2 Peter 3:8 New International Version (NIV)
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
Here lies the answer to all of our troubles! (Insert laughing emoji)
But, in a way, it is true. Time is irrelevant to the Lord yet of utmost importance to all of us. At least that has been my experience. Life is a competition, between oneself and everyone around us as much as it is between oneself and oneself. We create certain expectations for our lives and a game plan to meet the goal. If you are a strong Type A, like me, you want that goal completed yesterday. But regardless of your personality type, most of us get caught up in the desire to meet our goals as quickly as possible, and often find ourselves on the speedway of life running 100 miles per hour or more!
What if I told you the answer to the stress you place yourself under lies in slowing down and letting God take the wheel? What if I told you he would create a grander life than you could ever dream? Wait. Maybe you have already heard this a time or two. I know I had over the course of my lifetime. The problem is it goes against everything we have been taught about achieving our goals. Work hard, strive, never stop! How is it possible that slowing down would bring about more of the life I want, than working fast?
This has always been my conundrum. Add into this equation the idea of letting an invisible man in the sky create my pathway of which I have no say, and my response has long been “peace out”. No way, no how, not happening, insane, ridiculous, outrageous if you need to join me in chant. Or this, “I’ll tell you what, I’ll put my life on hold while I wait and watch what the good Lord will do for me, once you put your life on hold.” I’ll be damned if I am going to be the first idiot to throw all caution and control to the wind. And, so I have long gone about my life marching steadfast toward my goals, through swamp water and ice covered mountainsides. Well, not for real, but it felt like that! Did I reach most of my goals? Heck yes! Did they last? Heck no!
Marriage, kids, house, successful career. All obtained. The fine details?
- Marriage: a rollercoaster ride filled with loads of stress that led to abusive circumstances and personal self doubt.
- Career: I became so successful so fast, I angered my competition till they spread wicked lies about me throughout our Realtor community. It didn’t effect my income, but it lambasted my self worth and eroded my trust in people. My response to this mess was less than stellar.
- Kids: Well, they were, and still are, amazing. But, one time, I chose to pick up the phone for a business call while everyone else at the party sang happy birthday to my 2 year old. Will I get that moment back, or many others I missed? Nope!
- House: Beautiful if I still owned it. Lost in a foreclosure after four years of treatments from a medical diagnosis that wiped out our bank account, a multi-million dollar real estate portfolio, and pretty much everything else to our name.
- Second Career: An at home business. Flew to the top 1% of all ambassadors in 9 months. Awesome, EXCEPT the need to control EVERYTHING led my team to think I didn’t have faith that they were capable. My fierce drive left them feeling they could never be good enough or smart enough to reach the same levels. This drew out the insecurities of previous attacks from my real estate life and I slipped into a pool of self doubt larger than I have ever known.
Guess what I did throughout much of this timeframe in my life? You are gonna laugh! I screamed out to God during every downturn and said, “Why? I am a good person, an overcomer with love in my heart for everyone. I’m trying soooo hard. Why do you keep letting these things happen to me?” Catch that? I took total control and charge of my life, and then when things went south, I said it was Gods fault. Sound familiar? I know someone out there resonates with my story. It was easy to do because although I was a control freak, I went to bed praying each night. Actually, that was part of my control. The recipe for success includes prayer, so I checked that off my list each night the same as I checked off any other activity to success. In my mind, I was still really following God and doing all the right things, or so I convinced myself of this falsehood. And, if God loved me, and I worked hard, I should get everything I want and then some! In case you are wondering….it doesn’t work this way!
Are you familiar with the deer in the headlights look? That was me in my early 40’s when I finally sat back and said, “I’m done.” I was fried. More than fried. I was like the over cooked turkey cut open on Christmas morning from the movie Chevy Chases Christmas, so overcooked there literally was nothing left to the insides but a few bones. It was then I decided that his plan just might be better than my plan. You want to know the hardest parts of giving over the reigns? Knowing that his plan may be entirely different than my plan, and his timing most definitely would be unsatisfactory to my needs. The latter was by far the most challenging.
I guess I’m like everyone else. I want the results now. It’s that nagging feeling that I have never really trusted the results to be what I wanted until they were in front of my face, tangible, and therefore I wanted to see them as fast as possible. God’s plan? Let’s see, how can I explain. Oh, I know, how about watching paint dry. That’s a good one. Or, watching snails race a 100 meter dash. Wait, that’s too fast! Ha! You get my point. Here is the struggle between God’s plan and our plan and one reason why we refuse to relinquish control. If what we want takes longer than a few hours, days or months, we say it’s not working and go a different route. This especially applies to deeply desired wants and needs being requested by an invisible man in the sky. Even with this factor on the table, I was too tired to care and handed over the reigns in 2016, two years ago. Today, my career is in the same spot, which is not a bad place to be but not where I expected, I don’t currently own a home (which was a goal of mine but clearly not in God’s plan yet), I live in a county I didn’t even know existed let alone the town, and I’ve become a writer and teacher, neither of which were anywhere on my radar.
How do I feel? Amazing!!!!
There is a reason God takes what feels like FOREVER to provide us with a place of contentment. The contentment, for me anyway, lies in matching my authentic self to the journey of life he would prefer for me, and this pathway is about being a vehicle to transform the hearts of others in order to help them discover God, and their most authentic self so they can in turn find their correct path and do the same for others in their sphere. Duplication. How ironic. It’s the exact same way I build my at home business. Oh the irony, and interesting humor God possesses.
You might be wondering why I feel amazing if my life looks so different than what my dream board may have looked like when I started this venture. It turns out, God can provide something no human dream board can manifest with human hands alone. It’s pure, unadulterated freedom. Do I still want to be the tippy top of my company? Sure. Do I still want to own a home? Sure. Do I still want to look at my bank account and know I can write a check out for $3k, $30k, or $300k to my favorite charity without blinking an eye? Sure I do. But, none of that is ever, ever, ever going to be satisfactory if my heart is still wrapped up in human expectation. When our hearts are attached to things, goals, and successes of any kind, once achieved, we tend to create more desire for other things, goals and successes.
When you hand your heart over to God, he shows you you are so much more than the things, goals and successes. You are pure, utter love that is made to shine bright for all to see. And when you do so, you attract others to desire what you have, which a deep love for God and that is exactly what he wants of each of us. I guess I have come to see that that gift is greater than any thing, goal or success and that gift provides me freedom from the longing for these human stipulations. The not wanting of them is more joyous than having them. It is the freedom that opens my heart and my mind to a greater life that he has set for me over what I could have ever provided myself. In other words, I couldn’t previously see the forest through the trees.
I know I am not alone in this story. I watch, and have watched, many people strive to achieve their goals and feel devastated when they hit a valley. It is so common. The problem is when we go through the valley, even though we increase our prayer time, we also increase our grip. We hold even tighter to our own need to control the outcome by doing more when we should be releasing our grip and extending our arms and hands more freely to the Lord to let him guide us. That is true trust. That is walking in our faith, not just praying and then walking through our day as if he is nonexistent in our every action and decision. It’s not easy to let go, especially in a valley of fear, but that valley is the very place in which you need to work your hardest to replace fear with faith. He will not forsake you. Trust, pray and release your grip without expectation of outcome or the time it will take to see the light on the other side.
He will not forsake you. Let go and become the light the world so desperately needs!