March 03, 2017

Let's Go for Plan B by Steph Beth Nickel

I love lists.

When the New Year rolls around, it’s just another excuse to create a list. Resolutions, goals, aspirations … call them what you will, but I love them.

However, I go into each year cognizant that it’s highly unlikely that I’ll achieve even a small fraction of those original goals. I’ve come to realize my Plan A is not the same as God’s.

So let’s go for Plan B, as in B for better … best even.

How does this apply to my writing?

Well, when the HopeStreamRadio podcast first joined the plethora of others soaring through cyberspace, I had the privilege of being one of the first producers. However, I had a lot to learn. (I still do, but things are progressing.)

That first series of devotionals, If You Love Me … let’s just say it wasn’t particularly memorable.

This year I have the privilege of re-recording this series from the gospel of John. As I prepare to do so, I am refining each five-minute script.

One of my goals for 2017 is to publish at least two ebooks. With some modifications, this collection may be the first in my Nurture & Inspire series.

Ideally, I would love to have published four or more ebooks by the end of the year, but that’s not going to happen. For one thing, this is a new learning curve for me.

For another, God is leading me down some unforeseen paths and teaching me the lessons He knows I need to learn.

We can react in a number of different ways when our plans don’t go as we’d hoped.

We refuse to ask what His plans are.
It is my goal to commit each day, each task, to the Lord, but too often I don’t do so. If I know better and don’t do it, I can’t expect those who don’t express any desire to find God’s path for them to do better. Even so, it’s never a good thing to leave the Lord out of the planning stage.

We balk and try to continue on the path we’ve laid out for ourselves.
When we pray, we don’t always like what God shows us. We shake our head and think, “I couldn’t have understood Him correctly. He can’t possibly expect me to go down that path.” However, we must remember that God is in the business of making us holy, not necessarily happy. “His ways are not our ways,” as it says in Isaiah 55:8.

We plop down in the proverbial middle of the road and refuse to budge.
When I look back over the years, I realize I’ve often felt sorry for myself, sulked, and/or voiced my discontent—often loudly. I’ve dug in my heels and failed to consider where the Lord was leading and the lessons He was teaching. Thankfully, He is patient—longsuffering as it says in the KJV.

We walk the path God’s lays out—grudgingly. 

I can’t remember how many times I quoted Philippians 2:14 to my children when they were growing up. We are to “do everything without grumbling or complaining” (NIV).

Yet, how often do we figuratively roll our eyes and think, “Fine! I’ll do what I’m supposed to do. But I won’t like it”?

This thought may never actually cross our mind, but we may not have discovered the joy of actively pursuing God’s plan for our life.

We embrace the lessons He’s teaching us and wonder what adventure lies around the corner.

I would love to say this is always my first response, but lying is bad.

The apparent detours in life are often the best place to grow and mature—and to find fodder for our writing.

Plus, we can count on God’s timing.

It’s the right time for me to re-record the If You Love Me series. And maybe, just maybe, it may be the time for me to send my first collection of devotionals out into the world in a different format.

How about you? Do you know the next step on God’s path? Are you willing to take it? Are you trusting Him to work it out for your good no matter how far from your Plan A it is?


  1. I'm a list person, too! You certainly hit the nail on the head here - go to God first! Even the best laid plans must bow to God's ultimate purposes.

  2. I love your image, Stephanie, of going from our Plan A to God's Plan B for better or best. I see you are trying, as I am, to reverse this system by going to God first so he can help us plan. As God tells us in Jeremiah 29: 11, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

    Oh, that we might listen to his voice. . . Thanks for sharing your blog post and your ministry, Steph.

  3. Writing is always an adventure. I get out my map/calendar to plan my journey - Plan A - but then the opportunity presents itself to take an interesting detour. My plans quickly change. Perhaps God desires that I pursue an alternate path. I have learned to trust Him and eagerly embrace these new ventures.

  4. Sometimes, it's even Plan C that is more realistic. I've learned that praying my way in and along is the best choice I can make. Nice post, Steph. Made me think! Thanks. :)

  5. Thanks for a thought-provoking blog, Steph. I think God's plan is Plan A, and when we make our own, we're actually on Plan B.

  6. It's interesting, Steph. This idea of Plan A, B & C. I'm sensing God's best might be directly in front of me, waiting for me to enter in. I'm not sure the Plan has really changed for me, only that it's becoming clearer - similar to how I "revise" and "rework" and "rewrite" a piece of writing, feeling very much like I'm polishing/crafting something precious... maybe it's like that - this Plan A/B/C that God has for us - that somehow, in the midst of the revisions and rewrites - his Original Plan for Us is still underway... Thanks for a great post on a timeless (for writers!) topic.


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