I bet a lot of you are in school right now.
And I also bet that a lot of you aren’t. If you aren’t, you still have a future ahead of you…. So I would love it if you stuck around.
If you’re in high school, I bet you get the “So, where are you going to college?” question a lot. Like, too much.
And if you’re in college, I bet you get the “So, where are you going after this?”
“What do you want to do?”
“Where do you want to live?”
“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
Talk about pressure.
For a while, I had a pretty solid answer.
Now, the closer I come to my sweet Jesus, the less and less I have an answer.
Do you understand?
I’m going to start from the beginning.
When I was just getting to know Jesus, I still had it engrained in my head that I need to work hard, get stuff done, and work up the ladder myself.
I remember stressing hardcore because I thought that it was all up to me to get to the place I desired to be.
I thought I may have had it all figured out. Major in international affairs. Go to college on the east coast. Get an internship. Work up the ladder. And somehow, end up working in the United Nations advocating for a variety of social justice causes.
Can you see yourself in that? Fill in those blanks with your plan, your desire.
Oh, those wonderful “buts.”
God for sure did not share that plan with me.
See, friends, maybe some of you are in this place right now. Maybe, you have always just set out to do what your so very precious heart desires.
And that can be such a good thing, because God Himself has placed those desires in your heart.
But, my dear sister, have you ever sat down, locked eyes with God, and asked, with an open heart, “God, what do you want me to do?”
I know that God had placed that desire in my heart, the desire to help people. But I just kind of took it and ran with it.
And, I think I ran in the wrong direction with it. I made my own plans from that core desire. But God had different plans.
In the midst of me trying to captain my own future, I heard God answer that question. I heard Him calling me to Himself, to His better plans.
I heard Him calling me into working directly for the Church, in the Church.
So, all of a sudden, my plans to go to college in Washington D.C., to major in international affairs, and to somehow work hard enough to land in the United Nations disappeared. In a mere moment.
But, I had this excitement, this joy, this peace inside of me that never made me look back.
Friends, have you got quiet before your sweet Creator and asked what He created you for? Or have you been running with your own plans?
Those desires… you better believe that God put those in you.
But He may have different plans for those desires. Better plans. Plans that will give you so dang much excitement and joy and peace.
So maybe like you, I know a general, very general, broad, large-range area to where my Lord is leading me.
Yet the closer I get to Jesus, the more I don’t know what my future looks like.
See, friends, that’s about all that I know about my future. I know that God has called me into church-ministry.
I know what I love. I know what I desire. Yet anywhere past that… I don’t have a clue.
I know that I love event planning. I know that I’m good at it.
I know that I have a desire to build the Church.
I know that I have a heart for the global Church.
And I know that I love people.
That’s it. And I think, that’s all we are supposed to know, right now.
I think that’s enough.
I think God is trying to teach us all this thing called faith. And I kind of get the idea that He is teaching us faith by not revealing His entire plan to us.
I mean, by not knowing what our future holds, but knowing who holds it… we naturally and instinctively fall to our knees in front of that very One. And we cast our burdens, our cares and our worries up to His throne. We are put in the very place to blatantly trust the only One who has control. We are given the opportunity to lay it all in the hands of the One who designed your very heartbeat.
And in that, we learn to have faith.
We learn to trust our sweet Jesus for everything that lays ahead, with our very lives.
Yet my friend, sometimes, this lack-of-control thing triggers fear and anxiety.
I have endlessly pondered and wondered what my life will look like. If I will work in a church. If I will be called to a different country. If I will travel, or stay. If I will have a family, or be single. If I will build the Kingdom by being a missionary or an events planner or a wedding coordinator.
It’s exciting to think about. Dear friend, when you sit and let your mind wander thinking about what your life will be like, don’t be afraid. Don’t be anxious. Be excited.
Your sweet God, the One who is holding your right hand, the One who is so much closer than your very breath…. He knows exactly where He will take you. He knows exactly how you will build the Kingdom.
Have faith in Him.
It’s not scary to think about the future.
When you truly, truly believe in the deepest core of your heart that God is in control of your life, that He loves you dearly, that He will always provide for you, and that He will lead you….. it’s exciting.
Because you’re no longer riding on your abilities. You’re no longer riding on your plans. You’re no longer captain.
Sorry, but throw your hands off of the wheel and into the air in a sweet, sweet surrender. And move over.
Because there’s a Kingdom to be built.
And the King is the one calling the shots.
There’s this story in the Old Testament about the Israelites. I think this is what our lives look like when they are fully surrendered to the King:
When the Israelites were wandering in the desert, every day, God provided what they needed, manna (bread). And just enough to get them through that day.
Take note, sister, that He did not provide them manna for the week. Or for the month. Or for the year, or even for their entire forty years.
He provided for them every single day.
So, why do you keep trying to jump ahead, and know everything in store for the week, for the month, for this year, or for your next forty years?
God is a God of faithfulness, of provision and abundance, but a God who keeps our hearts and eyes fixed on Him by giving us what we need, day by day.
We aren’t supposed to know what our lives will look like in a year. Or five. Or forty.
We get to wake up every day, look up to the heavens with a giddy, expectant heart, and say, “God, what do you have for me today?” And just like that, God will rain down “manna” for you every morning. Just enough for the present moments.
And that’s how it’s supposed to be.
SO yes, duh, you’re going to get anxious and nervous and stressed out when you try to be captain of your future. Because that’s God’s job. And you make a very, very poor god.
You have the absolute freedom to wonder and ponder about your future. It’s a beautiful thing that we don’t know where we will end up, because it lets us imagine with wide eyes and big hearts.
If we knew the future, we would lose that excitement. That child-like faith. Those wide eyes.
It’s all so precious to God.
I think He loves our hearts pondering the future. But not planning our own way.
In fact, I think He created our hearts to ponder. But not to plan ourselves.
Now, friends, there is a God-honoring type of planning, and a not-so-God-honoring type of planning. Please understand what I mean in this. Trust me, I am every bit as addicted to planning as you are:
When it’s a fun time out, I like to know what’s happening, who’s involved, what time, and what to wear. If it’s a project, I like to map out responsibilities, roles, and deadlines. When it’s an event, you better believe I thrive off of excel spreadsheets, color-coating, hour-by-hour itineraries, and even more deadlines. It’s literally in my blood.
What I’m getting at is this: God has taught me that it’s so good to come empty and abandoned before Him, ask Him where He is leading, listen, listen, listen, and then get up and work with my eyes fixed on Him.
Yet. There’s also a planning where you just go. When you just run with it. When, yes, you occasionally look to your Creator and ask Him for help, ask Him to bless it, but then keep goin’ on your schedule and your path.
Dear sister, plan on your knees. Then work.
And, my friend, remember this life isn’t about us anymore.
Our very heart beats now to advance the Kingdom. Our breathe glides in and out of our lungs to advance the Kingdom. Our feet move forward step by step to advance the Kingdom.
Whatever your future may look like here on this earth, know that it is all for the Kingdom. The Kingdom that is so much bigger than ourselves. So much bigger than this life. So much greater and grander and sweeter than anything we have yet seen.
Your life has such a greater purpose than to get into your dream college. Than to land that perfect job. Than to be comfortable and wealthy and successful.
Your life was created to advance the Kingdom in a way only you can. Your heart was designed to know Jesus. Your very breathe was gifted to speak life and love and hope into this world. Your hands were crafted to grab hold of the reigns of the coming Kingdom and your feet to usher it further and further into this world. You were designed for something eternal.
Know that God has a specific, unique, adventure for you to follow Him on in advancing His Kingdom. Whether that be as a doctor, as an engineer, as an architect, an artist, a pastor, a chef, a mother.
Whatever it be, my friend, incline your heart to Him each and every morning, asking Him, “What do you have for me today?”
His response will be to gently and boldly lead you into the building of His Kingdom, yet graciously in the realm of the desires of your heart.
This life isn’t the main point. So don’t get too caught up in this future, when there’s a glorious one at hand.
The next time you get bombarded with the, “What college are you going to?” “Where are you going after you graduate?” “What do you want to do in the future?”
I want you to take a deep breathe, lock eyes with Jesus, and say, “Wherever my sweet God takes me.”
Pressures off. Burdens are casted.
You can breathe. You can enjoy the present moment, the present season.
Because your sweet Jesus will take your hand every morning, and lead you to where you need to be.
With much, much love. And a giddy heart ready to see where God leads me tomorrow morning. -Melissa
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