We are a broken people.
As I write this, I am struggling to be obedient. When my plans make sense and seem within my reach, it becomes incredibly difficult to trust God, who never seems to tell me His plan. At least, not enough for my liking. I constantly ask for reasons, confirmation, and my version of His direction.
That’s never His plan.
God is challenging me to be obedient to Him, in His timing, and in His plan for my life. He has given me one reason to be obedient, and that reason is love.
If my husband asks me to trust him and follow his leading, I often respond the same way I do to God. “What’s your plan? I need to know every detail so I can check it for edits. I’m good at planning, please let me help. Actually, just give me your idea and I’ll be sure to do the planning myself. I can do this, no problem!” Then, when I take over God’s perfect plan, or my husband’s, and taint it with my poor understanding, I get frustrated with the outcome. Somebody gets sick, I didn’t get that job, our car broke down again, I have a surprise essay to write in a day’s time, and it goes on and on.
Yet I still try to plan. Sometimes I wish my husband would smack my hand when I begin to plan things out. Sometimes he does, gently, like I would never be able to do. Then I get mad again.
I have convinced myself that proper planning will prevent me from failing, from changes in plans, from struggling, and from making any mistakes. “If I had planned that better, then X, Y, and Z would have turned out better.” When that’s just not the world we live in.
The most amazing thing about being obedient to God is that He knows what will happen. He knows which hearts are prepared for receiving your skills, talents, and gifts. He knows when the car is close to breaking down, and he knows what that will cost you. He knows who you will run into today, and when something will cause you to be late.
He also knows why your body seems to be deteriorating, and he knows what you will gain in the process.
He knows how frustrating mental illness is, and He knows when it will strike.
He knows what my dreams and goals are, and the worst part is, He needs me to surrender them.
Yep. Goodness gracious, that part is hard.
He doesn’t need me to over-analyze it, He just needs me to trust Him.
I find myself spending much of my time worrying about whether my actions are going to be my destruction, instead of allowing God to direct me. I worry instead of reading. I am overwhelmed by the future instead of practicing my skills and finding joy in my life. So, how do I stop worrying and start trusting?
1. Know it will take time.
Like many things in our life, especially for a 22 year old’s life, trust takes time. We have to try and fail, and then try again. Let me encourage you in this. If you have gotten back up, you are on the right path! You have tried again, and that is good. It shows growth, maturity, and a desire for excellence. It shows you are searching after God’s heart and direction for your life. In this, you have added one trust point to your record.
Let the record show, you are growing!
2. You will be uncomfortable.
Growth is uncomfortable. It just is. The more you understand this and become mindful of this discomfort in your life, the more focused you will be on growing your trust. You will spend much of your life uncomfortable. I struggle for security, and this is one of my biggest weaknesses. I have found that taking the time to find my rest and security in Christ will encourage me to stay in the stretch.
3. You will need to be still.
This can be incredibly difficult for most of us. Recently, I have been struggling with this, and I have found that the more I struggle with being still, the more I struggle with trust. It is a direct relationship, and I encourage you to remind yourself of this. If you are going to plan anything, plan for time to be still. It will make the biggest difference in your life.
Plan time with God, and he will plan everything else.
4. Follow your God-given Passions
In those times your struggle with direction and understanding, the simple act of passionate creation can open your understanding. I use the term creation very liberally here. Creation is anything that makes something new, which includes arts, math, science, business, and everything in between. For me, that often means writing or working with design and branding. It can also mean baking or spending time with my family in a creative endeavor. God gives us passions to pursue them, not to let them lay dormant in a time crunch. It is important.
Whatever your are passionate about, make something with it. It can refocus your drive and motivation, which will encourage you to follow God’s leading.
5. Take Opportunities.
“God works in mysterious way.” While it is a cliche, it is true. We might not understand what God is doing, but He will provide an opportunity. If you take it, even if you fail, He will cause your faith to grow every time. Let me restate that: You will probably fail at a God given opportunity, but that does not mean it was not part of His plan. Some of the most immature and least trusting people are those who have never failed and gotten back up. God desires more for your life, so sometimes He will let you fail. Sometimes He will cause you to flourish in success.
This is why we continue to trust Him, because He knows better than we do.
These steps are hard, and they require endurance. They will change your life. Know that God will lead you into wonderful areas you never knew existed, and it will be so worth it.
For more encouragement in following God’s leading, especially in searching after His wisdom, I hope you will join me in reading the book of Proverbs. This book will help you understand the importance of searching after wisdom, which comes through obedience. As we search after God, He will show us more of Himself. As the holder of all wisdom, we will gain wisdom in every step we take with Christ, instead of allowing bitterness to overcome our life.
I pray you have the strength to be obedient in every are of your life.