I grew up, as most of us did, in a school system which emphasized planning. I learned to schedule time for homework assignments, work time, play time, social time; all the things in the life of the successful student.
Planning continued to be emphasized when I entered the workforce. I learned management techniques designed to create and implement the goals of the organization in one year, five year, fifteen year plans. Margins of error were allowed but goals had to be set. And not just for the organization, I was encouraged to set personal goals and develop plans accordingly. Keep my eyes on the prize, be a man with a plan…. And I was, despite the poster on my wall which read ‘Let Go and let God’.
I regularly assessed my life, considered my options, prayed and decided on a course of action, because as my mom used to say, God can’t steer a boat that isn’t moving. Even if that was true, it wasn’t God steering the boat, it was me, at least until I foundered or couldn’t read my chart.
When I reach the point where I had done everything I could and could do no more, I would finally “let go and let God” take over. Or if some sort of unplanned disruption happened, accident, illness, whatever, I would ‘let go and let God’ until life settled down into some sort of new normal, then I would take back control and steer my life as if I knew what I was doing, And God would let me if I insisted, because… free will. It’s taken a lot of foundering and mistakes for me to finally allow God to take full control and be my pilot in all that I do.
Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me. Psalm 5:8
I used to read the latter part of the verse as “make my way straight before you.” This is the difference between, “Oh Lord, bless that which I am about to do” and “Oh Lord, what do you want me to do?”
I’m not saying I let God decide every little thing in my life. I’ll not stay in bed until I have a word from God as to what clothes to wear, what colour socks to put on. I went through that briefly, shortly after I became a Christian and dismissed the exercise as silly. I am, like every person, created with the ability to make decisions and it is my decision making which can enable or delay my salvation BUT (and it’s a big but), if I am in continuous prayer, keeping my eyes on Christ, opportunities to serve God will make themselves known.
For instance, one day I had to run to the store where I bumped into someone I hadn’t seen for awhile. We talked for a bit and said goodbye. I have no idea what effect, if any, our meeting had on her. But I do know if I had been grumbling about running out of whatever, and becoming irritated with the necessity of leaving home, the parking, the number of people in the store and my inability to find what I needed right away, it would have been a very different conversation, if I had had one at all. Instead, I treated the ‘inconvenience’ as an adventure.
In the past, I spent one week experiencing all of life as an adventure and that was when my family moved to BC. We drove from Northern Ontario at the end of January. It was a week of ‘letting go and letting God’. We experienced vehicle breakdowns which took us off the road during snowstorms. We met strangers who helped us with problems and fed us pancakes while we shared stories. It was a wonderful week of wondering, what is God going to do next and actually looking forward to the next problem to find out.
It’s the way I want to live my whole life. Doing what God sets before me, even though it may have nothing to do with what I’ve planned.
Lord, open my eyes so I can see Your way straight before me.