Peace vs. Freak-out mode. These seem to be the two extremes I used to experience. Nothing in between. Either good or bad. One extreme or the other. Until I didn’t anymore. And now I have peace, some freak out modes, but so many in-betweens. And while it isn’t necessarily “easier” in the moment, it’s now easier, in between the moments. And for that, I’m grateful. Peaceful.
To give a little background; one of my strongest memories of these extremes was in college. I had a plan. I planned to be a dentist. No plan B. No need for a plan B because I had THIS plan. Until I didn’t. Because that door was closed. Plan destroyed. Freak out. Too many why’s. Too many why nots. Too much that was completely out of my control. No peace. It was this constant stirring of discontent because my plans didn’t turn out the way I wanted them. Constant stirring, wondering, increased pride and walls went up. Time went on, new plans came into play (and later I of course saw God’s hand in it all along) yet I never truly changed MY approach to planning.
Fast forward many years and my, how things have changed. But not without many more moments that included freak out mode. What was wrong with me? I was trying so hard. Praying so much. Doing all the things. Until I wasn’t…What was this journey I was on? Why were things becoming so much more difficult? So many more emotions? So many more feelings? SO much conviction?
Not too long ago, a friend reached out asking for some help. She said she wanted to be more at peace with the highs and lows of the day. She asked how I could remain so at peace when there were so many things out of my control. I was actually taken quite back, because to me, I didn’t really feel as though I appeared to be peaceful. Even when feeling peaceful, I honestly feel like a hot mess most of the time! I’m just ok with it now. But I also took some time to pray about this and really dig into what had changed. I truly wanted to understand more so I could be of real encouragement to her. Because when I thought about it, I really did have a new sense of peace even compared to just a couple of years ago.
And then it hit me. And it actually hit me when my sweet middle son said the most amazing yet simplest thing. We were driving and he was asking why the headlights didn’t show more of the road ahead than they did. I tried to give some kind of (probably too wordy) explanation and his response was more than he knew it was. “Oh, ok that makes sense. You don’t need to see that far ahead because you aren’t even there yet.”
That was it! That is what had changed. Tons of emotions filled me and I couldn’t wait to get home and have some true quiet time to really listen to all that was coming to me. For years I had tried to have my entire life figured out. I have been very stubborn with my desires and dreams. I have been very set in my ways of how I want things to be. While I would pray (and pray hard) I also continued time and time again to take the outcome into my own hands. Sure, I would say I trusted God, and I did to the best I was allowing. But in hindsight, I was walking in pride and very independent of God’s true plans.
Until I wasn’t. But even that was out of my control. God had been nudging me for quite some time to slow down. In several areas of my life, I had again taken control of blessings I had prayed about, and made my own plans with them. Through prayer and hard work, I was destroying so much in my own strength, but intending to do good. So, with multiple warnings, those tugs and nudges became strong shoves. I was forced to do exactly what I was supposed to do, and that was slow down. Refocus. Reprioritize. And let go of my plans. Even writing this, I’m filled with so many emotions of joy in the journey. All the things I thought I had such control of were changing. And if I’m being honest, I have had moments of anger about it. I liked the way things were going. I liked those plans. Until I didn’t.
Now, I’m peaceful. I can finally say I don’t know the plans that are for me. But I do know and trust that they are good. I don’t know what path will be taken next. But I know I will be led. There are so many things I don’t know, because I’m not there yet. I’ve learned to focus more on the moment and get fuel for that moment. I have learned to be ok with not being ok because that too, is part of my story. To be humbled and broken. To live in true peace. To be ok with not always have such a strategic plan. And knowing that not having such a plan doesn’t make me lazy. It doesn’t make me unmotivated. It makes me obedient in this season that I’m in. It makes me experience a peace that I’m supposed to have. It makes me ok with the highs and lows of the day. It makes me ok with having a long journey of growth ahead.
Unfortunately, this was a bit too much to try and explain to my friend in a single conversation. The journey is usually much deeper than words can ever express. But God sure has shown up. And through my struggles I know he is making me new and going to use me to be a light; to encourage others. And I can pray He continues to grow my friend on the journey He has for her. Ultimately, He will be glorified.
How do you do with letting go of plans you have had? How do you do with truly resting in the arms of our Father above? Take some time to really be still and reflect on this. What story does your journey tell?
I love the tugs and nudges I get on a daily basis. I love taking the focus off me, and instead turning it to Him. And I love sharing what God has done in me. May it encourage you in whatever season of life you are in.