Those who know me well know that I am a planner. I am the mom who has her kids’ birthday parties planned months in advance. I am a huge fan of multi-week meal planning. And I rarely go to Target without checking online coupons and Cartwheel for deals. This is who I am. Planning is part of my endless charm.
So for me to walk away from one season of my life and not know which season is next is no blip on the radar.
By no means have I lost my planning edge — I just saved $11 at Target with combined discounts, thank you. What I have lost is my death grip on the future. Finger by white-knuckled finger, God has peeled off my hand and replaced it with His.
I have let go completely, and I am so at peace with it.
This is what completely trusting God feels like. Peace. As in the waters may be a-stormin’ but I’m a-snorin’ in the boat. Peace.
God’s plan is frequently better and bigger, and therefore nothing like mine. I realized if I’m going to follow a reliable plan, I’d be better off following one that has existed before the formation of the planet. I mean, I’m not a gambler, but it seems like a solid bet.
To come to this realization has taken, consciously, many months and, subconsciously, probably my whole blessed life.
Trusting God is a process. Fortunately, the process is only 4 easy* steps long.
Step 1: Be still.
Two of the hardest words ever. We planners equate still with lazy. We tend to judge the act of giving it up to God to be the same as giving up. Giving up and lazy are cardinal sins; they are the badges of failure and shame.
To be still was to take a huge risk. To bet big on God.
He likes the odds.
I had to learn to be still:
Physically — as in stop doing what I normally do to plan. Stop researching. Stop hunting for answers on my own. Take my fingers off the keyboard, my hand off the mouse. Let the LinkedIn profile languish on the cyber vine. For the moment. And just be still.
Emotionally — as in let go of the worry and fear and doubt about tomorrow. I visualized myself laying down my emotions before God. Sometimes, because I am a writer, I wrote them out.
Spiritually — as in place myself quietly and submissively in His presence. I picked a time and place where I retreated each day. I kept the TV off, my phone on the other side of the room, the full laundry basket out of sight, and all other distractions at bay. I held, read, saw nothing but my Bible. I picked a book and started reading, little by little, asking God to be there with me, to surround me with His blanket of Words.
All of this naturally led into step 2.
Step 2: Listen.
Ever try to listen to someone speak when you won’t let them talk?
Surprisingly, I did (and still do) this a lot to God. Like, a lot. It caught up with me.
As I practiced being still and quiet before God, it was like He was the shy kid in class who finally spoke up. In reality, it was that I could finally hear Him over my own blather.
I tell you, He’s a talker. And all good stuff. Really.
He never failed to answer a prayer, though sometimes not to my liking. He never failed to pick up on those things my heart asked but my mouth didn’t, and answered those as well. The more I listened to Him, the more He spoke.
I fell in love with listening to Him. There is none like Him; there is none more wise and comforting.
Step 3: Follow.
It’s like falling in love with that cute boy in class and suddenly you have the same interests he does so that you “happen” to have something in common. Except worlds better.
When I started falling in love with listening to God, I found myself wanting what He wanted. And not just for me, but for my loved ones and the persecuted and the orphans and the struggling mom at her breaking point at the zoo.
I found myself willing and eager to do what He wanted me to do, with an abandon that overshadows my eagerness to do my own thing.
My prayer has become, “God, I have no clue what comes next, but I have no doubt You will show me. I stand ready.”
(Tip: Don’t pray that unless you mean it, because He will answer that one.)
Step 4: Repeat.
Make no mistake, this is a process. I have had to start over countless times, but just like a muscle, my trust gets stronger with each repetition.
Are you ready to begin the process?
If you need some prayer support as you embark, drop me a line. I’d be glad to pray along with you.
*by easy I mean the biggest challenge of your life, but you can totally do it!
This post originally appeared on my previous blog, Find the Lovely.