There are precious few times in my life when I have felt like I am in complete control. For me, those were the scariest times in my life. When I have been gripping onto something, holding it tight, intent to have it, keep it, mold it, make it exactly as I desire. The energy I expended in such instances compares to that of an Olympic athlete racing for a gold medal. The tunnel vision necessary to get my way in some situation leading only to neglect on blessed other areas of my life. In the end, the illusion of my control being ripped away like a band-aid leaving red swollen wounds on my skin, my heart, my spirit. Somehow, I have learned that it hurts more to try to keep things just so, to create expectations that never come to fruition, to mark down dates in red pen and look forward to them only to find time changes things along the way and the red marks become like words in the sand when the tide rolls in and washes them away.
That is not to say I don’t make plans, or dream big and wild dreams, or put those dates on my calendar with circles and underlines and smiley faces that I look forward to. I just do it with pencil now, instead of ink. So often in life we think we need our pens. The clean dark lines always inerasable, bold, dark, permanent promises in our future. Pen speaks control. But it also leaves out so much space for the rest of life that happens when we’re not controlling every second of it. Pencil speaks let’s plan, but let’s also wait and see! Wait and see what might come and go between now and then, what might change and grow in the time it takes to get from here to there. In the place between our plans formulating and occurring, is a whole other thing existing like a small flame waiting for enough oxygen to glow. That is God’s plan, His true desire for us trying to take shape in our blindness, hoping we will wait until we are able to see it.
It is not easy, this waiting. Because almost always Gods plans are different from the ones we think we want or what we need for ourselves. In my case, the parents who were married were divorced, the friends I loved deeply moved away, the boyfriend I adored broke up with me, (he came back luckily but not until I completely let go). The baby I dreamed of died in my womb; his due date still written on my calendar for August 30. And still I have a beautiful life. None of it is my design.
One of my deepest heart prayers that I whisper to the Holy Spirit every night before I drift off to sleep is, “… I promise to submit myself to you, and to accept all that you permit to happen to me. Let me only know your will.” Every morning I wake up and make my plans, dream my dreams, hope for all that I want in this world, and every night I surrender them all away again, letting go to something even better than I could ever possibly hope for. Because again, there is so much more in store for us in God’s plan, in the whole picture, which we cannot see with our humble human eyes. By nature of our creation we think of details, minutes, days and maybe years, but we get stuck in the minute, the trifles, the superficial and in keeping up with the Jones’. We become blind to the broader brush strokes being painted in our lives by our God who is waiting every single day for us to just glance his way. To say, I trust you. Show me all you have planned for me.
To surrender is to be humble. It asks us to be smaller than we want to be, to give up some of what we think we need. And yet, it is the biggest most incredible feeling of safety and relief that I have ever known. When that sounds scary, or ridiculous, or undoable, here is the key: we only know what we know. Fathom to consider there is so much that we don’t. What would we change if we knew all the secrets? If we knew the answers to the mysteries we ponder in the quiet moments of our days? We are not meant to know because then we would only try to control it all and bend the golden strands of light into our own personal pocket treasure. We are meant to learn to trust beyond ourselves. If you can, wait and see what God has in store for you. I am certain you can’t even imagine.