I am an organized person. I like to know that everything is in its place and things are moving along just as they should. I like to know whats next. I like to plan and make lists and prepare for any situation. It is completely against my nature to let go and trust that things will all work out. In fact, I usually scoff and roll my eyes when that’s the advice I’m given in an out of control, oppressive situation; it seems irresponsible to not be planning and always moving. How do I surrender my control and informed anticipation of the future? How do I resist the desire to make lists, research and plan when that is what every fiber of my being craves?
This is the battle that’s been waging in my mind since I graduated over six months ago. I’ve had to put my career on hold, again, for the sake of my husband’s and now that I am almost out of this period of waiting, I’ve been told that plans have changed and my time in this place will last indefinitely; no longer ending at the time it was scheduled to. It’s difficult fighting what only comes naturally to me, what makes me feel comfortable and secure. But I have no choice. It’s been made abundantly clear that in this season of my life I am to learn how to be “patient in the waiting.”
That phrase was laid on my heart just before graduation and wow, I had no idea how profoundly that phrase and the helpless lack of control that came with it would impact me. These six months have been the most mentally taxing that I can recall and I’m far from the end of it.
9 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. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.2 Corinthians 12:9-11 NIV
But in times like these, I recall this verse from 2 Corinthians and give my hopes and fears to the One who is greater than all of them. I am so far from being able to “rejoice” in my hardships but I am actively working toward that mindset. Each day is a battle, as I mentioned, but each day I pray for the grace I need to get through the battle and I know those prayers – many, many, many prayers – are answered. Clearly, there is a good reason I’m still here, forced to wait. Clearly, I have not yet grown enough to advance to the next stage, the next season that lies ahead of me. However, that doesn’t make it any less difficult to fight what only comes naturally to me: an organized, over-thinking, over-planner.
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.Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
In the last two months, I’ve been consciously working to surrender my control, remembering the promise that’s written in Jeremiah 29:11. Why should I be afraid of the future? Why should I feel the need to over-plan and know every next step before its time? Those questions I ask myself as the battle rages on, and through continuous prayer and reading God’s Word, I am slowly learning and finding more of the answers I’ve been looking for. One such being that it’s already taken care of, already decided – I just need to listen and follow.
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.Philipians 4:6 NIV
Finally, it isn’t in God’s design for us to be anxious, stressed, panicked and afraid. That is the truth. As I spend however long we will remain here retraining my brain to relinquish control to the One who is in control, I will keep praying and praising and remember Philipians 4:6 when my natural tendencies to over-think, over-plan and need to know what’s next start to overwhelm me. The battle is far from over, but thankfully, I’m not fighting it alone.