It is common for Christians to talk about God's plan for our lives. Part of this theological statement is rooted in the truth that human existence is not without purpose and direction. This life is not aimless and that each individual life is a part of a much larger movement.
What is often forgotten in the statement "God has a plan for your life" is that this statement is a metaphor. And like all metaphors there is room for interpretation. And like many metaphors, there are dominate understandings of the metaphor, which solidify and become the implicit understanding of the metaphor. For instance, when we think of unplugging our first thought might be that we are talking about getting away from stressors in our life. However, in a music setting, if we talk about unplugging we are not talking about stress but about going acoustic.
And so in a world that is dominate by economic thinking, business models and five year plans, we tend to think of God's plan for our lives much in these regards: preset, rigid and unchanging. Put another way, we might think of God's plan for our lives as God is an architect and God has drawn up blueprints for our lives and it is out job to 'fit' our lives into that preset plan.
I suppose that works for some people. However I have seen this create more stress and worry in people than I have seen it help. I am asked questions like, "What is God's plan for my life?" or I hear college students try to 'find' God's plan. It seems like this cat and mouse game is never ending and full of frustration.
Rather than thinking of God's plan as an architect with a blueprint, might I suggest God's plan is more like a game plan a coach would have for a team.
God's plan for our lives is more rooted in hope, dream and desire rather than specific, directed, and concrete. It is the hope of the coach the team would play well, score points, keep the other team off from controlling the tempo, work together, have fun and enjoy the game. The coach might even have a general direction that can help achieve these hopes - run up the middle or pass the ball to the outsides or focus on good base running - but the coach does not have overly specific set of instructions. The coach does not dictate each pass or every serve.
The coach understands that as the game happens things have to change and in fact the original tactics may have to change in order to achieve the game plan. The coach may see the team is not running well and so in order to live into the game plan, the team has to switch from a running game to a passing game. The other team may be overwhelming and so the team needs to change from a physical style to a finesse style. And everyone on the team is fine with changing tactics because they all know the game plan.
Which is way a coach has a game plan not a blueprint.
God's plan is less blueprint and more game plan.