The next right thing for the next 15 minutes. I heard a young woman say this Tuesday who is wise far far beyond her years, and God said to me, “did you hear that?” That is as far in advance as you need to look.
Phillipians 4:6, I have read this verse a ridiculous amount of times on surface level. It reads like this Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. I read this verse printed on an index card on Sunday by a woman I treasure, I have never seen anyone capable of loving people as well as she did. The back of that card had 5 things she was thankful for. I realized after reading it that I had always pegged that verse with the tag, Don’t be anxious, don’t worry, through her eyes I saw, be thankful and give it to God. While in this moment I saw the beauty of this verse I had not seen before, there was much more to see yet.
I like to control things, you probably wouldn’t know that from the outside looking in, but spend some time in my home and it becomes apparent the things I need to be in line for my world to be right. Schedule is one of them, I like for the same thing to happen at the same time every day, coffee, lunch, nap time, bath time and bed time. This began to show up really prominently when I had the twins, schedule was life, but it has served well as life continued on, it helps everyone know what to expect because these are constants. If you have been to our house more than once you know that if on any given day you show up at 6pm, you will walk in just in time to sit down to dinner, if you show up at 1pm like the UPS man is aware my house will be on lock down of naps, come at 6am and you can sit down to coffee and cartoons. Control is how I deal with anxiety, I white knuckle what I can control like the steering wheel of a car careening off the road.
This last few weeks has held a lot of things I can’t control, a lot of things that have zero certainty, and zero predictability. It is 100% gray, there is no black or white. For a few weeks God says give it to me, and I do I hand it to him knowing His plan is good and He is perfectly in control of this careening car- as Carrie likes to remind us when she ask Jesus to take the Wheel. Then before you know it, its 2am and I am laying in bed playing the “what if” game, playing out every possible scenario and the hard things each one brings……God says “hey I thought you said I could handle that for you?” Ooops yes you are right and I hand it over, again and again and again.
Surrender, it is an oil I rub on myself often, I suppose to help me to remember but I often don’t fully surrender, I am a partially surrendered mess….lol. I am working to surrender my need to control everything ( don’t worry dinner is still at 6 sharp) I am working to surrender this gray world to him and look solely at the next right thing for the next 15 minutes, I want to give my anxiety to him in thanksgiving and prayer, I have to do this everyday. This time of year is popular, for the new year, new me things, things we start and they usually are positive and they make us feel better, they are improvements to who we are! You are working every day to improve on yourself, then you miss a day, then two and before you know you it you don’t have time in your day for those things that gave greater value to your day and to you. That is what surrender often looks like for me, I give it to God, and then after a while I deal with a few problems on my own and forget the peace of surrender. The anxiety creeps back in and I feeling suffocated and distressed, like Dumbo is sitting on my chest and God says “hey I thought you were going to let Me handle that?”
I want to start choosing love over fear, the love of surrender over the need to know what is coming next. So when I catch myself wondering what life is going to hold in 6 days, weeks, or months, I am going to hand it back to Him before I crash the car. Jesus take the wheel over and over and over again.