March 3, 2007

Planning a course

A very successful friend of mine once gave me the advice not to try to "manage my career," i.e., he studied one thing in college, then found himself at early jobs in something else, then went back for a masters degree, and now in his thirties finds himself as CEO of a successful startup, doing something he never would have imagined at the start. It wasn't by setting an overarching goal—but by maneuvering wisely through the situations he found himself in. Still, I imagine that at each point in the journey he must have had some sort direction, which enabled him to say 'yes' to some opportunities and 'no' to others, even if the eventual destinations weren't what he had envisioned.

Scripture says "in his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." (Prov 16:9) God certainly leads us along paths we can't predict towards destinations we hadn't imagined, I've seen that abundant times already. But it says "a man plans his course," like he has some idea of where he was headed, and then in the process of going, he finds God opening and closing doors along the way that may affect the path or the destination—or both. It doesn't say where the man ends up, whether God's steps led him to his desired destination, or somewhere else. The outcome is something we just need to trust God with in the end, and with an open hand each step of the way. But here in the beginning, we find ourselves with the privilege (and responsibility) to plan for ourselves a course.

So, where do we want to go?

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