When Your Plans Go Sideways: 3 Secrets to Finding Your Feet Again. www.monahodgson.com

When Your Plans Go Sideways: 3 Secrets to Finding Your Feet Again

Plans change.

I hear your deep sigh, and raise you one.

If you sighed with me, you’re likely a planner too. Or maybe your groan results from you having faced so much change this year that you’re over it.

If you’ve been following my blog, you may have noticed I’ve not posted a new post for a year and a half.

I’m back! With new stories to share with you.

You may be a friend who connected with me early on. Might have been my weekly newspaper column in the early 1990s or when my first children’s books were published nearly twenty years ago. Perhaps you found me through my historical novels and novellas these past eight years. Whenever and however you came to connect with me, I’m glad you did.

Let’s talk some about the journey we’ve been on.

In our various roles and relationships, we expect, or at least hope, that if we do A, B, C, D, E, the others involved in the endeavor will do their part and we’ll enjoy a solid landing on Z.

However, having a plan doesn’t guarantee a predictable result. The derailing of our plans can happen because we haven’t done our homework or properly prepared, but much of the time the change of plans comes from circumstances beyond our control.

The detour or dead end may even taunt us as a testament to our failure.

We assume failure as a wife. Failure as a mother. Failure as a daughter. Failure as an employee. Some of us may even label ourselves as a failed Christian.

“Now what?”

“Now what?” One of three questions that populate our prayers when plans change. Share on X

“And what if the next thing doesn’t work either?”

“Should I even bother trying something new?”

These are the questions populating my prayers the last three years.

Following my 20 year dream to publish a novel, Two Brides Too Many debuted in 2009 as a Walmart exclusive for six months before becoming available in the wide market in May 2010.

I was wowed. So was everyone around me. My agent, editor, and I met to make plans. Seeing God’s hand in the opportunities, I praised Him for His provision. I finished four Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek books then plunged into a new series. I saw six full length works of historical romance published between 2009 and 2013. Then the publisher who partnered with me to publish and promote my books had to make the tough decision not to offer me any more contracts. Many factors, including sales numbers and in-house changes, come into play. But the bottom line was they couldn’t accept any more books from me.

There would be no sequels to the first book in the new series we’d launched.

Loose ends bug me. I had to leave my faithful readers without the continuation of a tale they were eager to read. I’d worked hard to build trust, so that loose end troubled me.

Sister friend, the specific change and redirection you face today, tomorrow, or next year may look different.

• A chronic illness.
• A separation or divorce.
• A child living with a disability.
• Caring for a frail spouse or parent.
• A loved one battling addiction.
• The loss of a job.
• The death of a family member or friend.

When the unexpected happens, we tend to second guess ourselves. And God.

We question our ability. Wonder if we ever had the ability to discern the voice of God. Doubt our calling.

3 things to remember about God when seeking perspective on the unexpected. Share on X

1. God isn’t limited to linear thinking. He doesn’t work in straight lines. Expect zigzags. Anticipate an adventure.

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.
‘As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV

Remembering that God’s thoughts and ways are superior to ours can help us take our imperfect thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and trust Him to work in and through us according to His purposes and for His glory.

2. God doesn’t use the human measuring stick for success.

We consider success to be the opposite of failure.
God considers a surrendered heart a success. (Psalm 51:17)

We want to work for God.
God wants to work in and through us. (Philippians 1:6)

God isn’t moved by our performance, but by our transformation. (Romans 12:2)

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Proverbs 19:21 NIV

Remembering that God’s higher purposes will prevail over any circumstance can help us surrender our A-Z plans and trust His definition of success.

3. God majors in doing something new.

The fear of the unknown doesn’t cause God to stick to His comfort zone. The temptation to coast in tradition doesn’t distract Him from His purposes.

See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland
Isaiah 43:19 NIV

In the shadow of the changes we face, let’s embrace the new thing God wants to do in and through us.

What new thing is God calling me to? He’s awakened a dream I set on the back burner 30 years ago when I first started writing for publication. My dream to write nonfiction that would encourage and equip women in their faith walk.

During my practical pause from writing and speaking, God did a work in my heart, led me into a face-to-face, side-by-side personal ministry that has me doing life with sister friends of all ages, stages, and backgrounds. Joy!

I’m writing again and working on new talks for women’s groups and retreats.

Watch my eNewsletter and Facebook Author Page for updates on the new book-in-process inspired by the work God is doing in my heart and in my relationships with sister friends like you.

In the meantime, would you pray for me? For faith and courage. For provision and spiritual protection. For the best publisher for my first nonfiction book for women. For my surrender to God’s purposes and His transforming power.

Please know that I’m praying for you too.

Lord God, You see my sister. You haven’t turned your back on her struggle. No. Instead You run to her with open arms and a heart full of love. You, Lord, are acquainted with change and confusion, rejection and heartache. You understand the fear that battles our anticipation of the new thing You are doing. Soak my friend in Your all-sufficient grace. Cover her in Your beyond-all-understanding peace. For Your pleasure and for your glory. Amen.

I’d love to hear from you. Do you have a change of plans story to share?

If there’s something specific I can pray with you about, please leave a message in comments.

Hugs and smiles,

Click here to read 7 Truths for Stabilizing Your Steps into the Unknown.


Comments 26

  1. Mona, please pray for me. Ron and I sold our home and will relocate to N.C. Just over the GA state line.
    It is a beautiful area but it puts me about 3 hours away from my Mom. It’s VERY difficult.

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      Hello, dear Denise. So good to hear from you. Sounds like you’re in both an exciting and difficult place. I’m praying for you. Hugs, Mona

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  2. I had applied for a job that I thought would be perfect for our family. I knew there was an opening because my friend worked there. I called and checked in with them several times and was confused as to why they hadn’t even called for an interview. Finally after 3 months of waiting I figured that must not be where God wanted me. It was then that I found a lump on my breast and immediately knew why God didn’t let me get that job. I had 2 yrs ahead of me of chemotherapy, radiation, 3 surgeries and a rough road. Once I was feeling more like myself again and began thinking about getting a job, my friend called again and said we have an opening at work again if you want it, they need you bad! This time when I applied, it was only a week later that I was starting my new adventure. It amazed me how God used circumstances to get me ready for His plans for me. I am so grateful that I listened to His direction for my life.

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      Hello, dear Donna, thanks for sharing your God story. A huge change of plans indeed. And such a testimony to His divine timing, provision, and faithfulness. God’s best to you! Mona

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  3. I loved this! It came at just right moment for I’ve been so frustrated lately. Not sure which direction or what steps to take. Your blog reminds me that my Father knows , even if I don’t. And He will direct my steps. Thank you! Please pray for my writing journey as I will keep you and your concerns in mine.

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      Hello, Monica. So good to hear from you. Your story is a reminder that God is oh so good. He meets us where we are, and offers comfort and direction. I’m praying for you as you trust Him for your next steps. I appreciate your prayers too. Write on!

  4. So encouraging, Mona! I plan to return to this later this week with coffee, journal, and Bible in hand, and think on all of this a little more in light of seasons and transitions. (And your site is beautiful!)

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  5. Knew something was going on in your life, since there were no sequels. So glad to hear you’re following God’s will for your life. Will continue to pray for you.

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  6. Hey Sister this is really inspiring. Thanks for posting. I needed this today and your other post too. I am tired of change but want something new. Can not have it both ways. Trusting God today. Hugs, Janell

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      Hey, Janell. You made my heart smile and lift praise to our Father. Thanks for your sweet note. I’m praying for you as you lean into Him amidst myriad changes and pursue His something new for you. Sending hugs your way, Mona

  7. Hi Mona, it was good to catch up with you and hear what you’re doing now. I’m excited that you’re using your gifts to bless and encourage women. That’s awesome!!

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      Hello, Carrie. So good to hear from you. Thanks for getting in touch, and for the words of encouragement too. Hugs! Mona

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      Janet, thanks so much for your commitment to pray for me daily. I really appreciate it. I won’t be at Mount Hermon in 2018, but I’ll look forward to seeing you sometime soon. God’s best to you in this new year. Mona

  8. Ouch! Yo words touched me, because my life has changed so dramatically. Now: no more writing– no more revivals or preaching–moving into a different home in a different town. I know, it’s called retiring, but I was not ready! Your words were encouraging.

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      Hello, Dell. So good to hear from you, and to know God used the post to speak truth and encouragement to you. Big changes indeed! Asking God to bathe you in His all-sufficient grace as you walk this new path. Sending hugs too. Mona

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