ReVisited: Let It Go
Several years ago, I did a post on coming to the realization that you often have to let go of what you think your life should look like to fully grasp the life the Lord has in store for you. This moment of understanding came after a Bible study lesson posed the question, “Do you feel you’re living in God’s will/plan for your life?” but the Lord prompted me to consider the deeper question of, “Am I disappointed that this is God’s plan for my life?” It’s easy to be disappointed that life isn’t turning out the way you planned even when we know cognitively that the Father’s plan will always be better. That’s how I felt when I originally wrote that post and it’s how I still feel today. In that post, I also discussed the four steps I wanted to use to combat my need to hold and control my life. So, do I still use these and have they been effective? Let’s see…
Step One: Get Rid of the Distractions Including You.
I can still firmly say that my number one struggle when it comes to finding contentment in my purpose or current stage of life is my emotional state and just as I did then, I still pray that the Lord will take away anything that is a distraction in my life including my emotions. That may sound strange but if for example, my God-given purpose doesn’t include marriage or kids then I don’t want my emotions convincing me that my life is missing something. Wants and desires can tell us that we’re being held out on or deserve better but that doesn’t mean it lines up with what the Lord desires for us. Does this mean I no longer desire these things? Well, yes and no. There are things I have asked the Lord to take away from me and He most definitely has but there are also things I continue to struggle with too but I find the more I talk to God about it the more wisdom, discernment and trust I find. When you’re distracted, talk to God. When you’re frustrated, talk to God. Talk to God about your life. He’s your Father and He wants you to involve Him.
Step Two: Enjoy the Waiting
Speaking of talking to your Father. Have you asked God to help you enjoy your season of waiting? Or to ask God to help you learn and grow during these seasons? I started doing just that a few years ago and let me tell you, hold on tight when you do because you will start seeing your season of waiting through fresh eyes. I can honestly say that since writing my original post, I have regularly asked the Lord to help me learn what He has for me in my seasons of waiting, to truly enjoy my seasons of waiting and man, He has gone over and beyond. Had I known when I originally wrote those words how many adventures and how much growth would come about I might have been more timid because growth is not always comfortable. Sometimes, it causes pain or fear but if you aren’t growing you are stagnant and that’s no good either. Comfortable is not the same thing as healthy. God is intentional and on time. If you are waiting, ask Him why. What are you supposed to be learning? What are you supposed to be doing? Don’t waste your waiting because you are pouting in the corner.
Step Three: Count Your Blessings
Counting your blessings is such a great way to remind yourself of all God has done for you. See, we have the tendency to forget and move on to the next want or need when He answers our prayers. As a list writer and checker-offer I tend to treat my needs in the same way. This one has been met so mark that off and move on to the next situation at hand but prayer journaling has helped me keep my blessings in the forefront of my mind. I journal my main prayer time every morning and go back periodically to highlight the answered prayers as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and let me say, seeing years worth of neon rainbow prayer journals will put a pep in your step.
Step Four: Remember Your Path
In a similar vein to counting my blessings, this is another step I’ve tried to be intentional with in the last few years and what a difference it has made. Any time Satan, or I, start doubting God’s provisions or the path I’m on, I remind Satan and myself of the other times in my life when the way forward seemed impossible or when I thought all hope was lost and yet God blew me away! I love looking back on the steps my life has taken that were so incredibly beyond my wildest imaginings. The random dinner that led to best friends. The broken friendship that led to a mission field. The girls’ trip that led to overwhelming and scary personal growth. While not always easy or quick, the steps laid out by the Father have never led me astray. That doesn’t mean they have led me where I wanted to go but I have always ended up where I needed to be which is quite a different thing.
Yes, I pray for my will to be lined up with God’s but I’m quite stubborn and determined as my parents will happily tell you so I still desire my outcomes more often than not. More than that, I can only see a tiny portion of the world, while God can see the whole picture of eternity. I’ve always compared my human perspective to looking at the world around you through a paper towel tube. Yes, you can see some but think of all the other moving bits that you don’t understand or recognize in the least because they are beyond your field of vision. That is how we go through life which is why we are so often confused or surprised by the answers that seem to appear out of the blue.
So, does this mean I’ve let go of all my hopes, dreams and heart’s desires? Definitely not! The Lord gives you skills and puts things on your heart for a reason but the last few years have taught me not to hold those things so tightly in my grip. In fact, it’s best if I don’t hold them at all but rather hand them over to my loving Father’s capable hands to protect. I also have to sheepishly admit that I now throw far fewer temper tantrums when the Father doesn’t give me what I want because I trust Him more each day as I see Him work in and around me and because I am more in tune to His voice. The pathway set before us is not all rainbows and unicorns. In fact, we are regularly reminded in the Bible of how difficult life can be but that doesn’t change the goodness of the Lord’s eternal plan and for me that’s enough to loosen my grip.