Life is unpredictable. No matter how many 5 year plans we come up with, how meticulous and strategic we are, or how many vision boards we do, more often than not, life doesn’t turn out how we thought it would. Although life is unpredictable, life goes according to plan. It’s just not our plan. Proverbs 19:20-21 state, “Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days. Many plans are in a man's heart, But the counsel of the LORD will stand” (NASB). When we learn that life goes according to plan, life will be less frustrating for us.
Proverbs highlights the wisdom in listening. Listening goes beyond hearing sounds. It is paying close attention to something so that you can do what is suggested. Trial and error is not always the best way to learn. Many heartaches and headaches can be avoided by learning from others. Living without listening is like skydiving with no parachute. The odds of survival are slim and if you do survive, the injuries that you sustain will make the road to recovery a long and tedious journey.
Proverbs 12:15 states, “Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to advice” (NRSV). We should not mindlessly accept all advice as beneficial for us. Not all advice is created equal. So how do we deal with advice that we receive? Listen to it and have an open heart. Express appreciation for the advice. Evaluate the advice based on the Word of God, the potential outcomes of heeding or not heeding the advice, and how it relates to your purpose and calling. Ask God, “What is it that I need to do with what has been said to me?” Then, decide to implement, discard, or file away the advice. Remember that you will be influenced by those who counsel you, so it is best to have counselors whose counsel is approved by God.
Listening brings about growth. Learning to listen to counsel and accept discipline now means that you will be wise later. The future belongs to those who learn from the past, live in the present and prepare for the future. As we evaluate the outcome of our life, we have to be comfortable knowing that life won’t always go according to our plan, but even so, it is going according to God’s plan. In the midst of all of our plans, we must seek the Lord’s purpose. Through listening, accepting and growing, you position yourself in the right neighborhood. But God puts you on the right street and at the right house. God has a destination in mind for you. If you want to avoid frustration, check with God before you try to implement your plan. Isaiah 14:27 reveals that no one can frustrate the plans of God. When our plan is God’s plan, then our path will be established and what has been planned with come to pass.
Minister Ross' creativity, wisdom, and insight have inspired community, church and corporate audiences throughout the United States.