The days I’m an expensive date.

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?

taco

(Follow @gracefortheroadblog on Instagram)

*****

“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.

 

15 Comments on “The days I’m an expensive date.

  1. Thank you for your encouragement. It came at just the right time. I’ve been learning to almost enjoy that fluttery feeling having experienced it so much over the past several years of pursuing higher education, but feeling entitled to more than I need, as you said it, gets in the way of joy when God’s plan doesn’t unfold in the way I’d considered “ideal.” But does God ever use that to demonstrate His goodness! In places/times where longed-for but artificial (not truly satisfying) things stay “missing,” His Reality becomes brighter. Not that I’m living in the full light of it yet, but it’s another step in the right direction. :)

  2. Hi Grace. It’s funny how much I relate to this. My husband and I are both in similar situations. There’s a church near us that has a Between Jobs Ministry and one of the things the guy said is that, in times like this, God’s either got something to work on in you or he’s got someone he needs you to bless.

    It’s been frustratingly, cryingly difficult for me, but now that I’ve got a little time between now and when it first started I can see a couple heart issues he’s worked on in me. It’s led to contentment and peace (good things) but I sure do want to know what’s next, what in the world David’s supposed to do, and where do I and my dreams fit in.

    Btw, when I left my insurance-providing job we both signed up for Medishare, a super cool non-insurance that operates like the early church in Acts.

    • Hey, Kris. Sorry to hear it’s been such a difficult time … but so glad to hear things are moving toward contentment and peace.

      And thanks for the insurance advice. It’s likely I’ll be checking out something like that soon! :)

  3. This book came to me at the right time and it’s sort of unbelievable. Thank you for writing it.

  4. Just finished your book today and passed it on to my sister. I enjoyed it so much and was very encouraged. The lessons God has been teaching me are very similar and it was rather like a confirmation to read your story. Thank you for sharing it!

    • Great to hear from you, Sarah! Glad you stopped by … it’s so great to hear God’s speaking into your life and your story. Hope you’ll keep in touch!

  5. This is soooo me. “What am I going to do God, what do you want me to do, God, where are we going to Go, God, what do you want me to doooooo?????”
    And the quiet, simple answer, “Trust Me.”

  6. Thank you for the encouragement! It seems that trust needs to be a deliberate choice but for much of life we cruise along operating on assumptions, and things are seldom deliberately put on the altar. (well speaking for myself)

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