Author | Steve
Two-hundred twenty-seven excruciating minutes on my hands and knees. Failure after failure after failure after failure. It was finally perfect. Every domino was precisely placed to knock down the next in a grand show of masterful physics artistry. All that was left was to push the first one. My first attempts had lacked imagination…and skill. My middle attempts were sabotaged by my baby sister. But this one – Oh this one! This beauty was well worth the lunch I missed, the lack of blood and feeling in my lower legs, and the back problems I would surely suffer later in life. The time of reckoning was upon me and with one delicate push of my finger the clatter of dominoes rose in a crescendo, and two-hundred twenty-seven minutes of labor and toil ran itself out in under fifty seconds. It was rather anti-climactic…even a little depressing.
I’ve spent much of my time on this earth approaching my life the same way (unfortunately). I’ve tried with excruciating effort to make each day fall flawlessly into the next so that what I could imagine – one week from now, one month from now, one year from now – would unfold. I would get so upset in my own mind with people who knocked my dominoes down before I had even finished setting them up. I would get disgusted with myself for accidentally starting them falling before I was ready. But probably the most painful part was the emptiness that sometimes accompanied a “successful” accomplishment. It wasn’t nearly as amazing as I thought it would be.
The problem with this approach to life is that it lacks trust in God and instead trusts myself for producing the future. I’m the one setting up and manufacturing each and every day. I’m not saying that I had no faith before. I’m simply saying I worked myself to the bone trying to do things exactly the right way to produce the exact best result (as far as I could discern it). This was exhausting.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you should never plan or you should just do what feels right at the moment. That is completely frustrating to the people around you. But let’s be honest, many of us are dying trying to get our days to fall flawlessly into the next to produce something that we can’t produce – meaning, hope, a future.
I’m trying to let go of my need to make my future happen. Instead I’m seeking to live in today with presence and faithfulness to the obvious things God has given me to live for. I’m trying to leave the orchestrating of all my days in His much more capable hands so that my life will be something more than an endless setting up and knocking down of little boy-sized goals that make some noise for about fifty seconds.
I haven’t stopped thinking about the future, but I am trying to hold my thoughts and my plans about it more loosely. I’m trying to ask God more often about today and what He has for me today. I’m trying to rely more on Jesus than on anything else. I’m trying to notice my need for Jesus more often. I’m trying to notice the people around me more often. I’m not great at it. I need a lot of reminding. But I’m finding that He sets up my days far differently and more interestingly than I would. He cares about me and the people He sends into my days way more than I noticed when I was busy manufacturing my preferred future. And when I look back across these recent days I see a more unified, intentional, creative, and harmonious whole than the interrupted, grey, broken days of my own producing.
I don’t quite know what to do with this yet other than receive it. I feel like I’m being invited into something much bigger than I ever dreamed on my own; something where God is weaving my life with His life and with other lives in a way that brings life and joy and hope…in a way I could never produce. It’s refreshing. It’s invigorating. It’s worth suffering on my knees and breaking my back for.
“Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.” ~ Psalm 139:16
“The heart of a man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.” ~ Proverbs 16:9
I resonate so much with your journey, Steve. Thanks so much for sharing this!
Ryan, I pray this brings a glimpse of freedom and hope. Good to hear from you!
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