Remember when you were little and you wanted something SO badly and your parents would say no and it would make you SO mad? I’m not talking about a piece of candy but somewhere you wanted to go or something on a bigger scale. Our relationship with God is that of a parent and child as well and I have moments with God that reflect that same frustration. Sometimes I think I know best and like to tell God I need either A or B to happen. Well, sometimes he sends option C. This is by far my greatest struggle in my faith. Truly letting go and realizing that His way is the best way even when I do not understand.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Yesterday, in church our pastor discussed that fate and destiny do not exist. Only the will of God does. Things do not “just happen.” I truly believe that and found it even more impactful hearing that when I had been planning on publishing this post this week. This very same topic and verse were the subject of our sermon yesterday!
I like to be in control. Of my day, my finances, my schedule, and my life in general. I have a bad habit of going to God in prayer believing that I have already narrowed down the options of what I need to do and that I need Him to show me which path of the ones I’ve chosen that he wants me to take. Foolish girl I can be. Sometimes the best path or decision for me is one I haven’t even thought of yet or one I don’t want to take but that God will use to stretch me and grow me into the woman of faith I want to be. It’s easy in the bustle of life to block out the voice of God and the guidance He is trying to give us and convince ourselves that we’re following His will when we make decisions based on what we think He wants without ever even praying or talking to Him about it.
If I’m being completely honest, which is my goal in this space, there are times I avoid praying about a decision because I selfishly want to do what I think is best for my life. I think I secretly know in those moments though that I’m avoiding praying about it because I have a feeling God is going to see it differently and guide me to a different decision and I don’t want to hear it. Look back on your teenage years, did your parents ever give you advice you didn’t want to hear but looking back now you are SO thankful that they did? That’s what God wants to do for us. Advise us. Guide us. Lead us. BUT before he can do that we have to choose to submit our lives to him and to seek him in all of our decisions and actions.
I have made a conscious effort over the past year to try to focus more on praying about important decisions I need to make and seeking God’s guidance on what I should do and less on the pro/con lists I love to make on my own. I think it’s important to think through a situation but it’s vital to seek God’s direction. He sees the long lasting impacts of our decisions and how He can use certain situations to grow us as people of faith.
Please do not think I have perfected this. I fail every day. Thankfully, I have a merciful Lord and Savior who forgives me when I fail and loves me anyway. I cannot even tell you the amount of times I wanted to handle something my way and felt a tug from him that I needed to do something differently. I have tried to follow His direction in all those situations and you know what? Sometimes it really sucked and it was really hard. I had to humble myself in ways I didn’t want to. I had to give forgiveness where I didn’t want to. I had to step out of my comfort zone. It has been tough. But the rewards, the rewards have been so much sweeter. I have found a healing in situations I had written off as impossible. I have felt called to serve the Lord and my church more than I did before. I have found a greater peace in following His guidance. I have a greater faith because I have seen that when I choose to follow the direction he is giving me, it has always worked out in a way greater than I could have imagined if I had done things my way.
Not to be misleading, I am still waiting on answered prayers on a lot of situations. I have followed His direction to no fruition as of yet on certain things. However, I know that just because He hasn’t answered a certain prayer yet or because I haven’t seen any results from guidance from Him I followed doesn’t mean I won’t. Some things take time and I know that God is constantly working for my good. This doesn’t mean I don’t get frustrated or sometimes go to him in anger not understanding why something hasn’t happened or why I’m going through something hard. I don’t feel guilty about that either because He is always there for us to seek understanding we can only gain from Him and Him alone. The control freak in me will probably always struggle with letting go. It has gotten easier though. I choose everyday to try and trust completely in Him and some days I get an A+ and some days I fail terribly. I will continue to seek to let go of my vision and how I think things should go and trust more in His vision because his is the perfect one. Let us all try to embrace when God guides us to do something other than what we envisioned. It will stretch us and strengthen our faith which will ultimately draw us closer to Him.
Our pastor reminded us yesterday of the story of Joseph from Genesis. Joseph waited YEARS for the answers to his prayers to God and is an amazing story of how things do not just happen and how God is constantly working for our good even if we can’t see it yet.