Are you, like me, always trying to figure things out? I’m not sure if it’s my unstable childhood or my Type A personality, but I am forever in “I got this” mode. I joke that I’m like Matt Damon in The Martian when he gets left on Mars and has to build a greenhouse from scratch and find other ways to survive long enough to be rescued.
I’m the person you hand the baby to when you can’t get him to stop crying. I will sit on the floor with you for hours assembling Ikea furniture. If the door is locked, I’ll find an open window. When I hear “impossible”, I can’t help but think, “Is it though?”
Fall down seven, get up eight. I can do this. I’ve got this.
But maybe there are times when we’re not supposed to figure everything out. When we’re supposed to allow for space in-between. The seasons when God is telling us “You don’t need to fill in the blank, or figure it out, or fix it. And actually, I’ve got this.”
That blank space and the waiting that comes with it makes me so uncomfortable. I know it’s necessary. I’ve got faith that God is working behind the scenes. I know no matter what, He’s got me. But, I hate it.
I just want the answers. To know what’s next. I feel like I’ve been so patient and faithful and obedient and can I just have everything I want right. this. instant. Please?
It’s around this time I start schemin’. Like, God, I know You’re good, and I’mma let you finish, but let me take matters into my own hands and tell you how I think this should go.
Exhibit A: Two years ago, I felt called to California. God whispered to me the reason I was supposed to move back and I’ve held steadily to those words, to His promise. I immediately got to work figuring out the path to that promise. I assumed I knew the way and how much time it would take.
Follow me, God, this is going to be great. I married myself to the idea of how things were supposed to go here. Didn’t really think to account for detours, or improvisation. I had it in my head the route we would take to His promises.
Have you seen the most recent episode of This Is Us? If not, don’t worry I won’t ruin anything. But in it, Rebecca takes her son Randall trick-or-treating and tries to get him to take a detour from his planned route. Randall has all the houses timed and mapped out and Rebecca tries to get him to go to a house not on the map. Needless to say, he freaks out and then she forces him to stop walking and sit with her so they can talk.
I often feel like Randall when God’s trying to get me to be still or go in a different direction (hopefully it’s not blasphemous that God is Rebecca in this equation). I resist interruption and insist on staying my course. No, I do not want to go talk to that neighbor nor do I want to sit on this stoop with you to hear what you have to say. We don’t have time for this, God. I have this route mapped out and I would appreciate if we could continue on our way.
I will submit my plans to God’s will, but sometimes I beat them to death before I hand them over. Then I’m all, “Okay, you’re right, this isn’t working. What was that you said again? Be still and know you’ve got this? Right okay. I’ll be still then.”
I hate stopping. I don’t like waiting. Sometimes it’s hard for me to be still and listen. I want to fill in the blank spaces. I can be stubborn and reluctant to admit that I don’t have all the answers.
Yet, I’m very well aware that I do not, in fact, have all the answers. That, at times, I’m not equipped or ready for the answer. That what I want is not my will, but God’s. Which means His way, not mine.
It’s been two years since I’ve been in California, and so much has happened. Some of it has made sense, and some of it I’m still trying to wrap my head around. There always seems to be a blank space between what I know and what I don’t.
But, I’ll hold tightly to God’s promises knowing that He is with me always, even in the blank space. He’s in the movement just as he’s in the nothingness. Even in the emptiness, confusion, and not knowing, I can choose to lean into Him, praise Him, trust Him fully.
Often times that goes against how I’m actually feeling. In those moments, I remind myself of what’s He’s done. How He has always gone before. I’ll turn on some worship music and sing His praises from my kitchen. Eventually, I’m not only feeling it, but I’m singing along with tears streaming down my face as I do the dishes.
Because I remember that God is faithful. He is good. He always shows up, in fact, He never leaves. God will always come through. He’s with me and He’s on it, even when I can’t see it. I have to remember that the negative space is what makes the art pop. It’s just as important as the art itself.
And know that he is God.
I’m not always going to understand His will or the why behind His ways, but I can trust that His answers and His way are always, always better than my own. That the detours are not actually detours but reroutes. Closed doors that will not under any circumstance budge are God’s way of saying hey, stop trying to make fetch happen and trust Me.
I’m with you. You need not fear. I know it’s dark. It’s okay that you can’t see. I know you don’t know which way is up. You don’t need to try to fix this or figure it out. I promise you that this blank space has a purpose. Just be still and know that I am God.
Perhaps, if only we could zoom out a bit, see things from His perspective, it’d be easier. We would see how that blank space fits in. We’d get that it’s necessary. We’d understand the “why” in the wait.
Often times retrospect gives us that clarity, we can see why things happened a certain way or why things didn’t go as we hoped. We find ourselves praising God that we didn’t get our way, thankful for what He had instead.
Not always, though. Sometimes we hang out in that blank space for way longer than we thought we would. Past our comfort zones, past our timetables, past our planned routes, or past our perceived prime. That is when faith counts most, when you’re deep in the not knowing and you trust and thank Him anyway.
We can be okay with the not knowing because of what we do know: God is faithful. Even when we think His answers are taking too long. Even when things don’t go as we would have liked. We can choose to press past the discomfort, lean in and wait. Look to Him for direction before we start off on our own. Change our “I’ve got this” to “He’s got this” and then follow Him accordingly.
We have to let God be God and know that if we’re in the blank space with Him, it’s the best place we could possibly be.
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