Nothing makes me more fearful than uncertainty. I am a person who likes to plan, so when the future is uncertain I feel unsettled. You could say I’m a type A personality, so sitting back and going with the flow is pretty difficult for me. Over the years I came to realize how much is just truly outside of my control. This was a truly scary realization because, despite my planning and best efforts, things don’t always go according to plan. So I figured out a way to cope with this uncertainty, worry about everything all the time. Hope for the best and plan for the worst. In this way I had a plan, but I also had contingency plans if something went wrong. Problem solved! Not quite.
When you start trying to prepare for the “what ifs” you realize just how much could go wrong. You begin to see just how fragile your life is. So many things could happen that would destroy the life I’d built! The more I tightened my grip, the more powerless I began to feel. My plan to control my future was only feeding my fears. It was robbing me of peace in the present, in exchange for fear of the future. When fighting for control in the face of uncertainty, the last thing I could do was give those worries to God. I believed God had the power, but there were bigger problems in the world. I could at least handle mine.
In 2014, a series of events caused me to face many of by biggest fears. We experienced a house fire that displaced us from our home. Stress began to impact my children’s behavior and education. My husband was recovering from an injury and was unable to work for 6 months, threatening our financial security. And the resulting time demands threatened my education, professional life, and mental health. I was reminded of the story of Job.
For sighing has become my daily food;Job 3:24-26
my groans pour out like water.
What I feared has come upon me;
what I dreaded has happened to me.
I have no peace, no quietness;
I have no rest, but only turmoil.”
Life kept beating me up and driving me to my knees. Unexpectedly, that’s just where I needed to be because it caused me to start looking up. It started small at first, just listening to K-LOVE Christian radio. But as I listened I felt God’s presence. Each day I heard him speaking words of encouragement through the music. Humbled, and at the end of myself, I finally asked God to make a way according to his will.
“I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.Job 42:2-3
Things didn’t change immediately. Some things even got worse before they got better. But I was committed to walking the path set before me, even when I couldn’t see the end. Over the coming months, I watched in wonder as God provided a way through each impossible situation. Those painful experiences actually led us to knew opportunities we could have never foreseen. By the end of that year, we hadn’t just recovered, we’d prospered.
What I learned was I can trust God to lead me, even when the road ahead is uncertain. When I begin to worry about the future, I have to remind myself of two important truths.
1. God is good
2. God loves me, I am his child.
When I remember these two facts it becomes easier to let go. If I continue to walk in faith, he will lead me to greater things. Peace didn’t come from control. Peace comes from surrendering control to someone greater than yourself.