As I’m learning more about my faith, trust and the God of our creation, I can’t help but self reflect on the idiosyncrasy’s of my own being. Personality or individual traits that I would defend as God-given. While I do still see truth in that we were all created uniquely and with purpose, I now wonder if some of those traits are actually earth-given instead.
I haven’t found anywhere in scripture where we are guided on how to be in control. Where our perfect planning, orchestrating and preparation for the day is praised as wise and worthy. What if this trait that I deemed as protection is really just the side-effect of pride? What if God did not create us to be controlling humans but trusting children. Children who took the next step into an unknown world, possibly failing, possibly getting hurt but ultimately knowing that with God, we would be safe. Now ‘that’ I have found all throughout scripture, ‘that’ I see proof.
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. -Proverbs 3:5
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. -Romans 8:28
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. _Jeremeiah 29:11
To be honest, there were so many more but I think the point has been made. Be strong and courageous. Do not lean on your own understanding. All things work together for good. This, this is the foundation on which our creation was based. Trusting, following and not always knowing our next step, our next plan. The best way to understand our God is to look at His son, to look at the actions of Jesus. Since we are not fortunate enough to have Jesus walking among us today, we have to look at the stories and facts from those who did walk alongside him. Those that sat and ate with him, listened to his parables and documented it, knowing they were witnessing a once in a lifetime experience. Look at Peter, a fisherman by trade, who literally laid down his pole, with no plans, no money, no hotel booked or bags packed and faithfully followed Jesus. Not because it was all prepared for him but because he saw that there was something greater and more fruitful than his own plans for his life. That Jesus, who had just displayed a miraculous feet of fish, was the real deal and Peter wanted what he was offering. Look at Saul, later Paul, who literally imprisoned Christians for their belief, came to not just follow Jesus but write most of the New Testament because he experienced the God fearing consequences of doing life his own way. Again with no agenda or plan, other than to spread the good news, he set out on a journey to meet and introduce the good peoples of our land to the one God who was real and lived among us.
I hear these stories and wonder how I would have been portrayed by scripture, or if I would have even made the cut. Would I have said, I’m so sorry, give me a few days to get my arrangements made and I’ll be ready. Or would I have looked at him like he was crazy and said, I don’t have enough money or the proper attire to make this journey, but thank you for offering. Sadly, I could see myself doing both. I have gotten so used to the comfort of a “plan” that I have turned down opportunities for the fear of the unknown. But this is not how I believe we were meant to live this life. Yes, we may need gas in our tank to make a cross country drive but we don’t need to know every pit stop, hotel or attraction along the way. That is where the adventure lies!! That is where life begins!!
How many of us can try to stop being so obsessive over the control of our lives and begin actually living in a space of surrender and abandonment for what’s to come. Trusting that the same God that feeds the birds and clothes the flowers will surely feed and clothe us! Will it be less comfortable? Possibly. But will it release that strong hold that we have to control everything. That the outcome is up to us. That we are responsible for our destiny. You see, there is no amount of planning that can insure a safe travel or trip in life. There are just too many elements out of our control. There is weather, vehicles, other drivers and life. Are you prepared for an aneurysm? No. Are you prepared for a heart attack, stroke or car accident out of your control? Absolutely not. But do we walk around with heart monitors, nurses or lock ourselves in our homes? Yeah, me either. I get that there is peace in feeling ‘in control’, believe me, I do. That is why I am writing this out of my own conviction. I am a fellow friend that likes to be have a plan. But I am wandering if I am getting this all wrong. That to really follow and trust in this God that I am learning about, maybe I have to stop. Open my hands and just surrender. This doesn’t mean quit my job, spend my money irrationally and stop living. This means to say yes when we are asked to do something good but out of our comfort zone. This means to get in the car one day, fill up the tank, pack a few snacks and just go. With no plans, no agenda, other than to see what God has in store for us that day. This means getting off our phones long enough to look up and see the humans placed upon our path, and say hi!
Life is not about a well planned agenda. Life is about living in the space you are in right now. It’s not about thinking too far ahead but focusing on the one next step right in front of you. It’s about pursuing the passions placed on your heart with wreckless abandonment. It’s about showing up, being present and living life.
My challenge for us today is to stop planning every day, every moment, every second. To wake up and decide what our day is going to look like.
For my friends that know me best, they know I already struggle with committing to future engagements and trust me when I say, it’s not because I am waiting for something better to come along. It’s because on that day, I may decide to just put gas in the car and go for a ride. And I don’t want to be that jerk that cancels.
Stop planning, start living.