Many years ago when I was in college, I worked at a Christian bookstore in the customer service department. Our duties in that department included imprinting names on Bibles, managing items that people had special ordered, and wrapping gifts. I became a master gift-wrapper. In fact, I’m pretty picky even now about how gifts look when I wrap them. I like things to be wrapped up in a neat, perfect little box.
I’ve recently realized that this obsession leaks into other areas of my life, too.
I’m a planner. And when I plan, it bothers me when things don’t go according to that plan. Unfortunately, this planning thing extends into what I think God should do with and through my life. Sometimes I try to put Him in one of those nice, neat little boxes. But guess what? God doesn’t work according to our plan. In fact, there are times when I think He is doing the exact opposite, just to teach me a lesson. (Maybe not, but it certainly feels that way.)
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'” – Isaiah 55:8-9
Last week, I posted a video to my Facebook page about what God has been doing in our family in the last couple of months since we went from two full-time incomes down to one. If you missed it, I’ve included it below.
Do you think that the way God has provided for us is the way I had planned? Absolutely, positively not. In fact, His way is probably the last way I would have chosen for this whole experience to go. But let me share something amazing about the way it has gone.
Before I turned in my notice at my old job, my faith was pretty stagnant. I was still faithful to church. I taught Bible Fellowship. I sang in the choir and on praise team. I was even pretty consistent in my quiet time. But otherwise, my spiritual life was just…blah.
I can honestly say that since my family took this step of faith for me to leave full-time work and come home, my faith has grown exponentially. It has grown in ways it could never have otherwise. If God had landed my husband a big promotion or a fat check had shown up in the mailbox, I would not have learned to rely on Him as I have, to trust Him to provide in ways only He can.
Do you remember the old object lesson that people used to teach about trust? Somebody would put a chair in front of the classroom or group of people he or she was talking to and would use a volunteer to come up and sit in the chair. The point was that the person completely trusted that chair to hold him or her up when sitting in it. There are just some things that we don’t doubt. So I’m wondering why we sometimes doubt the One Who is most trustworthy.
Why is our trust in Him so wishy-washy when He’s been so faithful in the past? Why do we constantly try to put Him in our neat, well-planned boxes when He wants to do more? So. Much. More. Why do we limit Him to our piddly little dreams?
How can we “let go and let God,” to use a familiar phrase?
I’m still learning this lesson, but His Word gives us some guidance in this area.
This seems simple, right? But how often do we truly turn it over to Him? Not just during our quiet time or a moment set aside for prayer. During the day when doubt creeps in, pray right then.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6
2) Lay it down daily.
Don’t just give it to God once and expect it to be over. I can’t count the times I’ve turned it all over to Him “for good.” Every single day, I tell Him I’m giving this day to Him and trusting Him to provide and guide for this day. We like to think the Spirit always leads the way, but we are fleshly beings who can’t sustain our faith based on one spiritual experience. It is a daily battle.
“Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you…” – Psalm 55:22a
3) Remind yourself that He is God and you are not.
He does not work the way we do. I have to remind myself of this truth all the time. His plan may be confusing to us, but HE is sovereign, HE sees the big picture, HE knows what path is the best for us. We just have to trust Him on it. And when we look at how things have gone in the past, we will see that He really does know better. Seriously, all I have to do is compare my blessed marriage and my past relationships to see that He really does know best!
I love this quote from the book, The Legend of the Three Trees:
“Sometimes the dreams that we have for ourselves are much smaller than the dreams that God has for us.” – Catherine McCafferty
God wants to do so much more than we could even fathom. We just have to trust His method of doing so and the sometimes bumpy path He chooses to take us there.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,” – Ephesians 3:20
Let Him out of your neat little box of plans! Allow Him to do what He wants to do in your life. You will never regret it.
Love in Christ,
All Scripture references are from the ESV.
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|The Legend of the Three Trees: The Classic Story of Following Your Dreams – eBook
By Dahl Taylor, illus. / Thomas Nelson