I’ve concluded there are two types of “smart” people in this world. Some people learn to do their homework, turn it in timely, pay attention in class and make great grades. While others…wait for it…actually know things.
Although I would never confess this to my little brother, I tend to fall in the first camp. I’m not really that intelligent, but I learned quickly how to get by and do what was expected of me. I can people-please with the best of them, and honestly, it got me pretty far in life!
Until my first college math class.
I was one of the only freshmen naive enough to take the course first semester, before I had a handle on things. I felt like the professor spoke a foreign language and everyone understood it but me. I didn’t dare ask questions, at the risk of looking stupid or overly studious. And so, I got my first C. Ever. In my life. And I was devastated. I realized that my doing wasn’t going to cut it here in the big leagues. I was going to have to go back to the drawing board and learn to learn.
That experience, as humbling as it was, provided the motivation I needed to correct course and learn new methods of studying and understanding concepts instead of memorizing answers. And over time, I’ve had to apply the same principle to my walk with God.
You see, I grew up hearing all the stories and knowing all the answers. I can recall scripture, obey the rules and even pray out loud, on occasion. But lately, despite all of that, I feel discontent. That fact got me thinking, how well do I truly know my God? Am I pursuing deeper intimacy with him? Or am I missing the boat?
Recently, I’ve had the privilege to participate in a discipleship pathway at our church that renewed a desire in me to know God more fully. In his mercy, as I’ve shown up each week, he has whispered the word trust to me over and over again…
- Trust me enough to be vulnerable with others
- Trust that I will provide for your needs
- Trust me to reveal truth as you study my word
- Trust me to direct your path
- Trust that I hear your prayers
- Trust that I know best
- Trust me to multiply my love in you and through you
- Trust that I am with you
- Trust that I am enough
- Trust that I am good
…In essence, God is inviting me to a new level of understanding who he is and how he actively engages in relationship with me.
Due to my talent of doing all the things and checking all the boxes and making it look like I have it all together, I’ve become a pro at controlling my life. To me, that control is synonymous with comfort. I could be wrong here, but attempting to control everything around me in order to feel comfortable probably doesn’t reflect a high level of trust in God. It’s becoming abundantly clear that I tend to place these fleeting feelings ahead of pursuing a deeper relationship with the Lord.
I find myself believing that if the kids all nap at the same time, I complete my to-do list, worry sufficiently about an upcoming decision, keep a smile on my face and hope everything goes accordingly, then my life will be good.
But that’s not guaranteed. Let’s be real – as soon as I get one child asleep, the other wakes up and pulls the folded laundry off the couch. So placing all my hope in my ability to control toddlers will definitely leave me wanting.
Tonight I wonder what it would be like to surrender all of that to a God who is bigger than my best plan. What have I been missing? What freedom could be found? What rest could I enjoy? What love could I experience?
How fully could we live if we cut out our striving and got to know our infinitely good God?
I plan to find out.