“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

It was just a sheet of paper hanging on the fridge with a magnet that happened to catch my eye as I was washing dishes. A reminder to come to my daughter’s school to watch her present a project on a specific date several months ago, back in April. The date was in my calendar. I had requested to take a few hours off work. I had moved a few things around in order to be there. I had planned.

But, as we are all too aware, no one was in school in April. Only certain industries were at work in April.

Our plans changed. All of them.

The graduation announcements, wedding invitations, party invitations, school presentation reminders, and anything ranging from the mundane to the life-altering that dangled under the weight of a refrigerator magnet became solemn reminders. Reminders that no matter how painstakingly we plan, nor how we move appointments in our calendars like we’re playing a master game of Tetris, it won’t necessarily all fit in.

And that is really hard for someone like me who likes to plan ahead and be in control.

My calendar is a color-coded digital work of art. I account for things like travel time, painstakingly send invites to anyone else who might need to attend or know where I am during those moments, and find joy in uncovering just the right timeframe to slot a task or activity.

But if God laughs when we tell Him our plans, He has certainly found a giant measure of hilarity in my confidence at predicting what my schedule will look like — one week from now, one month from now and even one year from now.

We learn more about this in Proverbs 19:21, which says; “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what we want in our hearts, but especially in things that have gone beyond our hearts and onto our schedules — projects we’ve worked on, event details pored over, job interviews prepped for, reservations booked.

But even when our plans move from our dreams to near-reality without being fulfilled, God will use all this for good. It may seem like upheaval. It may seem unfair. It might seem as if we’re living a Chutes and Ladders game-reality where we’re sent swirling back to the beginning after nearly claiming victory. But victory can be found in heading back up that slide. In the waiting. In the shifting and redirecting. Because sometimes, as we’re sliding down and hitting the bottom, we somehow remember the One who’s always waiting to lift us up, help us refocus and prayerfully redirect.

If you find yourself at the bottom of the slide today, I encourage you to seek God’s direction and purpose for your next move as you’re dusting yourself off and pulling yourself up. The victory He has for us is far sweeter than any combination of plans we could ever pack in our calendars.

Dear heavenly Father, we don’t like it when we feel our plans have been thwarted. Please help us to use any unfulfilled dreams or plans to prayerfully focus on Your purpose for us. Please give us the courage to step out boldly in faith. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.