Why would I not trust Him? If my God is the One who splits seas and lays out bread – if that’s the God who has me in His hands – why would I worry?
Do adult decisions need to be made sometimes? Yes. But if I keep everything in my life – from family to friends to comfort to clothes – on the altar as a gift back to Him every single day, He’s not going to let me go astray. I don’t need to be up in the middle of the night worrying – He’s got that covered. I just need to keep my whole life on the table, look to Him to meet my needs, work, live, ask Him again to lead and provide in the way He wants to, and then go to sleep.

taco

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*****

“You don’t have to buy … “

That’s all I got out before she cut me off.

“What you ordered is $3. You’re a cheap date,” my friend said with a grin.

On pretty much anybody’s scale, that’s a beautiful price, the American dream served up in two soft taco shells. I felt like somehow I — or she — had found a glitch in the matrix, like we’d won at the free market. I loved this lunch already.

Not to mention that my friend is a great storyteller … also wise.

As we sat down, I bowed my head over that bargain wonder and thanked God for the way He gives us what we need every day … wisdom from others, and tasty chicken tacos with easy-to-scrape-off iceberg lettuce.

“You know you could’ve asked them to leave that off, right?” she asked with another grin.

Yeah, I did.

In the moment though I just didn’t want to be high maintenance. I was grateful for her hospitality. Sorry about that mound of reject lettuce on the tray …

We talked about work, friends, family. We talked about dogs. And a little while later, after she told me about how her daughter’s basset hound chewed up all the door stoppers in her house, she asked me how she could pray for me.

And I thought for a minute. What do I need prayer for the most?

I need to know what to do next.

Over the past seven years, life has been quite the nail biter of a roller coaster at times. It’s been great. It’s had high highs. But it’s had a lot of unexpected twists. Move overseas, love it, lose the visa and come home. Move overseas again planning to stay for years or even decades, can’t get a visa, come home nine months later to write a book instead.

I was very much okay with the twists, though there were a lot of emotions with pretty much every one. But all of a sudden, I’d hit another one of those clearings where the path disappeared and I pulled up from running to catch my breath and look around. The book is on the shelves … and so is my passport.

Where from here?

I don’t know.

“I’m okay with not knowing what to do past tomorrow,” I told my friend. “I don’t mind taking it one day at a time. I just need to know if I need to just keep doing what I’m doing, or if I need to be making some different long-term plans. Do I need to start looking for something else?”

Passion-related questions … like where does God want me to invest my life? And in whom?

Adult-related questions … like several part-time jobs, or one full-time job? Can I support myself writing? And what do I do to keep medical insurance?

She leaned forward in her chair and smiled.

“Are you really okay with not knowing?”

I took a deep breath and let it out. And I smiled too.

Sometimes … sometimes no. Sometimes my eyes burn and my eyelids scratch as I lay in bed wondering if I’m doing a good job of living in the tension of “I trust Your provision today, because You’ve been faithful to provide, and tomorrow I’ll get up and do it all over again” and making good long-term decisions for the future.

Not over-planning. But also not under-planning.

It’s a beautiful tension. But not always easy.

I had one of those moments of struggle earlier this week. I kept waking up, and finally I rolled over and looked at my phone. 5 a.m. I got up, turned on a lamp and went to the couch to read.

The story that morning was of the Israelites waking up to manna on the ground for the very first time. God had told Moses that He was about to rain bread down on them, and they were supposed to go outside and gather just enough of it for that day. They weren’t supposed to save any for tomorrow. They were supposed to trust what He said, that the next day there would be enough all over again.

“But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and stank.”

Not the best.

They also went out on the Sabbath day and tried to gather it when God had told them not to – He was going to provide for them in other ways instead on that day.

And God was irritated.

I mean, I can’t blame Him.

Just two seconds ago, He epically rescued them from slavery, parted the Red Sea so they could escape their enemies, and then He promised He’d take care of them, love them, lead them and never leave. They’d just been singing about it with tambourines for more verses than an early ’90s Bon Jovi ballad. They’d seen who He was. They knew who He promised to be.

And then they complained about the way He’d chosen to provide for them and tried to take it into their own hands. They didn’t so much like the day-by-day thing.

“Do you ever get that fluttery feeling, that nervousness of having to trust when you can’t see what’s coming?” my friend asked.

Yes. Yes I do.

She had said that day that I was a cheap date … but she was wrong. On mornings like the one where I read about the manna with bloodshot eyes, I’m a pretty expensive date. I want it to happen my way, on my terms, to come gift-wrapped in a way that I like. I’m laying awake in the dark, begging God for answers or direction like a kid begs for a pony.

I want to know how this is going to play out.

I want it to be enough for leftovers for the next couple of days.

I want to be able to gather a Tupperware container with enough manna to last the year, if I’m being honest.

I don’t want to not know what’s coming and how it’s going to show up.

I think I’m entitled to more than I really need. I know how the Israelites felt.

Could God have given them food that lasted several days, several years? Sure He could’ve. But He didn’t.

He gave them what they really needed instead … and that was Himself, and the life lesson of how to look to Him to be what they need.

My friend Heather says that when we don’t know where the next thing is coming from, it can almost be a game to see how God will creatively come through, how He strengthens our faith when we trust when we don’t know what’s going to happen.

She says it makes our heart race … not freak out … when we cling to Him with trust and know He’s got us.

Over tacos that day, my friend said the same thing.

“I think whenever we choose trust over that fluttery feeling, it’s a gift to Him. I think He sees that as a gift.”

I think she’s right.

Because I’ve seen who He’s been to His people for centuries and centuries. Perfectly faithful. I’ve seen who He’s going to be when we finally get to live with Him one day. Perfectly worth it.

I’ve seen Him show up in my inbox, my mailbox, my mornings, my nights.

And as I look back, never once has He failed.

Why would I not trust Him? If my God is the One who splits seas and lays out bread – if that’s the God who has me in His hands – why would I worry?

Do adult decisions need to be made sometimes? Yes. But if I keep that fluttery feeling and everything else in my life – from family to friends to comfort to clothes – on the altar as a gift back to Him every single day, He’s not going to let me go astray. I don’t need to be up in the middle of the night worrying – He’s got that covered. I just need to keep my whole life on the table, look to Him to meet my needs, work, live, ask Him again to lead and provide in the way He wants to, and then go to sleep.

Today, I’m choosing trust. I’m going to look to Him. And we’ll see what happens.

It’s probably not going to happen like I think it will, or think it should. It could be very different. And it could come in very different timing.

But whatever it is … it will be even better for me than I could’ve ever planned for myself.

Like Heather said … it’s exciting to see what will happen when we’re fully placed in His loving hands.

*****

i dont wait anymore

 

“I Don’t Wait Anymore” the book, now at Barnes & Noble and other retailers. Check it out here.

It’s the story of shaking off broken dreams and expectations to follow God to something better.

You want in? I’d love it if you’d come along.

 

If you’re in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area on July 27, it’d be great if you’d come by and say hey.

It’ll be fun. Thanks so much to my dear friends over at ReachingHer.com for hosting.

Hope to see you there!

Reaching Her Instameet

UPDATE: Congratulations to Arlene, Collins and Haley for winning the drawing for a free copy of “I Don’t Wait Anymore.” And a huge thank you to everyone who participated! I’m grateful you stopped by.

Great Amer Hoorah 756

Hey guys. Happy holiday weekend!

As you’re eating BBQ and watching fireworks, I thought I might throw a free book your way to add to your by-the-pool, by-the-beach or in-the-car reading for the summer.

I’ll be giving away three free copies of “I Don’t Wait Anymore” on Monday, July 4.

To enter, just do ONE of these three things before the end of the day on July 4:

  1. Share a link to one of the stories/Instagrams/links in the blog below on your public Twitter and tag @gracefortheroad.
  2. Share a photo with the hashtag #idontwaitanymore on your public Instagram and tag @gracefortheroadblog.
  3. Share a link to a blog from gracefortheroad.com on social media and let me know by tagging me (if your account is public) or commenting below (if your account is private).
  4. Share a note of your own somewhere about “I Don’t Wait Anymore” and let me know by tagging me (if your account is public) or commenting below (if your account is private).
  5. Share one of those things on your Facebook or other private account and then comment here and let me know you did.

I’ll take the names and randomly pick three at the end of the day. Hopefully it’ll be you! :)

****

Wanna see some of those people or places in the book?

IMG_1284They’re real life. And I’d love for you to meet them. I’ve been sharing some of them on my Instagram account most days at @gracefortheroadblog.

Like this one of Abi at the top of St. Mary’s Glacier in Colorado (from chapter 13). Or Elizabeth in that Mexican restaurant with the high dive. Or Emily from cowgirl day in Maryland, or Kelsey building a snowman in Estonia.

They’re pretty great people. I’m grateful. Knowing them makes my life so much better.

I think you’ll like them too.

****

“How wanting to be married made my heart hard.” … and how things changed.

It’s an intense title … but for me, it’s what happened. The guys at Radical.net were kind enough to let me share a little bit of that story, which is also the story of “I Don’t Wait Anymore” … how God wrecked my heart and made my whole life feel different.

“I didn’t want it (marriage) in an over-the-top way, I didn’t think, just the normal way that I imagined most people did who grew up watching everyone around them get married and have kids. And that in and of itself wasn’t a bad thing. From the beginning, God’s been all for marriage. We’re built to want a spouse. And marriage can be such a beautiful picture of the gospel, of Christ’s love for his church. But I remember the day I knew that there was something very, very wrong. It didn’t hit me like a lightning bolt, or a shockwave, or really anything at all. It felt pretty normal. And that . . . that right there was the problem.”

****

It’s not just about singleness.

From Jill Marquis:

I wasn’t sure I wanted to read this book. I kept thinking, “What does a woman 20 years my junior have to offer me?” Turns out, she has a lot to offer. Two chapters in and I was hooked. Here is a woman whose carefully laid out life was up-ended and she was adrift, searching for meaning. Searching for a new plan. This is a woman who is asking the hard questions of God. The WHY question when life wasn’t turning out quite like she had dreamed.

As she is floundering around in the mess that is her life, she reveals this truth:

It’s hard to trust the intimate details of our lives to a God we don’t know intimately.

From Maria:

First of all, I have to let you know that we are reading this book out loud as a family before we go to bed. With my children being between the ages of six and nine, you’d think they’d prefer fairy tales. But they saw me reading it one night and we haven’t put it down.

From Joann Lim Lesiuczok:

“I Don’t Wait Anymore” … is an invite to live bigger, love deeper, and experience the presence of God on an even greater level. And that my friends is beyond anything you and I can think, dream, or imagine.

****

Some of the back story.

Starting about 3 hours after life thrust me into adulthood – and I heard her nailing things into the other side of my dorm room wall with a shoe – my friend Amy Bufkin has lived through the roller coaster with me.

Amy tells from her perspective a little bit of how “I Don’t Wait Anymore” reluctantly came to be over at ReachingHer.com, as well as a little bit of her parallel journey to contentment in God through His Word. She’s got a killer gift for words:

“When I look back at my life, I spent quite a bit of time following a religion instead of being enraptured by my Savior. My faith consisted of a lot of dos/don’ts, going to church, emotional Christianity, and reading super spiritual books. I loved God and wanted to seek Him, but I also placed contingencies on my belief. If God didn’t give me what I wanted or didn’t live up to my expectations, I doubted and retracted to a very safe place of worship songs and feel good verses plucked from my favorite books of the Bible.

It was a very shallow faith I’m sad to say. But, gratefully, God didn’t leave me there. When I realized there had to be more than just this semblance of tasks and emotion, God met me at a point of decision. He offered Himself, and Himself alone. So I chose Him. And when I chose Him at all costs instead of all those things that were just a shadow of Him, the Lord moved.”

She and her friends over at Reaching Her gave me the opportunity to share a little bit of what happened from my perspective too, right here:

Marriage, kids, careers, vacations, houses — nothing can fulfill like He can. Not even close. Grief, singleness, barrenness, war, crime, cancer — nothing can shake us when we’re buried in Him.

I wanted everyone to know that reading the Bible really can change your heart, really make you see God as the one life’s all about. It can change the way you believe about those things, but it can also change the way you feel about those things.

I wanted everyone to know it can be different. And He is worth it.”

****

fireworks 2Enjoy the freedom you’ve been given this week, guys.

And if you’re not there yet … this might be the week for you to put everything into feeling those chains drop off.

Like Amy says … when she chose Him at all costs instead of all those things that were just a shadow of Him, the Lord moved.

“You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all Your heart.”

That’s a promise.

 

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