Who’s got the Playbook?
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9 ESV
Have you ever noticed when you try to “work everything out” it never works?
I hate to admit it, but I have maneuvered behind the scenes to get my boys in the right teacher’s classroom, on the best baseball teams, connected to “good” friends, or even “liked” for their accomplishments on Facebook. Only to end up with the teacher moving to a different grade level and an unknown person taking over the class; the Little League headquarters re-drawing boundary lines in order to create new districts and new teams thus placing us with a whole new group of players and coaches; the good friends’ families deciding to move away, and forever running out of time to keep up with the “like” competition on Facebook.
So much for working everything out.
Our scripture passage today has a lot to say about the plans of our hearts and the maneuvering we do in order to make things work out the way we think they should. The writer of Proverbs tells us that “the plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord” (Proverbs 16:1). God is basically telling us “go ahead and plan, but ultimately the outcome is mine.”
In verse two the writer digs a little deeper into our propensity to plan, and says “all the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes.” Every one of us thinks we are doing the right thing when we are working “behind the scenes” to give our kids (or ourselves) what we see as being the best for them (or us). We often deceive ourselves about the purity of our motives. Like a puppeteer making a marionette dance, the hidden motivators of our actions- pride, ego, fear, or insecurity are behind the scenes pulling our strings.
So what is a girl to do when she is worried about the future and wants what’s best for her tribe and is being told to stop manipulating?
First, she needs to know that the “Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble” (16:4). God’s got it under control. Let Him be in charge.
Second, she needs to turn her playbook over to God. She needs to stop drawing up passing schemes and trust God to coach the team. “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established” (16:3).
Third, she needs to do what is pleasing to God and not just what strokes her ego or soothes her troubled spirit. “When man’s ways pleases the Lord, he makes even his enemies be at peace with him” (16:7).
Last, she needs to let go. She needs to trust the process and let the One who knows the way lead. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (16:9).
When it comes to our lives, we can plan it, but in the end we need to commit it to God and then let it go.
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.