I thought I had it all figured out

Posted: February 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

The last few weeks I have been in a place of a lot of uncertainty. Things that I have been so convinced of for years, are all of a sudden up in the air and I’m not used to it. During the last 3 years or so there hasn’t been many changes in my life. I’m at a church that I love, serving that church with all that is in me, working on my bachelors degree in business, finishing my theological training in Seattle, working a job that I enjoy, in a place I love and call home. Ive just had my head down working hard and taking care of business. I know Jesus has called me to do the things i’m doing and there is a deep joy in my heart doing the things I am doing. Yet out of nowhere, I find myself not being able to focus on anything. I haven’t had a good night sleep in weeks. Some nights laying in bed till 3am praying and processing through all the things going on in my head.

A conversation that shook me up
This all started when I met with a friend last month while I was in Seattle. He began asking me questions about my life, the things Jesus has called me to do, and what I am doing with the things Jesus is teaching me. Nothing out of the ordinary. This is a conversation people somewhat regularly have with me and I regularly have with others. But this time was different. I walked away from that conversation feeling shaken to the core. I wrestled with God that night, almost refusing to listen to him. I woke up the next morning anxious about everything, knowing that Jesus was stirring some things in my heart but I had no idea what was in store for the weeks to come. I didn’t have answers for anything, but knowing that I can trust Jesus and his word, I began digging into the scriptures.

“Rejoice in The Lord always; again I will say Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ” Philippians 4:4-7.

The struggle within
I have a type A personality, driven, striving to do my best at everything, with a plan for most of my life, both short term and long term. I have large dry erase boards covering one of the walls in my bedroom where I have things planned out, to-do lists, prayers, visions, and whatever else I feel the need to write down. I love structure. I plan everything and do it well. I find comfort in the fact that things usually don’t happen unexpectedly in my life because of my planning. So when all of a sudden Jesus shakes up my entire life, it takes a toll on me and doesn’t feel good. If I was honest, I would say that it hurts really bad, to the point that I find it hard to find joy in anything or even smile. The last 3 weeks have been really hard. Ive been reading God’s word, praying, and seeking advice from the Godly men in my life. Some days it’s helpful, most days it’s not helpful at all. Yet I had to keep pressing into The Lord because I know that I can trust him and him alone. I wanted to hear from The Lord, I wanted an exact plan for my life, and I wanted it now. I was left hearing nothing, except that all I needed to know is within pages of my bible.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

My sin
I am consciously aware of the fact that I am a control freak. It’s a sin that I have wrestled with for years and that I have to constantly repent of. Both towards Jesus and the people I’m closest to. I hate that this sin seems to loom over me in such a way that I have to regularly do an inventory of my life to be sure that I am not doing the things I want to do, instead of what Jesus wants me to do, and that I’m not doing things in my strength, but in his strength. I keep one of the dry erase boards on the wall of my bedroom blank. It’s a reminder that with even with all my planning, The Lord can change it all, even if it is The Lord who gave me the original plan. I need Jesus more than I need a plan. As much as I don’t like not having everything planned out, I have a bigger worry that i’m realizing is connected. One of my biggest fears is that I would someday find myself outside of the will of God. I think this fuels part of my desire to have a plan. In my mind, if I have a plan that The Lord has laid out in front of me, then I can follow the plan and this will keep me from falling outside of his will. The problem with me doing this is that it actually allows me to trust more in the plan, than in Jesus. I will find more comfort in the fact that my plan is going well, instead of finding my comfort in that I belong to Jesus and that I am his beloved son. Oh that I might trust in The Lord and have more faith in him.

“Trust in The Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” Proverbs 3:5-6

The Lord is faithful, even without an answer
I’ve been asking God lots of questions, but haven’t gotten any answers. I still have no idea what the future holds. Today I erased everything on my dry erase boards, except one that has the has the gospel on it because the gospel will never change. I actually have more questions today than I did 4 weeks ago when my friend began to pry into my life. The difference is that I am ok with not having any answers. A few nights ago a dear friend of mine unleashed a flurry of questions directed at my heart that could be summed up as, Matt will you trust The Lord? Every question he asked me was like an arrow at my heart…. Matt will you trust The Lord? Yes I will trust The Lord! I will trust The Lord because he is good. I will trust The Lord because he is a good father, a perfect father. I will trust him because of the great lengths he went to save me. I will trust him because he gave his life to pay the price for all of my sins. I will love him because he first loved me. If Jesus has called me to do certain things with my life, then he will surely bring those callings to fruition. If his purpose in saving me was to bring glory to his name, then he will surely use my life to bring glory to his name. I don’t have to worry about not having a plan. I need to trust Jesus. I don’t have to have everything figured out, I need to trust Jesus. My life doesn’t need to be crisis free, I need to trust Jesus. I don’t need an answer to my questions, I need to trust Jesus.

I prayed and asked The Lord to speak to me, and I heard nothing. I pursued the Godly men in my life for wisdom and direction, and they told me to trust The Lord. I opened the pages of my bible hoping to find a passage to give me direction, and I found nothing. Yet at the same time I found comfort in that The Lord was with me in prayer. I found comfort being lifted up in prayer by the Godly men in my life. I found comfort in reading Gods word, not because I found the answers to my questions, but because Gods word is alive and pointed me back to Jesus.

Friday night I had this overwhelming sense of Gods presence. I finally had my joy back. Not in my circumstances, but a joy in The Lord because I belong to him. All the worries had just melted away. I went to bed so full of the Spirit, without a worry in the world. I didn’t care about my questions, getting answers, or what I am suppose to do…… I trust The Lord. Then I woke up the next morning overwhelmed by his goodness and grace. Every time i looked at the words in my bible, I just cried. Every time I tried to pray, I just cried. I just cried and cried. Jesus blessed me with a picture of where I have been the last few weeks and where I am today. Not because he had too, but because he is good.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” Romans 15:13

Envision a large pile of stuff 100 feet high. Some of the stuff in the pile is from The Lord, some of the stuff is mine, some of the stuff is good but I don’t know where it came from, some of the stuff is me wanting things my way, some of it is just garbage. The last few weeks The Lord has been helping me sift through the pile and get rid of stuff. One item at a time. Now all that’s left in the pile are things from The Lord. I always knew the things from The Lord were in the pile but I couldn’t see them through all the other stuff. I can see The Lord clearer than ever, I can see his face, his callings in my life, the direction he is taking me, I can see my sin, I can see where I need to grow, and most of all I can see how much I need to trust him and how he can be trusted. The Lord showed me how it wasn’t just about seeing what he had for me, but it was more about the process of sifting through all the other stuff.

As hard as the last few weeks have been, I rejoice in them. Clearly I had some growing to do. Im excited about what The Lord has in store for me. Even if the dry erase boards stay blank……



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