“If I just knew how it’d all work out, I wouldn’t stress out so much.”
This phrase goes through my mind hundreds of times a day; thousands of times a week.
If I could, I’d do to my life just like I do to a good book– I’d skip to the end to see how it all works out and then go back to reading/living in the here and now, now knowing the ending and not stressing about the little ups and downs it took to get there.
Ah, if only it were that easy.
I feel like that is what the theme of my life is. Faith and letting go…which, if you think about it, is basically the same thing.
God’s taking me on the adventure of a lifetime, one day at a time. I’m going to admit right here, right now, that sometimes I hate the way He’s taking me.
It’s not easy.
Doors are closing everywhere– doors that I never imagined would close.
It’s testing my boundaries and pushing my comfortable bubble to the maximum width before it can pop.
I’m not a fan of *most* change. Some change, I can deal with, but most of the time, I have a hard time getting accustomed to a new sense of normal. I’m very much an organized and “what’s the plan?” kinda girl. Those who know me well know this and respond accordingly by telling me what the plan is hours beforehand so I can adjust myself accordingly.
Ok, ok… I may be a little type A, but I’m getting better, I promise.
I try not to let it bother me, because change is good. Change is good. Change is good. [Maybe if I say it a certain amount of times, I’ll actually start to believe it.]
I’ve heard thousands of times that God tests our comfort level. He tests the way we handle certain situations. He pushes us out of the box to see how we’ll deal with it; how we’ll trust Him. The kind of trials I’ve heard about are “I can’t talk in front of hundreds of people– it scares me to death!” and I thought, “Eh, that’s easy. I could do that.”
I’ve heard, “I could NEVER go up to a random stranger and be myself in front of them– I’d be too nervous!” and again I thought, “Eh, that’s easy. I could do that.”
These trials seemed easy to me, even though they were hard for others, and it took me until today to realize that that’s because God tests us in different ways.
Well, duh. You may be thinking, but it really dawned on me today.
“Say hello to my little friend!” God seems to be saying to me on a daily basis, as he pushes me out of my comfort zone and into this thing, this friend, called faith.
Sigh, there you have it. That’s my weakness. That’s what God knows I struggle with and He’s testing me. I read today, for the thousandth time but for the first time:
Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
OK, God, I get it. I finally admitted the other day. I understand that faith is my weakness, but now what? I went searching for the answer in my Bible and through prayer, but I couldn’t find what the answer was. I was frustrated, because I thought God would show me right away.
Ah, but you can’t rush God. I try daily to rush His plan, because I want to know how it’s going to work out. I’ve prayed for a fast-forward button, a dream, a verse, anything to show me that everything’s going to be okay and everything’s going to work out and everything’s going to be just fine…just peachy.
But, life ain’t peachy, son.
When life gives you lemons, what do you do?
The answer is not merely “you make lemonade” to anybody whose asked that silly rhetorical question. It’s “find a use for them.”
For some, that may mean “pelt anybody who walks by” or “throw them back and demand apples.” But for me, it’s “figure out why God gave you them and do that thing.”
So, my searching continued and I still didn’t see what God was trying to say…until Sunday.
I visited my cousin’s church; a church I don’t regularly attend, but I felt like I needed to go that Sunday. Besides the fact my brother was playing violin there that day and I was his ride home, I had a feeling God was going to show me something, so I prayed before entering and came to the grips with the fact that God was going to stretch me and it might not be the answer I wanted to hear.
And whatdoyaknow? Guess what the message was on?
God being sufficient enough in all circumstances, in every aspect of your life, always.
One of the sentences in my notes says “I had the desire/belief that I am self sufficient, that I can do it on my own without God’s help…what was I thinking? Sufficiency- do I really think that in all things God is sufficient for me?”
The passage that was preached was Mark 8:1-21. In this passage, Jesus fed 4,000 people with a few loaves of bread and some fish (the first time He did this was to 5,000 people and then again a few weeks later with 4,000 people…2 DIFFERENT stories– same outcome= everyone was fed with plenty of food leftover). The disciples witnessed both miracles in amazement and believed, but as soon as they got back into the boat after the 4,000 people miracle, they began to argue that their leftover bread was missing. They forgot what Jesus could do– they missed the message by arguing instead of believing. Jesus overheard them arguing and asked them questions to try and help them remember what had just happened. At last, Jesus asked them, “Don’t you understand yet?” (v. 21).
Don’t you understand yet.
Don’t you understand yet.
Don’t you understand yet.
That phrase echoed in my head over and over again. Don’t you understand yet?
I understand now. I understand now! Jesus is sufficient. He provided the bread and the fish for the combined total of 9,000+ people. He provided the healing for those with illnesses. Best yet, he provided HIMSELF for God’s requirements of us. He lived a perfect life, died a sinless death, and resurrected. As my cousin pastor said, “He is sufficient even when everything else is insufficient.”
I got it then. I got it. It dawned on me. Why did it take so long to get it? I always knew it, but I got it then.
2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
That night, as I was brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed, I noticed a verse posted on my mirror. Now, it has been posted for about 7 years in the same spot and I’ve seen it before, every day. But I noticed and read it again. Philippians 4:6: “Have no anxiety about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Yes. I don’t know how else to describe the feeling I had except by saying that God knows what He’s doing and when I really needed to hear that message and when I really needed to read that verse.
And wanna know something else? The daily verse from my “Daily Bible Verse iPod app” was Psalm 34:4: “I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”
But, where did my comfort zone go?
It’s no where to be found. I feel like I’m a little kid again, learning to swim for the very first time without a life jacket. I know my mom’s right there, behind me to catch me when I’m about to drown, but for a second, I’m swimming without a jacket. I’m swimming and it’s freeing. And then I panic. I get a little too far away from Mom whose there to rescue me. As I swim, I can’t see her as I face forward. I can’t turn around because that would require movement that I’m not accustomed to. A panicked little swimmer too scared to venture out without her life jacket.
My comfort zone is gone, I see no one, I see my whole little life flash before my eyes. Then, at the last second, I hear a voice. “Keep going, Keri! You got this!” I’m doing it. I’m swimming. She’s been there all along. I just lost sight of the goal.
Just like mom was there all along, God is always there, too. He never forgot about me. I just forgot how great and big and amazing my God is. I forgot his sufficiency.
I, by no means, have this all figured out. I’m on this adventurous roller coaster ride, just like you are, too. I don’t have all the answers and I still don’t know where God is taking me and what He has in store for me and my life. All I know is that God IS sufficient and that I DO trust Him, even when my comfort zone is no where to be found.
It’s my weakness, but that’s always where God teaches us the most…in our weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:10, “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”