Friday 24 February 2017

Stop Planning and Start Leaping like a Turtle.

Did the New Year’s Resolution period pass you by? Did January pressures of fresh commitments and goal orientated promises have you confused? Has all the talk about implementing a life plan, committing to a long-term outlook, and fulfilling your dreams bamboozled you? Do you know what the Lord wants you to do, but you just can’t seem to formulate a plan of attack in your mind?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you may be feeling a bit like me. On New Year’s Day my Facebook feed launched into prompts of affirmative life action.

Live your dream.
Make a plan.
Know what you want and go after it.
Don’t let anything stand in your way.

I felt my head spin. I know what my God-given talents are, and how the Lord wants me to use them, but it would be a lie to say I had a firm plan or a golden goal. All I know for sure is that I want to do what the Lord has set for me. I am prepared to work—and work hard—but I can’t seem to get that elusive mental finish line to materialize. I felt like a New Year’s failure.

Then I read the story of Paul in Acts. When he was in jail and being beaten, he made an appeal to Caesar as a Roman Citizen. They took him before King Agrippa, who commented that if he hadn’t appealed to Caesar, Paul could have been set free (Acts 26:32). The appeal he made would now see him sent to Rome. ‘Bet that wasn’t in the plan,’ I thought, but then I had to admit that it clearly was in the plan—God’s plan. Paul was committed to his Heavenly Father’s plan. I’m sure Paul didn’t always know the details of that plan, or the exact location he would be heading, but each and every time, his faith put him squarely in God’s plan.

I realised that, while goals and planning were good, what was more vital was our measure of faith. Our commitment to a plan of God’s making. We may not have any knowledge God’s plan, but that commitment is paramount. Faith and obedience is far better than goals and perceived finish lines.

I started to feel a lot better about my perceived lack of direction. I didn’t lack direction. I knew where I was and where I was heading—in God’s plan, on His path. When I looked back along my life of faith, I realised that there were times I knew what God wanted me to do—the goal was there, but I didn’t know how to make it happen. But God did, and He was waiting for me to take that leap of faith, to trust Him and His direction. And the things He taught me along the way have been wonderful, amazing, life changing.

Then the Lord reminded me of a recent event concerning my son, Tully. One morning, just before Christmas, Tully didn’t want to get out of bed and come for a walk on the beach with me. It was a beautiful morning and the dogs and I were desperate for some sand between our toes. Tully, however, had to be dragged, internally kicking and screaming to the beach. As we walked along, he started to enjoy the day. On the way back we spotted a group of people gathered along one stretch of sand.

Tully and a hatched Turtle egg.

Flatback Turtle hatchlings were making their way down the sand and into the water, and a group of beachgoers had created a guard of protection for them as they commando-crawled their way to the surf. My son joined the onlookers with great delight, watching these little guys crawl to their great beyond. A marine life expert was overseeing the process. She told us only a fraction of these little fellows would survive, and it would be many years before those who saw adulthood could make it back to the same beach. My son remarked that it was sad how so many of them would become a meal in the ocean food chain.

“Yes,” I replied. “But they take that leap of faith anyway, not knowing what is in store. They trust that it will be a great adventure.” We prayed for them, their safety, and that God’s plan for each one of their tiny existences would be realised. 

I then pointed out to my son that the Lord had blessed us that day. Tully would have missed a wonderful spectacle if he had stayed in bed like he wanted to. His leap of the day had produced a blessing he had no prior knowledge of, just like the turtles didn’t know what lay ahead of them. If they had stayed on the beach, contemplating their way, they would have become food for the birds, but their leap of faith into the great beyond had the potential to bring them great things. 

Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. Ecclesiastes 11:1 ESV

Goals, plans and New Year’s Resolutions are positive applications of life (hey, I have an entire book series called ‘Resolution’). But greater than these is faith. Life is about taking a leap of faith into a plan not of our own making, but of God’s, not just every New Year, but every new day, and every new hour.

So, dear reader, if you haven’t made a goal for 2017, contemplate the advantage of this one:

"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”
Isaiah 55:8 NLT

My goal for this year is to be as innocent at a baby Flatback Turtle taking a leap out in faith. My plan is to trust that the Lord has a goal, and a path far greater than anything I could imagine for myself. And my finish line will be determined only by Him.


Rose was born in North Queensland, Australia. Her childhood experiences growing up in a small beach community would later provide inspiration for her Resolution series.
Two of the three Resolution novels have won Australian CALEB awards. She has also released The Greenfield Legacy, a collaborative novel highlighting the pain of Australia’s past policy of forced adoption, as well as standalone novel, Ehvah After. Her most recent release is A Christmas Resolution, which is part of the novella box set, An Aussie Summer Christmas.
Her novels are inspired by the love of her coastal home and her desire to produce stories that point readers to Jesus. Rose holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, and resides in Mackay, North Queensland with her husband and son.

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  1. Rose, great word. Thank you. We can get carried away with our plans and the Lord won't necessarily intervene. As you say the challenge is to stay so close to Him so we can step in sync with Him.

    What an experience seeing the turtles. How special for you and Tully.

    1. Thank you, Ian.

      I'm an ideas person, so sometimes I get a bit carried away. I've come to realise that not all my ideas are good. lol. But it's still a blessing to be full of ideas. I think that makes a good imagination too.

      I've seen turtles hatching a few times now, but Tully was so excited.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

  2. Thanks, Rose--that lovely image of those little turtles heading for the water and the great beyond is firmly in my mind, as I prepare for various things in the weeks ahead. And Isaiah 55:8 is one of my favourite verses too. What a great God we belong to!

    1. They were so tiny, Jo. It was hard to imagine that any of them could possibly survive. But I know they do. I see the big ones when I'm out fishing. Seeing them was a great reminder to us to take hold of that Aussie Spirit and 'have a go'.

      I love that Isaiah verse too. Yes. How great He is, and how blessed we are. :-)

  3. Hi Rose,
    That's a great message. I get tired of the 'Make it happen' type of messages and memes which flood us at this time of year. It adds so much unnecessary pressure on us, since we don't have that measure of control. Having faith in God's plan, like these tiny turtles, is a much better goal. That was a walk not to miss, and I can see why Tully was pleased in the end :)

    1. He was talking about it for weeks. :-)

      I agree - so much unnecessary pressure. Thank goodness for the Lord's plan.

  4. Hi Rose,
    That's a great message. I get tired of the 'Make it happen' type of messages and memes which flood us at this time of year. It adds so much unnecessary pressure on us, since we don't have that measure of control. Having faith in God's plan, like these tiny turtles, is a much better goal. That was a walk not to miss, and I can see why Tully was pleased in the end :)

  5. Beautiful post, Rose :) I'd love to see the turtles hatch. I've also enjoyed our long conversations where we've brainstormed ideas. The wisdom is in knowing and being in His plan rather than pushing our own agendas.

    1. Sometimes it's hard to know that too, because you don't want to become stale, or worse - petrified. It's a delicate balance, knowing God's signal to go, and knowing His direction to stay still. But both are vital.

      I love our long conversations too. Must have one soon. :-) xo

  6. Great message, Rose! really enjoyed it.


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