Society says we have to have a plan and have a career for success. The world tells us to pick a path for a school, job, city, significant other, friends, beliefs, political views, and the list goes on. Make your choices and don’t pick the wrong ones or your life will be in shambles, but they won’t tell you which are right and which are wrong. Everyone is offended. Everyone is right. Everyone is strong. Everyone is sure of their future. Because success looks like a stable income, foolproof plan, perfect family, and countless friendships. Success cannot look like confusion, uncertainty, or any hint of weakness. So we all hurry around busy with our wonderful lives and looking as if we have it all together.
Then the lost and unsure and single and those in transitions force a smile and talk enthusiastically about their five year plan while panic wars within. Those of us, who desire desperately to live our purpose and calling, but who have yet to discover what that is specifically or what path will take us to those distant goals and dreams feel like failures for our process. We must have done something wrong during another part of our lives and forever altered our plan. We must have made some terrible mistake in our high school graduation decision-making process to put us behind the invisible curve. There must be something wrong with us because our plans don’t seem to work out how we intend or envision them.
Loneliness secludes us in a false mindset of failures and impossibilities. No one can understand because everyone else has their lives together. Seclusion is the enemy’s favorite tactic. Alone we are truly weak. How many people that we know are smiling on the outside and breaking on the inside? Logically, I know that I am not some sort of anomaly making me the only one to have a complicated, confusing life, but I have wondered if perhaps my personality and mindset are what is keeping me from being “happy”. This earth is not our home, but we are tasked with bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to earth and I cannot do that when my thoughts are consumed with “woe is me.”
So finally I sit with my tumultuous thoughts and tell God that I don’t know what is wrong or what to do or why I keep failing at the varying aspects of my life. God doesn’t condemn me or list the ways I am failing. He doesn’t yell at me and He also doesn’t hand me the perfect 10-step plan to get me to my personal success story.
God sympathizes with me, pulling me into His reassuring embrace as a reminder that I am only alone when I choose to be. My Father reminds me that the weight of the world does not rest upon my shoulders. In a moment of quiet closeness, He dances with me leading us around the clearing of my mind. In His presence, answers begin to fall into place. It is funny in an ironic, irritating way that all my issues seem to intersect. For too long, I have allowed myself to believe that in order to fulfill my God-given purpose, I need to create the perfect plan, be happy all the time, and be a constant source of strength. A few nights ago I listened to a message and the speaker said something to the effect of God has 50 plans to get you to your purpose and we determine the plan we take by our attitude not necessarily our aptitude…best thing we can do is go after the dream we have right now (Vallotton).
When we are in a relationship with God and we relinquish control, the Holy Spirit will direct our footsteps to be in line with the path God has set before us for such a time as this. I will never achieve my purpose in this world if my focus is always on the distant future. God as my focus allows me to live out my purpose in every rise and fall of the path He has chosen for me. When I continually look to my future dreams, I miss what is happening right now and become disappointed. Why do I seem continually to become trapped in my own mind and partner with overwhelming confusion resulting in discontent? For me it all comes down to trust. Since I don’t trust completely, I cannot live fearlessly. My decisions are generally based upon what makes most sense or seems to be attainable, but I serve a God, who is in the business of making the impossible possible.
As we moved into the New Year, I reflected on 2015 and whether I accomplished my word of the year…closer. Obviously, we can never be in 100% closeness with God or this would be Heaven not earth. I definitely improved, but I am far from where I would like to be. After postponing dedicated Jesus time for quite some time, I sat down in my tiny prayer corner and the Bible verse, which I chose in October for the bottom of my prayer strategy page, caught my eye, “’Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s,’” (2 Chronicles 20:15b). Sometimes I just imagine God smiling as pieces fall into place for us to reach a revelation. I’m positive He can’t help, but chuckle because He laid the pieces in place eons ago and as understanding at last dawns on us, He is ecstatic. In those moments, we get to another season of our relationship with Him, another step closer. I read that verse and realized I had been living from a place of fear and discouragement thinking the battle was solely my responsibility and I had to face an entire army of decisions, future possibilities, emotions, relationships, and trials all by myself. By no means had I consciously thought that God had plopped a flak jacket over my head, propped a M-16 in my hand and given me a shove toward the war zone so He could attend to other issues; however, in my emotional and confusing periods of life, I tend to pick up all necessary and unnecessary equipment and trudge stubbornly toward the problem as my subconscious chants, “I will not show weakness, will not accept defeat. I’m fine, I got this.” I do believe my phrase of the year should be, “In Him, I will trust.” It is far past time to surrender my control and accept His help. It’s amazing what a little quality time with the good Lord can do for person’s mental, emotional, and spiritual state. Do I have all the solutions to all my problems and questions or know every detail of my life plan? Not in the slightest. But I will not fear because my Father is with me and He will direct my footsteps as soon as I take off His giant combat boots so He can renew His position of imprinting the path before me with His footsteps.