When Your Future is Uncertain

When Your Future is Uncertain

Have you ever driven in dense fog? I took this picture a few years ago as I was driving to work through very dense fog that prevented me from seeing much past the front of my car. I had no idea what lay ahead of me on that road. I just had to continue driving and hope that there wouldn’t all of a sudden be a large object in my path. All I had to rely on was the familiarity of the route itself and my short-distance vision. The future can feel like that sometimes – unclear, a little nerve-wracking, moving forward with uncertainty…

When you move forward through an uncertain future, you’re likely to hope for several things: that your path will become clear, that you’ll understand why you had to go through this period of uncertainty, and of course that you will find yourself safely or happily at the end of this uncertainty.

But as you move forward, trusting amidst the unknown, it’s a little scary because there are no guarantees that your journey will end the way you desire it to. Perhaps you could be okay with however it ends, but for me, sometimes it’s more of the uncertainty of it all that makes me nervous.

I tend to get so anxious to see where this road leads, just to know what will happen. (And yes, I was one of those kids who pestered Mom and Dad with “ARE WE THERE, YET?!”)

When facing the uncertain, you have no clue as to how long the road is, if you will take any detours or not, where the heck it goes, and what stops are along the way. And that can be really hard to deal with on a day-to-day basis.

But there is good news – one thing is for sure: you are not the one driving. And that brings me so much comfort and peace when I choose to remember that truth.

There is One who knows exactly where all roads lead and end. There is One who is carrying you through each day of your journey.

He is One who I trust with my future, uncertainty and all. Heck, He’s the ONLY one I trust with my future!

So when the anxiety of the unknown begins to weigh you down, threatening to take over every thought you possess…stop and fix your eyes on the One who knows all and sees all, and trust Him to lead you through it.

For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light. – Mark 4:22

Letting Go of Your Plans

Letting Go of Your Plans

I don’t know about you, but I’m a planner by nature. I make to do lists, sometimes just so I can feel the satisfaction of scratching something off a list. You know the type. After two months of dating, we had “the plan” all laid out: get married, finish school, get jobs, save money, buy a house, have two kids no more, no less (we had names already picked out for a boy and a girl), and live as a happy family. Such naiveté. That sweet, young girl had no idea what was in store for her.

I’m so glad that I am unable to see the future. That cliché question “If you could know the day you will die, would you want to know it?” is very applicable – sometimes knowledge is a burden. Not knowing can allow a person to live without a sense of dread. But I can also understand the argument that when facing an uncertain future, a person can feel overwhelmed with anxiety of all the possible outcomes.

For someone like me, I find it comforting to make plans. It helps me feel more in control. And making plans is not inherently a bad thing to do. But I have learned through my periods of suffering that clinging to your plans is setting yourself up for a lot of hurt.

After experiencing so many months of disappointment with infertility God started working on my heart, slowly peeling back one finger at a time to release my grip from my plans, and gave me a new plan: to trust His plan.

Jeremiah 29:11
‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’

It’s important to remember the above verse when your plans fall apart – God has not forgotten about you. He has a plan for you, and even if it includes painful events, it is meant for you to trust Him with your future and have a heart of hope.

Romans 5:1-5
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

The Lord has taught me that there is so much more to life than “my plan”…this life is meant to build a legacy of trusting God with an uncertain future and bringing glory to Him. He is the Lord Most High, and He is worthy of praise, each and every day…during triumph and during struggle, during blessings and trials. There’s so much freedom in giving up “your plan” for God’s plan – whatever He chooses it to be.

The Worry Ferrari

worry

On a fairly regular basis I will toss and turn, unable to fall asleep, but also unable to let go of a particular thought that worries me. It could be as simple as thinking I heard a noise and all the possibilities of what it could be, or it could be related to something that happened earlier that day or that I will need to do tomorrow. Either way, I often wrestle with taking my thoughts captive. It’s as if I have a Worry Ferrari inside my head that can go from zero to worried in six seconds (but often less time than that). Isn’t it amazing how quickly your mind can fill with thoughts of worry?

We have all heard that no good will come from worrying, but if you’re at all like me, you probably know how hard it can be to halt worrisome thoughts when you’re cruising down that highway in the Worry Ferrari.

25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:25-34

So what do you do when you just can’t seem to stop your mind from focusing on those thoughts? I have learned (most recently from The Grace Walk by Steve McVey) that not all your thoughts are your own.

Satan or his demons skillfully study you and know exactly which thoughts to suggest in your mind – but they’re sure to plant thoughts that are in the first person so you may not even recognize that you didn’t think it on your own.

They are very talented at what they do, I’ll give them that. After they plant a thought, I often take the bait and off to the races I go…

“3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

So if your thoughts are speculative (worried, anxious), lofty (self-focused), or don’t align with the knowledge of God, there’s a good chance those thoughts are not your own. Taking your thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ – or to put it more simply: abiding in Christ – is the answer. Trying to take charge of your thoughts on your own efforts is never going to work in the long run – you need Christ to do it for you. Seeking Christ in those moments I’m struggling to stop worrying is the surest way to stop driving that Worry Ferrari.