I absolutely do.
See, we have been preaching for a long time that God has a plan for your life, but we don't really talk about what that really means. So we have an entire generation (actually, several, I think) of Christians who are out there trying to find the plan that God has for them.
They agonize over every decision. They waver back and forth. They have trouble committing one way or another. They cannot choose which way to go. They are almost paralyzed by the idea that God has a plan for their life because, they think, they can't afford to miss it.
They can't afford to make a wrong choice. They feel like if they go left when they should have gone right, they'll miss out on everything. They will turn away from the plan that God has for them.
So every time they have to choose what to do, which way to go, which path to take, they just stand there. For a long time. Maybe forever. Because at least standing here, with opportunity open in front of them, there's always the option that one of these will be God's plan. Choose wrongly, and you've lost it forever.
But standing here at the crossroads, my friends, is not God's plan for you, either. As enticing as it feels to keep all of your options open, that's not what God designed for your life. He brought you to this fork in the road for you to take one.
Does it really matter so much which one?
This is why this teaching is dangerous.
Obviously, in some situations, there is clearly a right road and a wrong one. Should you get a minimum wage job that won't be quite enough but will be honest work or should you take that cartel up on their offer to sell drugs for them? That's not the kind of decision we're talking about.
We're talking about decisions where the options are, for all intents and purposes, equally good things. Where there is no clear right or wrong. Where either one could work out for very good ends. Where you could do very good things in either direction.
We stand here, and we agonize over which one is God's plan for us, which one is God's will. We pray, we beg, we yearn for a sign, any kind of sign, about which way we should go. Which direction should we take? Which one does God want? We lie awake at night wondering how much we're going to throw our lives totally to trash if we pick wrong.
What if there's not a wrong choice? What if there's not a right one? What if they really are both equally good things, either one of which God is going to bless and use you as a blessing through? What if what God really cares about is what you want?
What if God's plan for your life has nothing at all to do with this decision? Have you thought about that?
We hear this sentence, that God has a plan for our lives, and we hear that God has a plan for our lives. One. A single exact course that He has plotted out through eternity for us to walk, and at any point, we might turn off of it without even realizing it, and then what? But what if God's plan isn't about the path? What if it doesn't matter so much to God if you're a mechanic or a mortgage broker? What if it doesn't matter so much to God if you're married or single? If you live in America or Angola? If you eat tacos on Tuesday or squid?
What if the kinds of choices we're agonizing over aren't the choices that really make up God's plan for us?
Wouldn't that set us free?