Jesus Take The Wheel

I always like having something to look forward to and concerts have always been that for me. I love the anticipation and excitement. It's almost intoxicating. Don't you think?

Do you know how people often ask the question "I worked so many hours, where did all my money go?" Well, I can attest that mine went towards copious amounts of concert tickets (and probably lots of coffee). During the last six years of my life, there has hardly been a day where I've have not had a concert ticket on hand. As soon as the last concert creeps up, I find myself looking for the next one to look forward to.

Do you know what it feels like to follow an artist for so long and then the day finally comes when you get to see them in the flesh, living, and breathing before you? For years you watch them on television or online and you live in this blissful state of mind that one day you will see them and it will be everything you could have hoped for and more. You put a vast amount of hope in this future.

Maybe for you, it isn't a concert that consumes your thoughts and plans. Maybe it's a boyfriend or girlfriend. Maybe it's a job. Maybe it's something else.

Though I believe that there is something significantly beautiful about living in this hope and excitement, I also believe that too much of it can rob you of the joy of your present moment.

Planning is something that comes along with my excitement for the future.

I don't know about you, but I'm a planner. I love daily to-do lists and I love planning for things that are far out in the future. Take one glance at my Pinterest boards and you can quickly arrive at the conclusion that I have planned out my entire wedding (while still single), designed my entire house (while I've never even had a rent before), mapped out my future business (a coffee shop of course), and decided on how my body is going to look (once I start taking the gym more seriously). 

I love planning so much, that sometimes I don't even get to actually do the things I planned for. Like those Saturdays when I write a to-do list twenty times, swallowing up two hours of my time that could've been used to cross off half the things on my list. 

I know, mind-boggling. But relatable I assume.

I love planning things, but sometimes I'm afraid to follow through with them because I'm scared of failure or things not going the way I planned.

I like to have a roadmap and a destination, but I hate detours. 

Often times when I'm planning for something, anticipation isn't the only emotion I feel - it typically carries a significant baggage of worries along with it. These worries drag me away from my present situation. I find myself so consumed with thoughts about how something so far off in my future could go wrong, that I miss out on what is happening right now. 

My worries rob me of seeing what the Lord has for me at this very moment. 

God doesn't want you to miss a single second of the work He is doing in your life and the lives of those around you. When you are entangled in a web of worries, you can't possibly see with clear eyes, everything He is doing and thus you begin to lose sight of Him completely, sometimes to the point where you doubt He is present at all. 

In Matthew 6, when Jesus says "Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them," He does not mean to say that we should be so confident in what God is doing that we should just sit back and not be concerned or be planning for what's ahead. No, He says "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Jesus is telling us here that while we are making plans for the future, we should be seeking Him in everything. Every moment. Every decision. Every idea. Every plan. 

Seek Him first.

This doesn't mean to seek where He is going to be when you finally get to the point where you're planning to be.

It means to seek Him right now. 

This involves something we as humans are not very good at...letting go of control. 

As per human nature, I want to cling on to as many things in my life as I can so I can ensure that everything runs smoothly and as I planned it. Ha. 

"Entrust your work to the Lord, and your planning will succeed." Proverbs 16:3 (ISV) 

"In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps." Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)

I love this because my God is not a God that wants to control my life and use me like a robot. He's not calling me to let go of everything I've planned, everything I've dreamed up, everything I hope for.

He's asking me to trust Him with my plans.

Easier said than done, right? That's not so easy when it comes to trusting Him even when your plans don't go the way you wanted. Or in the time frame that you wanted. But He says,

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11

The bad thing about planning and desiring control over every aspect of your future (whether it be a job you've always wanted, a vacation you've planned, the perfect wedding, the idea that if you move somewhere new all your problems will be solved, the perfect physical appearance you've been chasing after), whatever it is that you've been impatiently waiting for, probably won't end up living up to the expectations that you've set for yourself. You're setting yourself up for disappointment. 

Sorry for the spoiler.

Because you're human.

Because you set unrealistic expectations for yourself.

BUT. There is hope.

Though it is hard to admit today, I was once unhealthy obsessed with Justin Bieber. I knew everything there was to know about him. I could tell you his birth location, hospital name, date, time, and day of the week he was born. This infatuation went on for about six years. All I wanted for all those years was to meet Justin. I did everything I could possibly do in order to make that happen. I went to every one of his concerts within a radius of three hours from my home. I entered every ticket giveaway I was eligible for. 

When the day finally came when I got to meet my beloved Justin Bieber, I was, dare I say...quite disappointed. I had built up this perception of what this day would look like and how perfect it would be, that afterward, I realized that I had spent YEARS of my life in anticipation of something that didn't even exist. 

I think most of us have this perception that if we could just get that one thing, our lives would be wonderful.

God just give me that job that pays a comfortable amount and I'll be happy. 
God just get me that house (you know the one that looks like Joanna Gaines was all over it) and I'll be all set.
God can I just have that relationship with that boy? I'll never ask for anything ever again. 
God will you just help me get some more followers, then I'll be satisfied.

The thing is, we ask for these things with a limited view of the whole picture. We see this small picture that consists of me, me, me, me.

And all too often we forget to zoom out and recognize that the .TIFF image that He sees is far greater and far more beautiful than our minuscule thumbnail .png image (photography metaphor, for those of you who aren't familiar with the terms).

Back to that hope I mentioned earlier. There is hope. There is hope when you finally give to Jesus everything that burdens you. Everything that's causing you pain or anxiety. Every frustration. Every fear. Every plan. Every desire. Every dream you've drawn up in your heart.

You see, God's plan for your life is far greater than what you have planned. And it's far more beautiful and purposeful than your Pinterest board.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." - Isaiah 55:8-9

When you choose to give to Him your plans and you choose to make the Lord himself, your utmost desire...OH BOY.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." - Proverbs 3:5-6

He will tenderly take hold of your life and guide you and lead you and nurture you and provide for you and love you. He will give you the best possible life He has for you. 

When you simply trust Him.

I refuse to be stubborn about living out my own plans when I trust and know that the Lord has something far better in store for me when I choose obedience and trust in Him.

Now that is a future that I absolutely, positively look forward to.

"There may be an illusion of happiness, but there is no deep seed fulfillment of any process God is not the center of."  - Steven Furtick 

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