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Can you still accept God’s plan when it doesn’t go the way you want?

Life often does not go as we expect or desire. We make plans, set goals, and envision certain outcomes, only to be faced with twists and turns that lead us down unexpected paths. In those moments, it can be challenging to accept that God’s plan may look different than our own. However, surrendering to God’s will is central to living a life of faith.

Why do our plans differ from God’s at times?

There are several reasons why God’s plans may not align with our own:

  • We have limited perspective – As humans, we only see and understand a small part of the big picture. But God sees and understands all things. He knows what is ultimately for our good and growth, even when we can’t see it.
  • We want comfort, not character – Our plans often prioritize comfort and avoidance of pain/inconvenience. But God’s goal is to build our character and make us more like Jesus. That requires difficulty at times (Romans 5:3-5).
  • We seek happiness, not holiness – In our plans, we typically want maximum happiness and gratification. But God’s plan is to make us holy, which requires denying selfish desires.
  • We ask for gifts, not growth – When making plans, we focus on tangible things we want rather than spiritual growth. But God cares more about our sanctification.
  • We seek independence, not intimacy – Our plans often reflect a desire to control our lives and secure our own future. But God wants us to depend on Him fully.

Because God sees what we cannot and desires growth over comfort, His perfect plan will sometimes differ from our imperfect ones.

How do you accept God’s plan when it feels disappointing or confusing?

Accepting God’s plan over your own is difficult, especially when His plan feels confusing or disappointing. Here are some tips:

  1. Pray for understanding and alignment to God’s will – Humility before God is essential. Ask Him to help you understand His purpose and plan (Proverbs 3:5-6).
  2. Compare your thoughts to Scripture – God’s Word reveals His character and priorities. Examine if your plans align with biblical principles.
  3. Surrender control to God – Abandon the need to be in control and let God direct your steps instead of trying to manipulate outcomes.
  4. Trust God’s goodness and wisdom – Believe that God is wise, loving and powerful enough to work all things for good (Romans 8:28).
  5. Look for spiritual fruits – As you walk in God’s plan, look for spiritual growth in your life even if the outcome is not what you expected.
  6. Express your struggle to God – Be honest with God about your frustrations but conclude with willingness to align with His will.
  7. Seek godly counsel – Wise Christians can help you gain perspective on God’s plan for your life.
  8. Focus on serving God, not outcomes – Shift focus from demanding certain outcomes to pursuing obedience and closeness with Christ.

While accepting God’s plan over your own will be difficult, He promises to walk closely with you each step of the way.

Why is surrender to God’s will essential for the Christian life?

Surrendering to God’s will rather than demanding our own is foundational to the Christian life for several reasons:

  • It is central to following Jesus – Jesus modeled surrender by submitting to the Father saying, “Not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). As Christians, we follow Jesus’ example.
  • It frees us from bondage to self – Insisting on our way keeps self on the throne of our hearts. Surrender liberates us from the burden of self-rule.
  • It positions us to receive God’s grace and power – Surrendering to God opens the door for His power and grace to operate in our lives.
  • It enables spiritual growth – Spiritual maturation requires submitting our flawed wisdom to God’s perfect will and timing.
  • It results in intimacy with God – Laying down our will to submit to God’s draws us into deeper relationship with Him.
  • It allows us to walk in God’s destiny – Fulfilling God’s unique purpose for our lives only happens when we surrender to His plans.
  • It brings peace and rest – Desperately striving to control life is exhausting. Surrendering replaces striving with God’s peace and rest.

While surrendering our will is difficult, it is the pathway to joyful, fulfilling relationship with Christ and the lives He has for us.

What are some biblical examples of accepting or rejecting God’s plan?

The Bible contains many examples of people either accepting or resisting God’s plan for their lives. Here are a few:

Examples of Accepting God’s Plan

  • Jesus – Facing the agony of the cross, Jesus surrendered, praying “Not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Through His submission, salvation was made possible.
  • Abraham – Though childless, Abraham left his homeland in obedience to God’s call and plan, becoming the father of the nation of Israel (Genesis 12:1-4).
  • Esther – Esther risked her life by obeying Mordecai’s charge to approach the king on behalf of the Jews. Her courageous submission saved her people (Esther 4).
  • Mary – Despite confusion and risk to her reputation, Mary submitted to carrying the Son of God, declaring “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38).

Examples of Rejecting God’s Plan

  • Jonah – Rather than obeying God’s call to preach to Nineveh, Jonah rebelled and was swallowed by a fish (Jonah 1:1-3). He eventually submitted and fulfilled his call.
  • Israelites – God brought Israel out of slavery to enter the Promised Land, but when they saw giants, they rejected God’s plan because of fear (Numbers 13).
  • Rich young ruler – Approached by Jesus to give up all his possessions, the man refused surrendering his wealth, rejecting Christ’s plan for his life (Mark 10:17-22).
  • Ananias and Sapphira – This couple pretended to fully surrender their wealth to the church while secretly holding back, leading to their deaths (Acts 5).

These examples showcase the critical choice we face between submitting to or resisting God’s purpose and plan for our lives.

What are practical benefits of embracing God’s plan for your life?

Accepting God’s plan even when it is difficult or confusing produces many practical benefits in your life, including:

  • A deeper sense of meaning and purpose – Knowing you are fulfilling God’s custom design for your life brings great meaning.
  • The comfort of God’s presence – God draws especially near to those who are walking in His will.
  • A platform to walk in your spiritual gifts – God’s plan allows your gifts to flourish for Kingdom impact.
  • Greater maturity and refinement of character – Fulfilling God’s purposes grows your faith and Christlike character.
  • Testimony of God’s goodness – Your submission in hardship showcases God’s faithfulness to others around you.
  • Eternal rewards – At the judgement seat of Christ, there are rewards for those who embraced God’s plan over personal ambition.
  • Deepened intimacy with Christ – Laying down your will to accept God’s fosters closeness with Jesus.
  • Freedom from stress and anxiety – Accepting God’s plan releases you from the burden of controlling outcomes.

Rather than a restrictive rulebook, God’s plan aligns with how He uniquely designed you. As you surrender daily, you will find peace, purpose and growth beyond your expectations.

What should you do when you feel overwhelmed by God’s plan?

During times when God’s plans feel overwhelming, here are some steps to take:

  1. Pour out your heart to God – Go to God first when you feel anxious or afraid. Be honest about your concerns and struggles. He can handle your emotions.
  2. Ask God for discernment – The enemy can bring condemnation, so examine if your concerns are based on truth or lies from the enemy.
  3. Take it one day at a time – Don’t try to figure out all the details. Just focus on following God’s will today.
  4. Seek wise counsel – Ask mature Christians for biblical perspective on your situation.
  5. Look for evidence of God’s grace – Even in difficulty, God provides strength and help when we depend on Him.
  6. Remember past faithfulness – Recall previous times God guided you through hardship. He remains faithful today.
  7. Renew your mind with Scripture – Combat fear and doubt by immersing your mind in God’s Word and promises.
  8. Trust God’s perfect love – Despite confusion, be assured of God’s unconditional and perfect love for you.

The process of surrender is often emotional, but God promises never to leave you or forsake you. You can trust Him to walk closely with you each step of the journey.


Accepting God’s plan over your own can be incredibly challenging, especially when His ways don’t make sense or match your desires. However, embracing God’s purpose requires trusting His perfect wisdom, love and sovereignty. Surrendering daily to the Creator who fashioned you with purpose will launch you into a life beyond your wildest dreams. There will be trials and confusion along the way, but God promises to be your faithful guide who will never leave you.