While at times I have trouble believing there is more to life than what I can see, God has a tendency of surprising me and reminding me there is always more than what I can see.
I just finished moving from one place to another, and that made for an exciting few weeks. I am moving from somewhere that I’ve called home for almost thirteen years. I am currently going through this awesome mixture of shock, anxiety, and giddy excitement. Even though I’ve slept in my new place for a couple weeks already, it still feels more like going on vacation and part of me thinks I’ll be headed back any day now.
In other words, this is a really big change for me and it’s going to take some time to adjust. That said, I love my new place and I am really glad I made the change.
Even though moving was not a part of my plan, it was exactly what I needed. My plan didn’t involve moving again until I got married someday. A year ago, I felt comfortable with the idea of living in my old place for years to come and I was completely focused on other more ‘probable’ changes.
Simply put, I thought that my living situation was going to be a constant until I made a major life change. I find it really interesting that this circumstance and a few others were the ones that I really believed would not change during my current life stage. The more I thought about that, the more I was encouraged by those unexpected turn of events.
I was encouraged because change is usually something that really frustrates me.
Much of my frustration in life comes when things either don’t go my way or when things don’t help me move along the plan that I have for myself. When this happens, I get upset because I feel like God has let me down or that He’s selling me short. From my perspective, there is a better way and He’s not letting me take it.
The truth is always the opposite though. Even when it comes to the really hard times of my life, I can look back and be really grateful that God blocked one path and opened up another. For most of those times, I can see how my way would not have ended well and how God’s path for me has led to even more life than I imagined.
While I didn’t always see it that way in the moment, I definitely have that clarity now.
I am encouraged by unexpected changes and seeing God move in my life because it shows me that there is more to my life than I can see today. That is an equally scary and encouraging acknowledgement. It is scary because it means I can’t get a complete grasp on my life and it’s encouraging because it reminds me that life is more grand, exciting, and filled with wonder than I assume.
I recognize that not all of us use the words ‘grand’ and ‘wonder’ to describe our day to day lives. While many different factors play a part in our lack of wonder, one of the biggest factors comes from where we put our focus. When we place our focus on the future and things that we really want, we miss out on the wonder and grandeur of our lives.
It’s kind of like missing the forest for all the trees that are just around the next turn in the path.
If you’ve ever gone hiking, you’ve probably experienced those times where you’re more interested in getting to the next rest stop than enjoying the outdoors or appreciating the scenery. This happens to me at LEAST twice a hiking trip. Many of us go through our day to day lives with this same perspective.
Our main focus is the next vacation or promotion. Our thoughts tend to center on a really stressful problem that we just wish would go away. I don’t speak these words out of accusation or judgment.
I’m speaking these words from personal experience. In good times and in bad, I find myself thinking about the next experience or pleasure in life that I am really looking forward to. This is a problem because I miss out on the wonder of life just so I can get the excitement of expectation.
Expectation is not a bad thing in and of itself. Wanting to get through a time of hard stress and sorrow is definitely not a bad thing either. Letting expectation or finding the end of a tunnel become our main focus in life and possibly one of our idols is a bad thing.
This is why God throws so many curveballs at us. He is trying to wake us up and snap us out of our stupor. He knows that we’re missing the life that He wants for us because we’re so focused on what’s around the next corner.
Sometimes, to rouse us from our stupor He changes some of the things that we believe will be constants in our lives. These changes can be fun or very painful. I have known both kinds quite well.
While I’ve seen joyful surprises, I’ve also experienced losses and heartbreaks. I didn’t always have the perspective that I am presenting in this blog, and will probably lose it on occasion for the rest of my life. For years I felt really frustrated whenever God surprised me. I was frustrated because I could never figure out exactly what God was up to in all of the surprises because some were really exciting and others were really painful.
It wasn’t until I stepped back and stopped trying to figure out everything about God’s plan for me that I started to experience some peace in my life.
It took quite a bit for me to take that step back though. It took some wise counsel from multiple people, a few heavy doses of humility, and God moving in my heart. It wasn’t easy to put down my attempt to understand and control my life and yet I can now see that it was completely worth it.
I made the decision to move because I listened to a few sources of wise counsel and not because I thought it was the best idea. It honestly scared me. Today, I can’t imagine making any other decision.
Trusting God is one of the hardest things in the world. That said, I have yet to regret a single decision where I followed God’s wisdom instead of mine. The foundation of my trust in God comes from what Jesus did on the cross and was then built piece by piece in the decisions where I chose His wisdom instead of mine.
I feel encouraged and excited today because while I still get hit by painful surprises from time to time, I’ve started to really see that an infinite and loving God wrote me into His incredible story. That truth is priceless to me.
Image Copyright: Kamyar Adlby