Embracing Plan B

By nature I am a planner. I plan everything. And then I re-plan. I probably spend 90 percent of my time thinking about the future and planning for it. I consider my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. I anticipate problems and consider contingencies. I have a Plan A.

A Well-Worn Detour Sign - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/georgeclerk, Image #13522666

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/georgeclerk

But, unfortunately, Plan A rarely happens. When it does, it is awesome. But for me, Plan B is usually the norm. Like an old friend of mine used to say, “Do-do occurs.”

For example, a while back I was sitting in the Delta Crown Room in Nashville. My flight to Dallas had been cancelled because of ice in Dallas. I was scheduled on the next flight out, but I had a three-hour wait. Waiting is not one of my favorite things.

The funny thing was that I was on my way to have dinner with my friend, John Eldredge, who at the time was a Thomas Nelson author. We had had a difficult time getting together. Just the previous fall, we were supposed to go fly fishing together—just the two of us. I had eagerly anticipated the trip for months.

But, two days before the trip, I got a call from John’s agent. He told me that John had been thrown from a horse and knocked out. Worse, he had broken both wrists. Obviously, we had to scuttle the trip.

So, once John was better, we regrouped and rescheduled. Rather than wait for the weather to get warm enough to fish, we decided to get together for dinner with our wives. What could possibly go wrong?

So I made reservations at the Black Bear Restaurant just outside of Colorado Springs. This is one of my all-time favorite restaurants. Gail flew up a few days early to spend time with my oldest daughter who, at the time, was living in Colorado.

I called Gail that morning before I left. My plan was to arrive in the Springs at 2:40 p.m. “I’ll call you when I land,” I promised. “Let’s plan to meet at the hotel and then drive to the restaurant together. We’ll have plenty of time.”

I arrived at the Nashville airport a full hour before my 10:40 a.m. flight. I then proceeded to check in. It was only then that I learned my flight had been cancelled.

“Can you book me on another carrier?” I pleaded with the agent.

“Nope. Everything is booked solid into Colorado Springs and Denver,” she responded.

“Bummer,” I sighed. “I have a 7:00 p.m. dinner reservation.”

She put me on the standby list for a flight that wouldn’t get me in to Colorado Springs until 6:15 p.m. The restaurant was another forty-five minutes from the airport—assuming the roads were clear. And, of course, it is snowing in Colorado Springs.

When I was younger, this would have stressed me out. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. I was. But I definitely wasn’t stressed. I thanked the agent and began to wonder what kind of adventure awaited me.

Over the years, I have learned that my Plan B is often God’s Plan A. Nothing happens by accident. To quote Richard Rohr, “everything belongs.”

I think Plan B is God’s way of reminding me that He’s in charge. And, frankly, it’s better that way. I don’t care how hard I plan, I can’t anticipate everything. Nor do I always know what’s best. But He does.

In God’s economy there is no Plan B. He is sovereign. As difficult as things get—as chaotic as they may appear—He only has Plan A. And, quite frankly, I’m content to rest in that. I may not understand all the reasons, but I am content to rest in His Providence and enjoy the adventure.

And, as it turned out, I got on the flight, and we arrived early into Colorado Springs. I picked up Gail and drove to the restaurant. The roads were clear and we made better time than I anticipated. We arrived at exactly 7:00 p.m.

By the way, my friend Pete Wilson has written an entire book called Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up the Way You Thought He Would?. This is a beautiful book that I heartily recommend.

Question: How do you respond when Plan A comes unraveled? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • John A. Taylor

    Mike,

    Thanks for being another confirmation.

    For several weeks now, the Lord has been reminding me that He is Sovereign. Although I often don’t see the weavings of His providence, He is still in control.

    It was great to be reminded that with God there is no Plan B.

  • Deb

    It is said that “providence is a soft pillow for an anxious head.” True indeed.

  • Tony

    Thanks Mike!

    I really needed to hear this and be reminded of the profound truth in this article.

  • Antoniette

    I always feel better equipped for what "could" happen with a "plan b" – thanks for the reminder of how how important this is. I liked the statement in the article about how this illustrates our faith in God VS what I've heard from wellmeaning friends/family ie: having a "plan b" shows a lack of faith in God to help accomplish "plan a." I feel being open to a change of plan is faith in itself.

  • PaulMtl

    In the words of Mike Tyson “Everyone has a plan…until they take a punch”  hence the need for Plan B.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Never heard that before Paul but that is an awesome quote!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love that quote. In fact, I stumbled across it the other day. I should have used it!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com/2011/11/29/how-small-business-can-leverage-social-media-to-fight-back-against-their-big-business-competitors/ Ryan Hanley

      You can apply this quote to so many situations in your life.  Michael if I take the point of your article correctly a goal should be to understand that a “punch” is always possible and learn how to deal with “punches” when they come.

      Good stuff!

      Thanks!

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Yep. Exactly.

      • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

        Good point. I think we can punch back with a smile and the comfort in knowing that unmet expectations can defeat us, only if we let them. 

    • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

      Oh – love that!

  • http://www.grace-marshall.com/blog Grace Marshall

    Thanks for this Michael, I really like your approach of ‘what adventure awaits me now’. Being young(ish) and impatient, I’m still learning the art of not getting stressed when change happens.

    Having said that, the more I yield and release my plans, the more I realise some of the adventures God has in store are ones I could never have planned for. Thanks!

    • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

      Looking at life as an adventure has helped me greatly! It makes situations exciting rather than stressful.

    • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

      I’m still learning to apply this as being young(ish) and impatient too. 

  • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com Patricia Zell

    Nothing is set in stone in life–nothing. That’s why I’m always asking God for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom; that’s why I’m also always asking Him to make good out of everything for the whole human race. I keep my eyes on the goal which is that every individual understands the power of God’s absolute love for him or her–where there is no path, God will make one. 

  • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

    Michael, your story is interesting with a few surprise twists and turns. But it surely does have a wonderful end!

    I believe God has great plans for our lives just like He had for Joshua and the Israelites (i.e. to give them “a land flowing with milk and honey”). But He didn’t tell them about the pressures and obstacles they had to overcome on the way! 

    It’s not unfair that God does not tell us everything that we would face on our journey. He often purposefully hides these so that our minds will remain focused on our awesome goal. And this would help us overcome the hurdles. Isn’t that what is said about Jesus: “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame…” (Heb 12:2 NIV)!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I’m so glad He doesn’t reveal to us everything that will happen. If He did, I’m afraid I wouldn’t sign up for half the adventures!

      • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

        That’s true about all of us! From a human point of view, may I call it “divine ignorance”?

        • http://twitter.com/JessBlogSchmog Jessie Gunderson

          “Divine ignorance” 
          That made me smile!

          • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

            Appears paradoxical? 

      • http://twitter.com/PatWooldridge Patricia Wooldridge

        Who would!  If we could know all the details of our future, we couldn’t stand it. The mind can take it, bit by bit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ayomide.akinkugbe Ayomide Akinkugbe

    Plan
    B? I always hated that word until I learned it is what we term the occurrence of
    a new event when we decide to put God in a box. God is big, things happen, circumstances
    change but in a changing world, one thing would help us cope (even with Plan
    Bs): God is good and that can’t be changed. Thanks Michael, You rock! :)

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      I like how you phrased it Ayomide.

      “God is good and that can’t be changed” is true. I think there could be an addition to that. “But we can be changed.”

      • http://www.facebook.com/ayomide.akinkugbe Ayomide Akinkugbe

        Oh Yeah Joe. That’s so on point. I Think when situation seems Plan B ish it’s just an invitation for change. And honestly we just have to trust God knows what He is doing with us. That makes a huge difference. Oh yes it does! :)

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      So true

      • http://www.facebook.com/ayomide.akinkugbe Ayomide Akinkugbe

        Oh Yeah Brandon :)

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    That is quite a story. And wow, to have dinner(or to have had plans to go fishing) with John Eldridge, that would have to be a treat. Having read Wild At Heart, and just picking up Beautiful Outlaw, I must say John has been an inspiration to me and those at my church.

    For me, planning does not come naturally. I have relied on the unexpected happening and embracing it. I can shrug off the delays, setbacks, and re-routes. It is something I have come to accept as I learn that it is not my way but God’s.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ayomide.akinkugbe Ayomide Akinkugbe

      John Eldredge rocks! Joe. In fact he shared that part of the story of him falling off a horse in ‘Walking with God’. He’s very real with his writings :)

      • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

        Hmmm, I’m not sure I’ve seen ‘Walking With God.’ One more book to purchase.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          It is indeed a great book. Thanks.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ayomide.akinkugbe Ayomide Akinkugbe

            Oh yeah it is a great book! Down to earth, authentic and so practical. I savoured every page while reading, handed it over to a friend and got another copy to read again. Great stuff!

  • ConnieL

    Thank you for sharing and reminding us that God’s plans are always the best and in our best interest.  I have just been struggling with this.  My family moved about a month ago to a new city for a transfer with my husband’s job.  I have been looking for much longer than that for a job, trying to be patient and wait on God’s timing.  Yesterday I went to an interview and was hired to begin work this morning. 

    I admit I don’t always handle Plan B with as much grace as I would like, but I pray God isn’t finished with me yet.  Thanks again!

  • http://emuelle1.blogspot.com Eric S. Mueller

    A pastor I appreciate, Patrick Mead, once said “God is in the interruptions”.

    • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

      I definitely agree that he is in the interruptions

  • http://www.nginaotiende.blogspot.com Ngina Otiende

    Wow, awesome insight Michael, as always!

    I have just tweeted your quote “My Plan B is often God’s Plan A. Nothing happens by accident. To quote Richard Rohr, “everything belongs.”” 

    So so true.

    I find that when I put a lot of effort and planning at something, I struggle with Plan B. I question and scratch my head at God, internally thinking “God, You should have informed me about this earlier, will sure have saved us a lot of time and re-directed my focus to this plan B!” :). 

    But slowly and surely, I have been learning to let go, flow, breath and understand that He is in control and will never drop me. He makes it all alright anyway. 

    Thank you for sharing Michael. Am always blessed and changed by your insights.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Ngina. I appreciate that.

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    I don’t understand. Your Plan A was to met fly to Colorado Springs to meet a friend for dinner at 7pm. 

    So you flew into Colorado Springs and met your friend for dinner at 7pm. 

    I don’t see a “Plan B” here. 

    Sure, your flight was cancelled and you had to take a later one, but  “If my flight is cancelled I’ll see if I can get a later flight” doesn’t strike me as a genuine Plan B but as a Plan A* at the most.  A real Plan B would have been to scrub Colorado for the day and go to NYC and watch the Rockettes or something. 

    You’re saying “God’s Plan A” was to make you wait for a later flight? Did anything remarkable happen at the airport during your unscheduled three-hour wait? 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The point here is that it looked like my plans were being scuttled. I could either trust God or panic. In essence, it was a fire drill. The path was Plan B, though I arrived safely at the Plan A outcome.

      • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

        Ever seen The Out-of-Towners with Jack Lemmon? A classic. It also starts out with a domestic plane ride and a dinner reservation, but then God has quite a different Plan A.

  • Sherri

    This is one of the most freeing things I’ve learned as a Christian. I like to be in control (won’t say control freak, but…) but it actually lifts a weight from your shoulders – often one you don’t even realize is there – when you can relax into the fact that God’s got it well in hand, whatever IT is. 

    It doesn’t mean we will never be disappointed when plans get changed. That’s just human. It does mean we can actually anticipate with great enthusiasm the experience that God has for us. He never disappoints!

  • Joseph

    Life is like reading a book. A new page each day, with a different story and outcome. We simply just get to participate. Actually no matter how much planning I do, each story will simply unfold as if I have virtually no control.
    Isn’t it just great, no knowing, just accepting everything as it happens. Once we realize and accept we live wholey within Gods control, life gets much simpler and less stressful.

    I reached the conclusion many years ago, when I put my feet out of the bed in the morning I have only two choices. Wear the black socks or the white ones. After that anything can happen, no matter what I may have planned previously.

  • http://www.chaplainmike.com Mike Hansen

    A sure sign of maturity and seasoned living is to believe our Plan B (or on down the alphabet) is often God’s plan A. Why can’t we have more peace of mind about that? I will say, however, things happen that God never intended but if we let Him, He can make something beautiful come from something bad. As a hospital chaplain, believe me, I’ve seen it first hand.

    And personally, a decade ago, my Plan A was thwarted when quite literally ALL doors opened for a move across country for our young family. After 3 months of unemployment, however, God Himself intervened and I haven’t looked back since. He is good.

    Thanks for insights-they are valuable!

  • http://www.jennajeske.com Jenna Jeske

    I’ll be the first to admit, I get easily stressed out when my Plan A is changed.  However, I am learning to trust God more and more.  If we submit to His plans, He definitely takes us on an adventure greater than we could ever have imagined.

  • http://everydaytriathlongirl.com/ Beccah Canada

    We have like minds & spirits. This is me & aren’t we glad for the many Plan B’s life throws us. I am learning to adapt better & better as I advance in my mid thirties. Thanks for the great post.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I have had to learn this over time, too. Thanks.

  • Barbara

    great post— trusting Him is the issue, not matter what!

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    As I get older and have more hindsight, it’s easy to see how God works through the tough times. At the time, plan A’s seem so much better, but as things work out, and when you look back at the events, Plan B’s take you places you would never expect. Just as I have learned more through my failures than success, I’ve learned a lot more about life through the Plan B’s than when things go as planned.

    While I can’t say that Plan B’s aren’t stressful, it is easier now to stop and let God take control. And like you say, Michael, to wonder what adventure awaits me.

  • http://lookforhealth.blogspot.com Nichole Grimwood

    Lol, this is sooooo me. I actually wrote a blog post myself last week about my need to plan and how I’m constantly learning to trust that when I don’t see the outcomes, or they don’t turn out the way I think they will, God is protecting my heart. http://lookforhealth.blogspot.com/

  • http://www.obsessedwithconformity.com Jim Mitchem

    My plan is to say the serenity prayer when I get up in the morning and when I go to bed and try (try) to be cognizant of it throughout the day. Every day I have plans. Yes, I drive to the store for milk. I write a blog post. I do some marketing stuff. I pick up the kids from school. And yes, we plan on bigger things like vacations. But for the really big stuff, I have learned that as long as I’m walking in a right ‘direction’ that things tend to take care of themselves. Opportunities are clearer because I’m not so muddled down with my ‘grand plans’ in life. I think that’s the key – that I’m at least willing to consider that God has a (better) plan for me and my job is to keep my eyes open. 

    At least that’s how it works for me these days. Also, it keeps you humble knowing you’re not the king of your destiny. And humility’s not a bad thing either.

  • http://www.suttonparks.com Sutton Parks

    Yesterday’s message was you either do or you don’t. Today’s message is a bit different. Just because circumstances change doesn’t mean the goal should. In your example you still made it to dinner on time, you were just flexible with your methods to get there. So I respectfully disagree with the concept of a Plan B. People who have a plan to fall back on are not committed to the goal in the first place. Then again, I could be wrong. I appreciate you and thanks for all you do.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That’s a keen observation. I never have a Plan B to fall back on. But when circumstances override my plans, I embrace them, realizing that there might be a better plan at work. I love the adventure! In fact, when it happens, I like to say, “What does this make possible?”

  • Geoff Little

    Great Post. So glad you mentioned Richard Rohr and Everything Belongs.  

  • http://twitter.com/KellyCombs Kelly Combs

    Great expository preaching on Proverbs 19:21, “Many are
    the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”

    As a bit of Type A personality, I have to remind myself of
    this when things go “wrong” according to my own plans. Learning to
    let it go is a work in progress for me. But I’m growing.

  • http://twitter.com/jimmy_starnes Jimmy Starnes

    Great blog today Michael as I am about to travel to one of the most plan B airports in my life (Chicago O’Hare).  This topic is something that I continue to grow in on my journey.  It is good when  my plan A works out, but it is even more fun and exciting when I get to experience God’s plan A!  Thanks for your wisdom and encouragement.

  • Genea

    I have ceased to be able to plan. Thank you for your insights, they help even though they set a standard I can not, at this time attain. 

  • Yvonne Seballo

    that was extremely interesting. I have to confess that sometimes I am impatient and often gets stressed when things does not work the way I intended it to. I have to learn to take a deep breath and trust that God is in control.

  • http://www.intentionalfamilylife.com Leighton Hart

    Thanks for this great post. I’m definitely bookmarking this one for future reference. I know I want to work out all the details according to my (cough) wisdom and the risk I run is not being open to opportunities and people that God is bringing into my life.

  • Cherith

    “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God!”  Hard to do, but keeping our eyes on Him allows us to move forward into PLAN B, even through the hurt, etc.

    Thank you for keeping us God Focused!

  • Jeff Melvin

    I am, by nature, a planner too! I have a Plan A, Plan B, & sometimes Plan C. It’s the way I’m wired (it’s my way of believing I have control). It’s ok to have a Plan A, but the trouble is caused when a person is so locked into it that it disrupts their life when it goes awry. I read a saying recently that mentioned how the military lays out a plan and that’s ok until the first shots are fired (be flexible).

    I really appreciate & relate to the part of your post below – thanks for putting things in “perspective.”
     
    “In God’s economy there is no Plan B. He is sovereign. As difficult as things get—as chaotic as they may appear—He only has Plan A. And, quite frankly, I’m content to rest in that. I may not understand all the reasons, but I am content to rest in His Providence and enjoy the adventure.”

  • Tony L. Stone

    I’ve learned in life as you said…”nothing just happens”, therefore it’s imperative that we can gain an understanding that for every action there is a reaction. So in times where a Plan A falls through remember how you respond will help determine the outcome of the situation.

    • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

      Amen. God’s looking for those who can respond well to bad situations

  • http://brettcohrs.com Brett

    I love this. I wrote a post a while ago, What is Your Plan B? (http://brettcohrs.com/?p=364)–written because it’s something I’ve needed to work on.  My post was mostly on keeping important disciplines when you have a house full of toddlers and preschoolers. Getting up at 5am should allow enough time for exercise and quiet time, but not when 3 yr olds are also up.

    I’ve had to learn to enjoy those moments (vs. getting frustrated) for what they are and just keep my top 2 or 3 disciplines in focus so I’m aware of other opportunities in the day to build in those commitments.  The result is that I enjoy time w/ the kids and usually am able at least to grab some quiet time or a walk later in the day.

    On the macro level, Plan B usually holds some kind of lesson or opportunity to practice the discipline of ‘acceptance’–that whole’ serenity to accept the things I cannot change’ thing.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Being a parent of small children, you’re always in Plan B mode. :-)

  • Chris

    As always, I appreciate your blog.  This article really spoke to me.  Thank you!

  • http://allthingsloss.com Kevin Mackesy

    Good article…I agree with everything you said here, but I do think it’s easier to accept God’s plan A (your plan B) when it’s a delayed flight.  But that’s just an inconvenience.  Throw in a little suffering (or a lot) and God’s plan A will be harder to accept. 

    Proverbs 16:9 is especially applicable to this post: In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      No doubt. It is much easier. But I consider these smaller inconveniences Resilience Training. ;-)

      • http://allthingsloss.com Kevin Mackesy

        Amen to that.  We won’t be faithful in the big, difficult things if we can’t be faithful in the smaller things first…

        • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

          I like your thinking. I found your statements here line up with your website–“all things loss.”

          • http://allthingsloss.com Kevin Mackesy

            Thanks TNeal…and thanks for checking out my site!

  • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

    My first response usually is disappointment and then trying to figure out what I did wrong, then trying to figure out what everyone else did wrong and what factors were out of control. Then once I’ve done all that I go to God. Maybe I should start going to God first.

    One of the thoughts that goes on during this moment though is Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding etc”

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love that verse. It’s one of my favorites.

  • http://avajae.blogspot.com Ava Jae

    I’m a huge planner myself, so I’ll have to remember this post next time one of my plans go awry. Having to switch my plans around tends to stress me out, but you’re right–God knows what’s best and He’s in control of what happens with our plans.

  • http://www.suttonparks.com Sutton Parks

    “What does this make possible?”. That is great! I will remember to ask myself that question.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I wrote an entire blog post on this a while back.

  • Gina Holmes

    “my Plan B is often God’s Plan A”. This is so powerful. I know that to be true but now I have a nice little soundbite to share with friends and family (and myself) when plan B comes up. I think I’ll go share it now. 

  • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

    I really like when things go exactly as I plan them. It is difficult for me when they don’t. I used to get so stressed and worry about how everything would work out. I am slowly realizing that stressing and worrying doesn’t help. I might as well have a good attitude about the situation because either way I’m stuck. God has been showing me to trust Him and His Plan A. It always works out (maybe not how I imagined) but I am always taken care of, and that is a reassuring thought.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carolinestarrrose Caroline Starr Rose

    My Plan A publishing journey crashed and burned when my imprint closed…just weeks before my ARCs printed. A few months later I was swooped up by another imprint in the same house and went through the editing process again. What resulted was a better book, for which I’m deeply grateful.

  • Ednamking

    Dealing with childhood cancer throws many Plan B’s, both large and small in your path. As my daughter’s illness progressed, it was hard to even have a Plan A. Daily, we relied on God’s grace and daily His grace surrounded our girl. I thought of it like living in a bubble of grace:even as we were fighting one of life’s toughest battles, unexpected joys surrounded us.

    Sometimes it was small things like finding a DunkinDonuts/Baskin Robbins combo right after my daughter asked for donuts and ice cream and I had taken a wrong turn while late on the way to the hospital. I was in a rush buying her treats and the woman behind the counter moved slowly. I chose to be patient, only to find out that she had been moving slowly to allow herself time to think out the kind, faith filled words she had for me and my very sick, bald seven year old. Her faithful words gave me strength that I needed. She was a Plan B unexpected blessing for me.

    I found that Plan B blessings are more evident when we are open to them and maybe that is part of the fun of them.

    The hardest Plan B was that our little Mary Evelyn’s earthly life was not spared. It is hard to see God’s beautiful Plan when facing such a loss, but I believe the Plan B grace bubble is still there, it’s just harder for me to experience it through my grief.

    It’s much harder to be open to Plan B when Plan A was as important as your daughter’s earthly life, but maybe being open to God’s will is still the key to letting His grace flow and His plan unfold.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Edna,

      Your story is a powerful one. Your two examples of unexpected pleasure in Plan B are worth remembering. As I read the outcome, you remind me of why I write. Having served as a pastor and dealt with families who lost children, I know as an outsider how difficult the burden is. I’m currently working on a novel that deals with the loss of a child.

      Again, thank you for sharing your poignant story.

      God bless,
      Tom

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This has to be enormously difficult. I can’t even imagine. Thanks for your faith to move forward. I do believe that in the context of eternity, one day this will all make sense. Thanks again.

    • http://twitter.com/KellyCombs Kelly Combs

      God bless you.  No words, just the hope in Jesus that you will be reunited with your precious daughter again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wzeitner Wayne Zeitner

    Thanks Mike: I can’t remember the last time one of my “A” plans actually rolled out as expected…and the Inc Magazine cover-story on Evernote reinforces your premise.

    I had the pleasure of producing Pete Wilson’s audiobook for “Plan B” and don’t think I’ve ever laughed and cried so much—often at the same time!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SQ254MLJXCY2LUNSPYRHW7B4K4 none

    I like this post, but after much thinking on this topic I am still confused. When your plan A doesn’t work out, is it a sign to move on to plan B, or simply to work harder at plan A? For example, I was expecting to have an article published last week. It was intended to be a fun little one-time thing I did, but I had enjoyed writing it so much I was questioning if writing was the path God intended me to take, instead of the other career path I was taking.

    When my article was cut from publication at the last minute, I took it as a sign that my thinking was off track and I was NOT supposed to pursue writing. But you always hear the tales of someone being rejected 78 times before publication, so what is the real story? In my case, because my OTHER career path was “the road not taken” 10 years ago and I had just decided to return to it after years of “reasoning” myself out of doing it, I felt that the scuttling of my article was God telling me not to get distracted by writing and to stay on the other path. But I’m never 100% sure!

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Your comment reminds me of Jon Acuff’s book “Quitter.” I certainly don’t know if writing or the OTHER career path is your calling in life but, either way, I’d recommend Jon’s book as a part of the discerning process.

      I do know that writing roadblocks, almost published but not quite, will happen. For me, the roadblocks haven’t derailed my plans but they’ve taught me some much needed lessons. The primary one has been that I am serious about the work. It’s not a hobby. It’s a passion. Perseverance in the work comes in a close second.

      I wish you well on your faith journey.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        I should have thought of Jon’s book. It is perfect for this.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You might want to read Seth Godin’s book, The Dip. He deals with this question. It is a very quick read. The short answer is that this is art not science. Thanks.

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  • http://www.betterhealthtoday.co Kay Wilson

    Hi Michael, this is such a valuable  post and the comments you received are also “golden’ . I pray daily for God’s direction and leading but as I move ahead each day, I always think I am in control with my plan A….knowing that God gently closes doors to me and I love seeing what lesson He is teaching me with His plan A.

  • Sharon K Owen

    This was a perfect day to read Plan B. I was downsized from my corporate job in 2009. In so many ways it was a blessing because it gave me the opportunity to spend more time writing. I published my first novel in July and will publish the second in the series in March. Of course, I still have to earn an income and and have gone back to university teaching through on-line classes at the University of Phoenix. I love the model of teaching at U of P and my classes but, like all adjunct positions, I can’t count on that income because sometimes the classes don’t make. I supplement that income with substitute teaching assignments at the local high school, on-line creative writing classes and copy-editing projects. So far, I’ve survived by downsizing, dipping into my savings and, cautiously, using my credit cards. I have faith that I’m on the right path and my online businesses and my books will be successful. But I do have anxious moment. 
    After reading your post, I know that things will work out the way they are supposed to because God manifests things in ways that will be of the greatest benefit to all.
    So I will make my plans A B and more but trust in God’s wisdom in the way they will execute.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Sharon,

      Your story sounds similar to mine–lost job, took up writing, still waiting to make an income from it. I also understand the worry that comes when the bank account dwindles. I would bet you’ve found the manna shows up at the right time in the right amount though. For some reason, God uses our Plan B to teach us to trust His Plan A.

      God bless,
      Tom

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great. Thanks for sharing your story.

  • http://bentheredothat.com Ben Patterson

    “Your Plan B is often God’s Plan A.”  Great line.

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    I used to fly off the handle when things didn’t go my way. It was almost expected of me to lose my cool. Then God got a hold of me and my entitlement and did a great work. I still slip up, but it’s amazing how much your stress decreases when you just go with the flow, knowing getting mad isn’t going to change things. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      So true. As someone who travels for a living, I see lots of stressed out travelers. I used to be that way myself. But they I realized, what’s the use. If a flight is canceled for equipment failure, I think, Great. I am so glad they discovered the problem now. The things that seem important or urgent in the moment usually aren’t.

  • http://noahsdad.com/ Noah’s Dad

    Great reminder! I remember when we found out our son was born with Down syndrome almost this time last year. Talk about a plan b…but if it wasn’t for that, http://noahsdad.com/ would have never gotten started, and we wouldn’t have been able to connect with all of the great parents we have been able to connect with, and show that Down syndrome was ok. 

    It’s funny how our plan B normally turns out to be a great Plan A, huh? 

    Thanks Michael for the example you set of how to be in the world, but not of the world.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      First of all, you were wise to include Noah’s eyes in your blog design. They are captivating and gorgeous.

      Your comment reminds me of the strength often found in families with special needs children. I volunteer at the library and my friends’ adult son who only communicates through grunts and grins came in with his daytime caregiver. Steve, the son, says a lot through his limitations. My friends say a lot by the joy they spread wherever they go.

      Your message seems the kind people are both amazed and pleased to hear.

      God bless you, your wife, and Noah.–Tom

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for sharing your story and for your website!

  • Cfpagels

    Love your story.  I have found the same thing over the years.  Wish I always responded in a way that acknowledged these truths you have shared!  When I do, though, He always blesses me like that – e.g., 7:00 exactly!  He is in control.

  • Rob Sorbo

    While I do make tentative plans, I’m definitely not a planner. I will decide a basic course of action, but I don’t have any troubles if things get bumped.

    My wife, however, does not go with the flow as easily as I do. We used to work in the same building, so we would drive together. I remember having her yell at me because we would be a few minutes late on a snowy morning and then she would frantically call her coworkers to let them know she would be in at 8:05.

    I try to be sympathetic and empathetic…but all the while I’m thinking “this is pathetic!”

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Your last line made me laugh. Depends on the day and the destination as to who panics more at our house. If it’s someplace I want to be, I panic. If it’s off to her mother’s, she panics. We can both be pathetic but I tend to arrive at that condition more often.

      Isn’t that pathetic?

  • Carlos Reynaldo

    Thanks for sharing this Michael, the longer I’m around the more convinced I’m that evrything is always in perfect order regardless of how chaotic it may seem up close. From God’s eye view all is well..all is good..all is God all the time.

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  • Anonymous

    I see why A did not work so I know how to proceed with B.

  • http://twitter.com/JessBlogSchmog Jessie Gunderson

    There is only plan A in my book. Just kidding! Though that’s what my natural person thinks. Like you, I’ve learned that God shows up when “do-do happens” and it’s so much more fun!

    My favorite plan B happened when we were building our house. The framing lumber was late. When the truck finally came and unloaded the boards, we got a tape measure right away hoping to get a little done before dark. I quickly discovered that the 8′ studs were wrong. They’d sent LONGER boards. I got so mad thinking it would delay us again but in the end my stress wasn’t warranted because they had us keep them for the price of the 8′ studs and I have nice tall ceilings because my plan A didn’t work! 

    God definitely used that year to cool me off and now when things go awry I usually anticipate something neat instead of freaking out.

    Thanks for posting this. I enjoy your story telling and the encouragement to stress less this season.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Jessie,

      Thanks to a previous comment of yours, I knew you’d have an interesting tale to tell. You did not disappoint.

      Thanks for sharing,
      Tom

      • http://twitter.com/JessBlogSchmog Jessie Gunderson

        Ah, I have many tales to tell only sometimes that too can get me in trouble. ;) Have a Christ filled day!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great example! Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.hope101.net Lori Tracy Boruff

    One night as I watched my life unravel (seemed like plan E at that point) I cried out to God that my life was unraveling.
    The Holy Spirit gave an immediate response:  Satan wants you to believe your life is unraveling. God doesn’t work that way. In Him, your life UNFOLDS…as it unfolds, it becomes whole.

    From that night on I have kept that perspective – no matter what happens my life is unfolding.

    What do I do when Plan A seems to unravel?   PRAY FOR THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The difference between unraveling and unfolding is a great distinction. Thank you for that.

  • http://www.hope101.net Lori Tracy Boruff

    One night as I watched my life unravel (seemed like plan E at that point) I cried out to God that my life was unraveling.The Holy Spirit gave an immediate response:  Satan wants you to believe your life is unraveling. God doesn’t work that way. In Him, your life UNFOLDS…as it unfolds, it becomes whole.From that night on I have kept that perspective – no matter what happens my life is unfolding.What do I do when Plan A seems to unravel?   PRAY FOR THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE!

  • Ben H Berson

    Thanks so much for your post Michael! God’s plan for us and the way he closes the wrong doors and opens the right doors always amazes me. His plans turns out better than we would have had it if we Had it our way. It is often in retrospect I am more thwkful as I see how things would have unfolded not wo well if my plan A had gone through! I am so glad for all the God-override moments in relationships, schedules, train timings, traffic intersections too!
    This article is suly a masterpiece, I am going to book mark it for posterity! There is a blessing waiting to be encashed but our attitude is the faith we demonstrate to appropriate it!

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Your story reminds me of my first visit to Moscow. Our team flew from the Russian Far East to Khazakstan by way of Moscow. With a lengthy layover, we made arrangements to meet a Russian church leader at Lenin’s tomb (a person we would meet for the first time in a place we’d never been before). After an 8-hour flight, we caught two taxis (big group). One broke down. The other needed gas. In addition, the driver had to stop by his apartment to pick something up. Despite an 8-hour flight, heavy Moscow traffic, all the mishaps on the way, we ended up meeting the church leader only five minutes later than originally scheduled.

    Were we stressed? You betcha! Did we need to be? Not at all. Even if we’d arrived later, our friend would have understood. After all, it was Russia in the mid-90’s. The interesting thing to note is how much more amazed and grateful we were at God’s timing.

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    I am a planner by design, not by nature.  This is a skill I’ve had to learn in ministry.  But it has become almost second nature to me now.  So, when something doesn’t go according to my plan, it’s easy for me to become upset.  i used to stress, and vent my frustration aloud.  But I’m becoming more and more aware of what God has in store may be better than my plans.

    For example:  I’ve been toying with the idea of a stand up desk for several months.  I’d seen one on another blog and it got me to thinking, but I eventually put it in the back of my mind.  Your post the other day, the sitting is killing you infographic, renewd that thinking in my mind.

    I’ve even found a piece of furniture that I want in my office at my church.  But it’s $400.  Not something I can afford right now.  My initial thought process was “How can I get this?”  I considered financing, but don’t want to do that.  Plus, there is an 18% discount for cash payment.  A wise friend told me last night, if God decides that I need this desk, he’ll provide a way.  I know this to be true, but sometimes it’s difficult to know this is true.

    I decided to wait for a few days.  Yesterday, I received a check in the mail for some work I did for our local public school’s sporting events.  And a couple of my eBay auctions sold today.  All of this provided the exact amout needed for me to get the desk I want!

    Glad I didn’t rush ahead and finance something without taking time to pray.  I would have paid way more than I needed to!   

    As you mentioned, my plan B may actually be God’s plan A.  Thanks for posting this!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Beautiful story. I love it! Thanks.

  • http://www.eileenknowles.com Eileen

    Great thoughts.  As I was reading it I kept thinking… this reminds me of Pete Wilson’s book.  Haha!  Great book.  I’ve had many Plan Bs in my life.  I’ve learned to  live…expectantly without expectations.  God is in control and no matter what, His plan is always the best! 

  • http://theordainedbarista.com Barry Hill

    Pastor and blogger Pete Wilson has a book entitled Plan B that talks about this very thing in detail. Recommend.

    http://www.planbbook.com/

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I mentioned this in the last paragraph of my post. Thanks.

      • http://theordainedbarista.com Barry Hill

        Did you see his interview with Matt Hasslebeck? Pretty cool stuff.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          I did not. Thanks.

  • Jamiecook

    Beautifully put :D

  • Anonymous

    “My Plan B is often God’s Plan A.” Wow, that’s a keeper. A friend of mine once offered a variation — “All Life Is Plan B.” Man, does that put things in perspective.

    It seems to me that this is right at the heart of the one of the greatest stories in the Old Testament. Let me illustrate with a personal story of my own.

    I had married my high school sweetheart, but the marriage hit a rough patch when she fell in love with someone else. Everything we’d built and shared for 22 years was going to be destroyed. I couldn’t make sense of it. I was driving in my car listening to the NPR when a theologian came on to discuss modern morality. This led to his re-telling the story of Job. I was not a Christian at the time, and wasn’t really familiar with this story, beyond the phrase “the patience of Job” (which turns out to be filled with irony).

    I was spellbound by this story. I pull my car over to the side of the road to concentrate on what he was saying. Finally he described Job shaking his fist at God and saying, “Why are doing  this to me? Don’t you have a plan for me?” And God answered, “Yes, but it’s not for you to know what it is.”

    This was an epiphany. I had been living my life as if, like Job, I was entitled to my “Plan A” because I was a “good person” who lived a life of virtue. Then I ‘got it.’ Yes, there was a plan…but it was God’s plan, not mine, and any assumptions I made about knowing that plan were my own pipe dreams.

    I’ve never forgotten that moment. Yes, there is a plan. If I know what the plan was, I wouldn’t have the pleasure of living the mystery of it — of watching it unfold.

  • http://www.n2growth.com/blog Mike Myatt

    Hi Mike:

    The art of contingency planning is something that good leaders tend to focus on. That said, it’s also something which is often overlooked by the arrogant and overconfident. Following is a post that addresses this topic in greater detail: http://www.n2growth.com/blog/contingency-planning 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for sharing that link, Mike.

  • Anonymous

    My plan A which in reality leads to my plan B is: “Be ready not to be ready”.  When B arrives I have to learn to let go of the plan A that is going away.

  • Jamiecook

    Just yesterday, everything I touched, I dropped it or spilled it, or broke it, and when I was in a hurry I would get caught on something, or had to double check something, or turn back around… I have these moments often.. I get frustrated at first, but then I laugh and throw up my white flag and ask for God’s assistance. 

    As a result to this day, I was reminded that these are petty things and yet I can call upon my Lord (and I think He wants it that way), and I had comical reliefs with coworkers and friends due to “accidents” and “two-left feet” moments.

    PLAN B- I love it… keeps me on my toes (or in this case my two-left feet)

  • Paula Lee

    I think this concept is very difficult for a younger person to comprehend, although not impossible.  I’m learning to let go more, in spite of all of my careful planning, and see what God ends up doing.  I;m on the other side of fifty.  Living this way makes life a lot less stressful, but still frustrating sometimes because you don’t see the puzzle coming together or at least not the way you thought everything would fit together.  Looking at life as an adventure though and each day as a journey, that may not have my perfect ending everyday, has freed me to enjoy God’s grace and provision.  I have read the Plan B book, an excellent read, especially when tragedy strikes your family.  I have yet to do the exercises he has but I have recommended the book to the counseling center at our church.

  • http://www.kilroywashereusa.wordpress.com Effie-Alean Gross

    I totally agree: often our plan B is God’s plan A. We may be caught off guard, but all along, God had a perfect design. Moving in His direction is the only way to go!

  • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

     I’m a bit of a planner myself, I backup plans for my backup plans!  It can really drive me nuts at times, but it’s how I operate so I don’t fight it! 

  • http://www.joeyo.org Joey O’Connor

    I am on Day 10 of a raging head cold…is that Plan C, D or E!

    Seriously, I realized yesterday how discouraged I was being sick for so long. It grates against everything in me to feel so sluggish and unproductive. Then, I realized, “Okay, you are a human and humans get sick…get over your inability to get over being sick.”

    I’m reminded in James 4 that God “gives grace to the humble.”

    Sickness has a way of reminding me that I’m not all-powerful. God is and my walk with him, like my marriage, is in “sickness and in health.”

    All I can do is take care of this temple He gave me and leave the rest to Him.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, and what does your sickness make possible?

      My daughter’s boyfriend was recently hit on his bicycle by a hit-and-run driver. It knocked him unconscious and broke his hip. The driver left him for dead and an off-duty police officer found him. It’s a miracle he didn’t die.
      He had emergency surgery and was in tremendous pain for the first few weeks. He can’t put any weight on his leg for 12 weeks. He’s basically out-of-commission.
      However, I challenged him with the question, what does this make possible? This period of forced rest is giving him the opportunity to develop several business ideas he didn’t previously have time to pursue. I had a similar experience when I broke my ankle.
      Thanks.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, and what does your sickness make possible?

      My daughter’s boyfriend was recently hit on his bicycle by a hit-and-run driver. It knocked him unconscious and broke his hip. The driver left him for dead and an off-duty police officer found him. It’s a miracle he didn’t die.
      He had emergency surgery and was in tremendous pain for the first few weeks. He can’t put any weight on his leg for 12 weeks. He’s basically out-of-commission.
      However, I challenged him with the question, what does this make possible? This period of forced rest is giving him the opportunity to develop several business ideas he didn’t previously have time to pursue. I had a similar experience when I broke my ankle.
      Thanks.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, and what does your sickness make possible?

      My daughter’s boyfriend was recently hit on his bicycle by a hit-and-run driver. It knocked him unconscious and broke his hip. The driver left him for dead and an off-duty police officer found him. It’s a miracle he didn’t die.
      He had emergency surgery and was in tremendous pain for the first few weeks. He can’t put any weight on his leg for 12 weeks. He’s basically out-of-commission.
      However, I challenged him with the question, what does this make possible? This period of forced rest is giving him the opportunity to develop several business ideas he didn’t previously have time to pursue. I had a similar experience when I broke my ankle.
      Thanks.

      • http://www.joeyo.org Joey O’Connor

        Great question Michael…thank you!

        And to note, I was one-month into triathlon training feeling better than ever health-wise.

        So, sickness makes possible…

        A new appreciation for taking even better care of my body (rest & nutrition).
        Humility
        Appreciation for the overall good health I do have.
        An increased reliance on God.
        And gratefulness I didn’t get hit by a truck!

        Keep up the awesome posts…I recommend this site often! This is one great blog to draft off of…

  • Elizabeth

    Excellent blog post!

    I’m living in the midst of crumbled “Plan A” right now, and am waiting to see how God confronts the looming giants of unemployment, no funds, and a house that won’t sell.
    On the other hand, there is a strange peace, because I know that I followed His lead. I have no doubt that I am right where I am supposed to be. I just don’t know how He’s going to approach the problems that no amount of busy-ness or planning can solve.

    So I lean on verses such as Jeremiah 29:11 — ” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope,” and Philippians 1:6 — “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will
    continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ
    Jesus returns” (NLT).

    This “Plan B” stuff is certainly an exercise in walking by faith!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good for you! You are in the midst of writing a great story.

  • Kevin

    Depends on how much I’d been banking on Plan A. I realize that’s not the “correct” answer, and it’s less true as time goes by. The recovery time is now (depending on the size/nature of the switch) down to usually minutes, rather than hours or days… :)

  • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

    Thanks for sharing this post!

  • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

    One of my fav verses is Proverbs 16:9:

    “In the heart a man plans his course, but it is the Lord who determines his steps.”

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love that verse, too.

  • Bob Landham

    How I am going to respond to this season of Plan B is where credibility is created. Even Plan B is easier when the big rocks of my life were already in the jar.

  • http://www.angelashelton.com Angela Shelton

    This is a great reminder to not be attached.  How to make God laugh, tell him your plans!  

  • http://pollyannaonpurpose.blogspot.com/ Jen Moore

    “Over the years, I have learned that my Plan B is often God’s Plan A. Nothing happens by accident. To quote Richard Rohr, “everything belongs.””

    Thanks for the reminder it’s OK to give the planner permission to go off duty– that everything works together for good. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/McNairWilson C. McNair Wilson

    My dad always said, “All of life is ‘Plan B’ – – have a back up on everything.” He was NOT a fatalist. In fact, he was about the most optimistic, “can do”, person I’ve ever known. He knew that all the pieces of any project were not entirely in his control. Hence: Plan B and sometimes he had a Plan C (on the fly.)

    The great actor, director, raconteur, Peter Ustinov emerged from the front door of New York’s Plaza Hotel one morning and was greeted by the young doorman.

    “Have a nice day, sir.”

    Without missing a beat, the ever-witty Ustinov said, “I’ve made other plans.”

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great quote, McNair. Thanks!

  • Jim Martin

    Michael, this is a great post!  

    I remember some years ago when I could get tied up in knots inside, when Plan A did not work.  I might not have shown the tension outwardly but inwardly, I would be a mess.

    Then one evening I had been traveling and arrived at the hotel where I would be staying for several days.  I was at the desk about to check in, when a man in line ahead of me exploded with anger.  Something had not gone right with the rooms that he reserved.  It was late at night and the person at the desk promised to resolve it the next morning.  The man began to yell and literally pound on the desk with the palm of his hand.  People began to gather and watch this guy, now red in the face as he demanded and threatened the hotel employees.

    I thought about this long after the trip.  Sometimes Plan A just doesn’t work.  Yes, it is frustrating.  However, I don’t want to take my anger out on the very people who are trying to help me with Plan B until they can get something resolved.

    Thanks.

  • http://www.SpencerMcDonald.net Spencer McDonald

    Yes… stuff happens!I am also a detailed planner. My plans include fine details. They probably stems from my need to be ready at a moment’s notice for anything crazy to take place when I was a child. It was survival of the fittest. It was paramount I have option A, option B, and option C just in case.What I passed on to my children were these two things.1.       Always plan three steps ahead. Think into the future. See different scenarios and how you might respond.2.       Practice, practice, and practice. My son despised this one the most. And today he uses it because it helps him be the best in life he can be because he practices, and practices, and practices at what he intends.I like your plan B theory and I feel strongly about a plan C as well.  Again, great stuff.

  • Anonymous

    Great post, Michael, and so true!

    I dedicated an entire chapter to this topic in my recent book, “So You are a Believer…Who has been through Divorce…”

    So many people, after a major life catastrophe, such as divorce, live their lives as though they have missed God’s perfect plan and must now settle for a Plan B, second-best life.

    We, too often, fail to recognize or remember that with God there is no plan B.  If we belong to Him, and are following the leading of the Holy Spirit, then we are directly on track for all that He has pre-ordained for us, no matter what circumstances have preceded.

    Thanks for posting!

  • Steve Norman

    I  get frustrated–  not a good thing.  But then  with  time —  ” God’s time ”  I realize  i am blessed…

     Thanks for the article

  • http://checkmatesystem.com Mary

    “Over the years, I have learned that my Plan B is often God’s Plan A. Nothing happens by accident.”  This is so encouraging!

  • http://tangoleadership.wordpress.com/ PoulAndreassen

    It is amazing to know that
    there are articles like this on web which actually takes the meaning of
    leadership to new aspect

    In God’s economy there is no
    Plan B. He is sovereign. As difficult as things get—as chaotic as they may
    appear—He only has Plan A.

    I really appreciate that
    quote it is really true. Another golden article

     Thanks you…

  • a a

    yes

  • http://www.irunurun.com/blog/ Travis Dommert

    Perfect perfect perfect for today.  Yesterday was such a total disaster (computer problems, sick child, newborn not sleeping, cancelled meetings).  Thank you so much for reminding me that yesterday went EXACTLY according to plan…just not my plan.

    Great reminder.  Who knows what would’ve happened if I’d been on the roads or at the office yesterday!  Thanks, Michael.

    -Travis

  • Gemma KM

    I think this is a great post, so often we strive for Plan A and forget that it might not be the right path for us. I think if you want something to happen its good to strive hard, but once you start to notice blockers and things pointing you in another direction you have to wonder if Plan B is where you really should be, in the workds of the Desiderata ‘ Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.’

  • Anonymous

    “Plan B is usally God’s Plan A”…swooshhhh! I believe you’re right about that one!!

  • Pingback: Peace that Surpasses Comprehension « brandonweldy()

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    I think major chunck of our life is the result of ‘Plan B’ executed. It may not be Plan A. What happens in reality will not coincide with our expectation always. I feel life is like a trade-off. We need accept the truth/ reality and move forward with we got.

  • http://twitter.com/PatWooldridge Patricia Wooldridge

    Years ago I learned I had to have a plan and an alternate plan; before that, even, I discovered valuable information (paraphrased here)—don’t go saying tomorrow we will go and do this or that, for we don’t know what tomorrow holds. Not everything goes according to OUR will. There are time and unforseen occurrences that befall us all. So, I need to keep right principles in mind, learn patience,  and remember that I don’t run the universe.

  • http://struggletovictory.wordpress.com Kari Scare

    Funny that I read this post right after making a mistake and suffering some disappointment at the result of the consequences from that mistake. I messed up and was trying to get over being hard on myself, when I read this post and realized that God was using my mistake to redirect me to His Plan A. Yes, I messed up, but it was because I didn’t do some things I should have done. God allowed me to feel the consequences, which is helping me to get back on track. This is a small example, but it’s one that has been repeated enough in my life for me to totally get what you said when you wrote, “I have learned that my Plan B is often God’s Plan A. Nothing happens by accident. To quote Richard Rohr, “everything belongs.”
    I think Plan B is God’s way of reminding me that He’s in charge.” I forget to often that God is in charge and that no amount of my “doing” will change that. Thank you for this post. It has served to help get me back on the right path. 

  • http://talesofwork.com kimanzi constable

    You must have been reading my mind, a couple weeks ago I wrote a post about this subject:
    http://talesofwork.com/blog/2011/11/using-plan-b/

    • http://www.distractedbyprayer.blogspot.com Shannon @ Distracted by Prayer

      Thanks, Kimanzi!
      I enjoyed reading your post.

      • http://talesofwork.com kimanzi constable

        Thank you for reading, would love to have you come back!

  • http://hackmybusiness.com Hack My Business

    Nice article Michael & a great reminder too.

    Let me share my story. January this year, my wife & I plan a trip to Vietnam. To safe money, the idea is to fly into Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) & take an internal flight to Hanoi, make our way down South & fly out from Ho Chi Minh.

    We were busy to finish our work so just had enough time to plan things for the North &  figure we will get online & make our plans as we go down.

    The things is the flight to Hanoi got delayed & then cancelled. Buying 2 tickets from another airline was too expensive & arrive in Hanoi at 2am. 2am in a strange city was out of the question. Not sure if the hotel will keep a room for us as well. So Plan A down the drain.

    So we struck out Hanoi & decided to just concentrate on South Vietnam. While we were there, we constantly checked the weather in Hanoi & the mountains which we planned to go. Apparently, it was so cold at zero degrees that buffaloes died in the field. We weren’t prepared for that cold. We can’t stand cold since we are from a tropical country.  That was Plan B. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. Looking back, we were thankful that Plan A didn’t work out. The nice view at the north was all fogged up. We would have spent a lot of money for a lot of nothing. Probably holed up in the hotel to keep warm.

    We met an Aussie couple later in the trip who told us they couldn’t stand the cold temperature up North & flee from there.

    I have to admit, while I’m better at Plan B when I’m on vacation, it kind of sucks in day to day when things don’t work as plan

  • http://www.distractedbyprayer.blogspot.com Shannon @ Distracted by Prayer

    You are speaking my language with this one!  Having a concrete plan can be an exercise in frustration, especially when kids are involved.
    Praying the words Moses prayed as he set out to offer up his son has helped me.  It is three simple words:  “Here I am.”
    Here I am- in the middle of the airport
    Here I am- snowed in for the third day in a row
    Here I am- nursing a sick child
    God shows up, time and again, and puts His plan A in place.
    Thanks for the excellent reminder, Michael!

  • Anonymous

    The principle of trusting God when our plans go awry would save us a lot of stress and anxiety.  We’re studying Daniel on Wednesday nights right now.  Last night, we were looking at when Nebuchadnezzar sent the order to kill all the wise men.  Daniel responds with “counsel and wisdom”, not panic and chaos. He had learned the lesson you’re relating.  Thanks for the reminder today.

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  • Utelenenugent

    You have blessed me so tremendously with your PLAN A and PLAN B scenarios.  I have been praying for more faith, and these kinds of affirmations is very timely indeed.

    THANK YOU!

  • Ajpminer

    I learned years ago from repeated experiences with a friend who was often delayed or late for our weekly appointments. I was tempted to be irritated. But soon decided I would make the best of the situation and take work with me that I could do while I waited. I would take a book I was reading, or some writing or I would make myself at home and play on her piano!  It was a great bonding time for the two of us, as she had several children and a husband who would without fail have emergencies or just need her.  Over the years, I have found this strategy works so well. I am in control of my reactions, and the underlying message to myself is that I trust that with God’s help things will work out . And they have, because of this strategy, I experience peace with my life and the very mortal,like me, people in it.

  • http://specializingintheimpossible.wordpress.com/ Laura Johnson

    I am definitely a planner! My dad taught me how to look at the big picture, consider every angle and every possible natural consequence, before making a decision. But fortunately (for my husband :) ) I still see ‘plan B’ as an adventure. For example, when we’re on a road trip and run into a detour, I settle back in my seat and look forward to the adventure….seeing areas I’ve never seen before and who knows what we could run into! :) ‘Plan B’ may make us late, may keep us from doing something or seeing someone…but most of the time we’re still alive! Let’s enjoy it :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patti-Schieringa/100000060620784 Patti Schieringa

    Plan A: Nice soak in my walk-in tub. Two nights ago.
    Problem:  The drain won’t drain. Hmmm. God, I’m going to need your help. 
    If I climb out from the seat onto the large Samsonite luggage piece I use for a reading stand, I might slip.  No I’d better tip it over. It’s too tall. I won’t be able to jump   onto the floor. Why else did I get the walk-in tub in the first place?  I hold on to the edge of the tub(cage) with my left foot on the suitcase. My free hand and a prayer lifts my stiff leg out.
    Plan B or C? I rinse off the plunger and after several pushes in the knee-high water, I hear a clink, and the water moves down.   
    God knew when I needed to replace the basket weave barrel with the luggage piece …   where the best place to have luggage is where you have to go.

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  • Andrea4279

    So very true…I am a planner as well and have found myself quite frustrated through the years when my initial plans fall through.  In fact, right now, I’m going through a setback with my Plan A after getting laid off from one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.  What you say is true, Michael.  Flexibility is required in order to make room for the great adventures that lie ahead.  And, by the way, Black Bear restaurant is fabulous.  Good choice :)

  • Cherylaldridge2010

    Good story, makes me think of the article I read, where the writer says, “man plans…God laughs”

  • Jason

    I know I’m 9 months ago getting involved in this convo, but I wanted to thank the website owner(s) for posting so many enlightening and thought-provoking articles.  Embracing Plan B is a good read as well, although (at the moment) I disagree with the writer–I do tend to think that there is a Plan A and B in our lives.  That would be a lively discussion for another time, maybe.  At the moment, though–as a divorced, mid-thirties individual with ADHD–I’m going to post recent events of my life story here, with the knowledge that, even if no one reads or cares to hear what I have to say, at least God–in His love, hatred, or both of me-will at least read it.

    **************************
    So….I returned home from a day of weedwhacking and manicuring lawns, covered in grass clippings, checked my email and received an unexpected message: a person that I knew in the forestry field had notified me of a soon-to-be available position involving forestry work. Specifically, it was an opening for something I had been involved in as a volunteer several months ago. Except this time, it wouldn’t be volunteer work—it would be labor in exchange for those nice, green, rectangular pieces of paper. Pika pika!With an ecstatic sense of hope in my being, I printed off the necessary paperwork, filled it out, and mailed it in. Paperwork can be such drudgery but it’s gotta be done!There are actually four spots available for this project; it is only an interim job that is supposed to last a certain number of months, but that’s OK. In my eyes, it would seem the opportunity of a lifetime. I knew my application would be in competition with other college applicants, kids who would have more college and official learning under their belt than I, but I suppose it would be better to try and fail than not attempt at all (for the record, I have an Associate degree from a long time ago, have been through a ‘Master Naturalist’ course [I prefer Citizen Naturalist, JMO] and have had quite a bit of volunteer experience with forestry and conservation)Then, yesterday, I received a nice little notice: jury duty. Trial and jury selection will begin September 10th. Hiring for the four job entries begins September 16th. The letter says the trial could last up to 10 days. Hmmm…the time periods overlap, don’t they? If I’m selected for jury duty, this would present a problem. Tartar sauce! No, actually, my real words were a bit more profane than that. We all know that, by federal law, an employer must allow an employee to serve on jury duty if that is required. Of course, no such thing is applicable to someone who hasn’t been hired by that same employer! It’s possible that I won’t ultimately be selected. But what if I was? What if the trial really did last the full 10 days as advertised? Then it’s goodbye job!Worst case scenario–if I really do miss the job for this reason–then it will have been the second time in a month’s span that I have been knocked out of an opportunity due to things beyond my control. Earlier this month, I filled out a bunch of paperwork and went through a lot of trouble to try and gain entry into an out-of-state community college. The plan was, I would take two online courses, save up some $$, then move to that area and take on-campus courses by January 2013. But a recent law enacted by the federal Department of Education indirectly postponed my plans. This particular law says that now, for a college to approve an out-of-date student for online classes, such college would have to be certified for it, and the community college in question advised me that the certification was very expensive and that they couldn’t afford it. Since I wasn’t in a position to move there right away, guess what?Maybe it’s a test from God, the cosmic Creator, a test to develop patience and endurance, maybe hone some skills I will need down the road. It’s plausible. I don’t think it’s a conspiracy of earthly powers against me; I’m really not that significant (insignificance can sometimes be a good thing!) Sometimes–to borrow a phrase from the gamers–hax happens. If it’s hax, I’d like to think it will ultimately prove beneficial! And, of course, there’s the very real possibility that, in spite of everything, I simply won’t get the job, simply because they might find other applicants that they would consider better matches for it. But in the event that I’m not hired, I can at least be grateful to the person who initially told me about it, because I wouldn’t have known otherwise. I think all that we can do sometimes is to enjoy life as we have it the best that we can, and not to grasp too tightly to hopes that might evaporate like the morning fog.

    • Jason

      Ouch.  It didn’t apply the paragraph breaks!  I don’t understand that.  :/

  • Jason

    Why did my comment get deleted?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I don’t think it did.

  • Stephanie W

    I chuckled when I saw this topic.  I really truly believe it!  Sometimes it is not even Plan B though; sometimes it is not even ON my radar screen!

  • http://www.jasonjnicholas.com/ Jason J Nicholas

    I love the train of thought that plan B  is a synchronistic view that our courses are altered for some other purpose that will eventually become evident.  This approach helps me to not stress out during unexpected events. 

  • Mark Guay

    Michael,

    I have mixed feelings on having a plan B. I, too, am an obsessive planner and Plan B has been my navigation in what I have accomplished and done so far in my life. 

    I have tried recently to adhere to Seth Godin’s advice on never having a Plan B because plan B will always occur out of fear to achieve plan A.

    However, I really love how you put Plan B in God’s hands and eagerly wait for plan B’s “adventure” when Plan A doesn’t work out. When I reflect on 2012 and the unanticipated battle my wife has had with Lyme, I see the plan B God has led me down and feel comforted now on the newfound path I am on. 

    Thanks for sharing your adventure.

    Best,

    Mark 

  • Pastordude49

    I remember the cross: When it looked like everything was suddenly falling apart, God’s plan was finally coming together.

  • Sean Heritage

    My life continues to be a succession of Plan Bs, and I couldn’t be more pleased…

    http://seanheritage.com/blog/life-a-succession-of-plan-bs/

  • Mylinda Vick

    I’m thankful that God has a better plan than any of the Plan “A”‘s I could put together. Great story, and so true to life experiences. We can either embrace or reject the opportunity.

  • Micki

    Great post, Michael! I think that embracing Plan B is a product of maturity and experience. It is also acceptance of the power of God.

  • Dale L

    Sounds like a wonderful book.

  • Judy

    As I like to say, flexibility is my middle name!