Timelines: Trying to Control My Place in Life

I recently reread some things I wrote over a year ago. It’s always interesting to me to reflect on places I have been in the past–mentally, emotionally, spiritually–especially in light of current circumstances. It allows me to reflect on what I’ve learned, how I’ve grown, and to see God’s hand in it all. And to see that words I wrote for myself a year ago still resonate with me and where I am today, at this particular place in time. Being introspective and sentimental as I am, I love to revisit old writing.

So as more timelines have been shattered and more opportunities have opened up, here is a piece I wrote on my tendency to plan, and how God continues to lovingly break that down.

 

February 20, 2013: “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.” Matthew 6:33-34

Timelines. We all have them. Even if only as subconscious expectations. The existence of my timelines have come more and more to the forefront of my consciousness as the deeply ingrained expectations for my life are recognized and surfacing; an inevitable circumstance as my college days are waning and big questions of the future are becoming frighteningly less distant.

Since I started college, my timelines have become very real to me: not because they have worked out but because I cannot tell you how many times they have been shattered. And becoming thankful for that has been no easy task. But I will say that I have learned that more worries come with making plans than with trusting the Lord with them. When I make plans, the “What if..?” game is sure to follow. When I make plans, I distress over how to force them to happen. When I make plans, I am constantly let down. I encounter never-ending problems, worries, and doubts when I plan and want my plans to go perfectly. But when I trust…I can rest. That’s it.

Because here’s the thing: We were not meant to plan. Bottom line.

God designed us so that we cannot know our future. Not even ten minutes from now. And He designed the world this way so that we would place or dependence and trust all on Him, so that we may walk with Him, holding His right hand through our daily lives.

And here’s the other thing: Total and complete joy and satisfaction come from walking with The Lord alone. So surprise, surprise, my timeline will not bring me happiness no matter how perfectly my life ends up matching it. Not if God is not at the center of my plans. The hardest thing for me to learn was to hand over my life to God’s plans, because it meant relinquishing control of my future. It was not until I learned that the safest place for my future to be was in His hands that I was able to rejoice in not having control. But yes, it all takes faith. And faith is not an easy gift to receive in a world where self-sufficiency is worshiped.

But this has also been by far the most rewarding lesson He has taught me. Because it has brought me to know a deeper trust in Him and a solid contentment and peace with letting Him direct and plan my life. Praise Him.

The Lord provides daily and rewards my patience in such tangible ways that I never expected. Seek Him presently and He will guide your ways and give you peace. My timelines are futile false hopes in comparison to God’s plan. He gives immeasurably more than we can ever ask or imagine if we entrust our lives to Him.

Here’s my other issue with timelines. They really can never be satisfying. Have we not found that there is always something else to look forward to in life? So what’s the point of achieving the crown jewel of our timeline if we plan it, expect it, the reach it as planned. How anticlimactic! Then we move on ever so quickly to the next big thing to look forward to. There is always something. What kind of existence is that? Honestly, a sad one. An unfulfilling one. An unexciting one.

With The Lord as the dictator of my timeline, the promise is much greater. God wants to give me joy, fulfillment, and excitement through His plan for my life. How could I not choose that instead? So daily, I have to crumple up my timelines and my worldly expectations for how I selfishly think my day, my month, my year, my life should play out, and simply walk with and for my God.

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