“God has a plan for me,” is a statement often heard by many of us. But does God really have an individual plan for each of us—a plan that maps our whole lives? One of the best ways to understand what God’s plan is, is to first know what God’s plan isn’t. So here are some points we can consider.

What God’s plan isn’t: A perfect life

When God planned for us to come to Earth, gain experience and exercise our agency, God did not intend for our lives to be perfect and free of struggles. The world would define the perfect life as having a high paying job or a successful career, financial security, a huge house, an expensive car, the freedom to travel around the world, a stress-free life, and most of all being married or in a happy relationship. This may seem like the dream that most people yearn for, but a perfect life like this would forfeit the very reason we are here—to be tried and tested and to reach our full potential. When we agreed to God’s plan, we knew that opposition and struggles would be necessary to fulfill our purpose here on Earth.

Instead of giving us a perfect life, He has given us the fullness of His gospel, that we may learn wisdom and how to live our lives with joy and gratitude. He has also blessed each of us with a family, be it biological or not, friends, and people we can share our joys and struggles with.

What God’s plan isn’t: A predestined life

The idea that God has carefully mapped our lives here on Earth might be a comforting thought, but this is simply not true. If this were a reality, it would take away our agency to choose, and God would never do that. What happens next in our lives depends on the choices we make and how we respond to our circumstances and the choices of others. Whatever happens in our lives, He is always there to comfort and help us if we reach out to Him in prayer. In some cases, He helps us even if we do not ask Him. The old saying, “If you do your best, God will do the rest,” may seem overused, but He is always there to make up for what we lack after all we can do.

What God’s plan isn’t: Identical experiences for everyone

It is no secret that we are all born with different circumstances and each of us will experience mortal life differently. But each of us will encounter tests of one kind or another—be it physical, mental, emotional, financial or spiritual. God, knowing our strengths and weaknesses, puts us in circumstances where we can best grow and develop. We have different experiences and circumstances to help us learn to love others, regardless of race, status or background, to unite despite our differences, and to not judge others.

God has a plan…and that is the Plan of Salvation—a plan for us to come here to Earth to learn and develop, then return back to Him to become joint heirs with Jesus Christ in heaven. Learn more about what God’s plan is for you.