I am a thinker, an OVER over thinker, and anytime I lack clarity in any aspect of my life, I wander and wander and wander in my thoughts, thinking that if I do it enough, I will arrive at an answer. In fact, often, if I find myself not questioning anything in life, I assume that I am passing over something, neglecting something that could be better. My over thinking is fueled by a desire to predict my future. I look at the past and the present, constantly investigating for clues as to how they will foreshadow what lies ahead in life.
The downside is, that
sometimes most of the time, my over thinking leads to more confusion, keeps my mind distant from what is in front of me, and blinds me of the present joys and revelations in front of me. I am left anxious in my roaming.
Anyone who knows me knows I have a bad habit of trying to finish people’s sentences when they are telling stories. This is partly because I am so excited to get to the ending, but also because I assume I can figure out the ending. That’s who I am: a figure outer, (or at least I think I am) and while this is sometimes good, it can often times make more problems then it solves because here’s the thing:
There are some things that we just cannot figure out. We do not have enough clues, we do not have foresight, and we cannot predict the future.
When we attempt to make assumptions about the endings to our stories or the stories of others, there is no benefit. Really, we are left with two outcomes.
1. If our assumptions are right, then we can pat ourselves on the back, continue assume we always know best (SOS: this is not good, I promise). Plus, we lose all element of surprise!
2. If we are wrong, our world comes crashing down because we realize that we cannot predict the future and have to let go of control and lose the stability of our minds that are dependent on ideals we have set in stone.
Yet, even in knowing this, I still find myself wanting to know the ending to my story. This can be a good, pure desire, when fueled my hope. But more often than not, it is not rooted in faithful anticipation, but it is rooted in fear. Fear that I believe I will be put to shame. Fear that I will fail. Fear that God will not fulfill his promises because the clues I currently have do not match up with his promises. So, I choose to predict and to control until I am left lost. I am lost because I look at every encounter and circumstance for guidance instead of looking to Jesus. I convince myself that as long as I have answers, then I do not have to worry. But, this control and predictability does not remove my fear, (it may mask as that), but it is actually fueled by fear.
I can only see and only know what is tangibly, directly in front of me; And I know this, but still, I choose to put on my detective hat and I dissect myself and everything around me. I follow the bunny rabbit trails of thoughts in my mind, claiming that once I figure them out, I can then follow what the Lord is calling me to.
Jesus, however, never said we need to have answers; he said we need to have soft hearts and we need to have ears to hear. And not necessarily ears to hear the lifelong calling over our lives, but maybe ears to hear a five minute calling.
We are not called to be fortune tellers. We are called to be followers of Jesus.
Jesus says it is okay to stand in mystery. He says follow me. We need to stop asking and overanalyzing and predicting what Jesus has spoken over our future. Instead, ask, “Jesus, how do I follow you today? “
Today, for where I am in life, I was required to go to a local garden for community service hours in an environmental science class. Nothing about that seemed to have any connection to my assumed future.
But, I decided that instead of using the time in my day to overanalyze my future, I would take life one day at a time and show up (not just physically, but also mentally) to what I was required to do for the day.
So I shoveled leaves in a garden. For two hours, I shoveled the same pile of leaves, convinced that the pile was not getting any smaller as I dragged the wheel-borough back and forth. But I kept shoveling, and somehow, without realizing it, the pile was gone. While I was shoveling, only three thoughts went through my mind: Dig, dump, drag. No overcomplicating. It was simple, and I arrived to the end of the task by simply being obedient to the tasks in front me: dig, dump, drag.
As I looked at the empty pile, I had a thought.
Maybe I am making things more complicated than they should be. Maybe I need to stop searching for clues and start actively living obediently. Maybe I should be like a child, put one foot in front of the other, take life one-day- at- a – time, and trust that if I am obedient to the task in front of me, it will lead me to an ending that is unpredictable.
“Simplicity is the secret to seeing clearly. You cannot think through spiritual confusion to make things clear; to make things clear, you must obey.”
Oswald Chambers – My Utmost For His Highest