How to Be Glad When Your Plans Don’t Work

If there’s anything I’ve learned about prayer, I’ve learned that I have to be careful what I ask for because God just might end up answering it. And more times than not, He answers prayers in a completely different way than we expect. Today, I am so excited to have Krista stop by and share her experiences about God’s timing and His plans. I was definitely touched while reading, and I know that you will be too! Read how to be glad when your plans don’t work.

If I had had my way when I was 16, I might have been married to a man who sold drugs, had a record, was manipulative, and verbally abusive. Or maybe if I had my way at 20, I might be married to a gorgeous poet who ironically wasn’t the best communicator, always left me questioning my importance, and thought not having sex before marriage might be “too religious.” It’s also possible that if I had my way at 18, I could be married to an amazing man of God who treated me like a princess but yet I never had complete peace about being together.

If I had had my way, I would have been studying about 11 hours north in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. And while that sounds amazing, I may have missed out on getting to know some of the most beautiful people I have ever met. Beautiful because I’ve never seen anyone reflect God’s love so clearly.

I can say this better.

 I’m grateful for the break ups even when sometimes it seemed like there was no reason to part ways.  It’s in this season of singleness that I’m able to learn what it is to be loved, comforted, embraced by God. To be fully secure in His love and mercy. I’ve been able to get a better grasp on how God views me and how deeply He loves me. It’s a love that is so much more satisfying and pure than any relationship with man. For so long I was focused on being in a relationship, “falling in love,” and getting married when God just wanted me to have some alone time so that I could see what His true love is like and be fully engaged with Him.

I’m grateful that I got denied from my first (& only) choice university in Australia. Here in this city that I never knew existed (until my study abroad advisor told me), I found people who love in a way I never knew existed. Selflessly, deeply, genuinely. And you don’t even have to be bae. It’s just the standard. It would take too long to put it into words but the type of people who actually pray for you when they say they will. The type of people who will come to you with a word from God. The type of people who go deeper than asking, “how are you,” and instead ask “how’s your heart,” and are expecting you to share your sorrows, joys, and everything in between. And they can be trusted with that. It’s only been 3 months and I’ve come to think of these people as brothers and sisters. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so involved or connected in a church this fast. While I was choosing a university based purely on academics, God was choosing a place for me where my heart could thrive and my spirit could grow.

My point in saying all of this is to encourage myself, and hopefully someone else in the process, that God has it all under control. That God often has something better in mind than what you had planned. Seriously, when I was 14 my dream car was a hoopty so that I could cover the inside with stickers. I kid you not. Thankfully God (& my parents) had something better in mind a few years down the line. I’m grateful God didn’t just answer my first desire on the spot at 14. I had no idea what I was asking for!

It’s kinda like when Jesus is about to wash His disciples’ feet but Peter is basically like, “What in the world are you doing?! That is not how things work, Jesus! That’s not how I pictured this going!” and Jesus hits him with, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” (John 13:7)

I heard it said that God gives us the answer we would beg for if we knew what He knew. In this moment of expectancy and waiting on God to move in my life in a particular way, I just wanted to remind myself of all the times I thought I knew what I wanted and all the times God made me hold on just a little longer to show me something greater than I ever imagined. I trust that God has heard the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4) and is working it all out for His glory and my good as He has done time and time again.

Almost along the same lines, this song was definitely in my head the whole time I was writing this: Greater is Coming by Jekalyn Carr.

I encourage you to reflect on past situations that didn’t turn out the way you planned but ultimately worked out for your good. Is it just me or are you also thankful some things didn’t work out as planned?

It just seems natural for me to go into a prayer right here.

I thank You, God, that You work all things together for the good of those who love You and are called according to Your purpose. God, I surrender to Your will. I trust in Your timing. I trust that Your vision for me is bigger than what I can see myself. Help me to not lean unto my own understanding -or devise my own schemes to get what I think I want- but to wholly trust in You. Amen.


 Krista is a 21-year-old junior at the University of North Carolina majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication. She comes from a military family and is currently on her first stint outside of the United States studying abroad in Australia! God has always been working in her life but He took special care to prepare her for living in a new country. Since arriving, He’s been showing up in amazing ways and teaching her essential lessons non-stop. She’s been trying to keep track of them on her personal blog. Check it out here!

Meet Hanha!

Hanha Parham is a Christian author and speaker. Her personal mission is to help woman overcome fear and self-doubt so that they can confidently believe who God has called them to be. She holds a Masters in Divinity with a concentration in pastoral counseling and is currently pursuing her PhD in Christian leadership. Hanha has published two books, Jesus is Bae and The Confessions Project and she is passionate about teaching, equipping, and discipling the body of Christ. When she is not encouraging others or writing her heart out, she loves spending time with loved ones or exploring new coffee shops. 

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