We can take control out of God's hands and try to plan everything in our lives to the nth degree. I do this a lot. I do believe in planning, but anxiety creeps in when I stress a lot that something will go wrong. That's the piece that I need to surrender to God.
Life is scary. The future is unknown. No matter how hard we try, we cannot control everything in our futures. Reading devotionals like the one below have helped me remember to calm down and enjoy the ride. Also, meditating on particular verses has helped me recenter my focus:
- Jeremiah 29:11: "'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.'"
- Romans 8:28: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, have been called according to his purpose."
- Psalm 46:10 : "Be still, and know that I am God"
I will go before you
and will level the mountains;
I will break down gates of bronze
and cut through bars of iron.
I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. (Isa. 45:2–3)
God’s imagery of going before us lets us know that he desires us to go on a journey. This is not so frightening. Most of us are aware that the Christian life requires a pilgrimage of some sort. We know we are sojourners. What we have sometimes not given much thought to is what kind of a journey we are to be taking.
Not realizing it is a journey of the heart that is called for, we make a crucial mistake. We come to a place in our spiritual life where we hear God calling us. We know he is calling us to give up the less-wild lovers that have become so much a part of our identity, embrace our nakedness, and trust in his goodness.
As we stand at this intersection of God’s calling, we look down two highways that appear to travel in very different directions. The first highway quickly takes a turn and disappears from our view. We cannot see clearly where it leads, but there are ominous clouds in the near distance. Standing still long enough to look down this road makes us aware of an anxiety inside, an anxiety that threatens to crystallize into unhealed pain and forgotten disappointment. We check our valise and find no up-to-date road map but only the torn and smudged parchment containing the scribbled anecdotes and travelers’ warnings by a few who have traveled the way of the heart before us. They encourage us to follow them, but their rambling journals give no real answers to our queries on how to navigate the highway.
(The Sacred Romance , 127–28)