I find it really helpful that this book starts with the GRAND design. Knowing the goal is not uncommon advice in decision-making, but usually you start with your own desires, hopes and dreams and you use those to guide your decisions. For example, at high school you are told to think about what you want to do when you leave, then you plan the subjects you are going to study and how much study time you need accordingly. Or later in life you decide what kind of lifestyle you want to live and then plan your career, family and other decisions around that.
As Christians we can so easily get caught into this thinking too (including those of us who have ‘ministry’ as our full-time employment). Sometimes we try to Christianise these goals: ‘I’m going to marry a godly Christian man, have 4 children who never stray from the Christian life and be the perfect wife and mother’, but even these kinds of goals keep our eyes far below the grand design God has for us. When the goal on our horizons is ‘this worldly’, is it any wonder that we so regularly face disappointment and discontent? Most of us have grown up thinking we can control all our choices, so we just need to set the goals and aim for them. Yet, as it says on page 14 ‘We aren’t even capable of picking which decisions are the important ones ... We never know which of our decisions will turn out to be vital or even significant’. I want to add that sometimes we don’t even get to make the choices we think we will. What happens when ‘Mr Right’ never turns up, or you discover you are infertile, or your job is not as fulfilling as you thought it would be, or your children turn their back on God? When we think we can control outcomes by our choices, these outcomes leave us thinking we have done something wrong, made a wrong decision somewhere that has lead to these ‘failures’.
Yet when we come back to God’s grand design and view our decisions through that lens, we learn that our real choices are not tied up with our ‘this worldly’ goals, but rather with whether or not we are going to live for God and submit to His grand design. Instead of our perfect ‘to do’ lists, have we really submitted to Him, trusting that His way is good and right and perfect? Of course we still have worldly decisions we have to make and the book does take us there, but it is a helpful start to know God’s big plans first, so like the book we will go there in the next few posts.