Breathe. Don’t miss it.
Anxiety is a modern plague. We are all so wrapped up in being enough; smart enough; funny enough; successful enough; pretty enough; popular enough; kind enough. It heaps so much pressure on an already fast-paced life, and tension to already over-worked muscles.
Even in needing to write this article, I nearly neglected an important moment. Undeniably an over-achiever, I am constantly planning my day, my week, the next five years of my life. While materialistically a very successful recipe, it is exhausting and empty.
We become so concerned with bettering ourselves and the promise of tomorrow, that we miss the now.
Failing to plan, planning to fail
Our obsession with success has birthed an obsession with planning. Planning can bring peace from promised certainty, but it also causes us to miss the spontaneity of the present. It’s also futile.
“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs chapter 16, verse 9)
Plans mean nothing unless the blueprint has been drawn by the Lord. There is so much peace in knowing that He is the Master planner and director. In Hisabounding grace, God cares about our very steps.
God is not a mighty being sitting on a hill, smiting us when we take a misstep. On the contrary, He is a kind Father walking beside us to steer us along the right path.
“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm chapter 23, verse 4)
A heart issue
"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm chapter 37, verse 4)
What is the common denominator in this verse and the first one? The man’s/your heart. Our hearts store our desires and make our plans according to our desires.
In His sovereignty, God cares about our desires.
He is a just God though, not Santa Claus. The verse does not read “He will give you the desires of your heart. Period.” No, it begins with the transaction, “Delight yourself in the Lord”.
When our hearts are focused on God, delighting in His law, His cross and His sovereignty; He will give us the desires of our hearts.
On the outset the idea may seem twisted, as though we could manipulate God like a vending machine, by ‘delighting in Him’. The truth is though, as your heart truly delights in God, your desires align with His will. As your heart falls more in love with our Creator, your character become more like His.
Delighting in the Lord and becoming more like Christ each day results in renewed desires that form the foundation of plans within the will of God.
As our hearts begin to beat in time with God’s, so our eyes become focused on the same goal. With the same goal in mind, our feet follow the path that God dreamed for our lives.
“I am not finished with you yet.”
Those are probably the most comforting words ever whispered to my soul.
The God we serve is so complex He is sometimes an anomaly. He seems to sit in perfect juxtaposition with Himself, because our human minds cannot comprehend Him properly. His sovereignty and gift of free will seem to clash, but inevitably paint the most gracious picture.
“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 your paths straight.” (Proverbs chapter 3, verses 5 and 6).
God has given us the freedom to make choices and stumble. Our best is good enough for God. If we think that we are too far gone or caught up in the idea that we can miss God’s will for our lives – we are underestimating the sovereignty of our God.
If, in trying to live according to His will and delighting in Him, we continue to stumble, He will continue to pick us up and straighten the path. If our hearts are true in our desire to seek Him, surrendered in humble repentance, He is gracious.
He. Is. Not. Finished. Yet.
Though Jesus muttered that it was finished as He hung on the cross, that was only concerning the battle for our lives. He has won the war for our salvation and will continue to fight for our sanctification.
God is not concerned with how many days in our Bible reading plan we have missed or deterred by how much baggage we lump at His feet. He is both gracious and sovereign, and His plan includes room for us to be late to an appointment (or turn up a week early because we are that stressed, it happens).
Do not miss your current situation because it does not look like how you planned for it to. Do not miss a better tomorrow because you are consumed by how bleak today looks. Do not miss the beauty of a child’s smile because you are too concerned with being on time.
God is bigger than your plan – whether a success or a failure. Let us spend our energy aligning our hearts with His and resting in His grace, rather than restless planning.
Breathe. He won’t miss it.
Petro is a recent physical education graduate from the University of Otago. She currently works with children and young people as a sport and rehabilitation coach, and youth worker. Originating from South Africa and growing up in New Zealand has given Petro a love for all cultures, sports and traveling. Writing is Petro’s way of making sense of the world around her and expressing the words God places on her heart.
Petro Lancaster is a school counselor in-training and a newlywed wife to her husband, Ansen, who is a worship pastor at their church in Ohio. Originating from South Africa and growing up in New Zealand has given Petro a love for all things sport and travel, and a heart for the importance of community. Writing is Petro’s way of making sense of the world around her and expressing the words God places on her heart.