I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been staring at a blank Word Document for the better part of an hour.
I’ve asked myself probably twenty times what it is I should write about and I’ve been greeted with the same thought every time I search myself for the answer. I don’t know.
The phrase “I don’t know” has been a common theme in my life as of late, extending to even simple decisions such as “Where do you want to eat tonight, Coleen?”
Yeah, I don’t know.
I’m not sure how I can be bothered with trivial matters such as hamburgers versus pasta right now when nothing else seems definitive in my life. Hamburger? Pasta? I don’t know. You choose. Someone choose something for me, please.
In fact, I just auto-saved this document and as I did, I was asked what I wanted to save it as. “Not Sure” seemed as good a choice as any since, if I’m being honest, I have no idea where I’m going with this. Not yet anyway… Stand by.
Back when I was still in college, it didn’t really matter what happened. As in, my circumstances could unravel and the backbone of “the plan” still wouldn’t change. I could get dumped, be abducted by aliens and beamed back, crash my car, change my major, be fired from my campus job, win the lottery, and eat an entire package of Fruit Roll-Ups all in one night and “the plan” still wouldn’t change: Finish School. Get your degree. Become a real adult.
Well now I AM a “real” adult. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the amount of choices I have at my disposal. After school, the backbone of “the plan” often disappears. You can go anywhere, be anything, marry anyone, get arrested for anything, etcetera, etcetera.
How are you supposed to KNOW? Do you ever really know? Or are we all just making it up as we go? And what do you do when you just inadvertently rhyme your last two sentences?
I had a really great plan after I graduated college. Fortunately, God had other ideas and has sent the over-eager train that is my life down another track (multiple times) since then.
If you can’t tell by now, I’m something of a control freak. I wasn’t always. I used to be go-with-the-flow girl (and in many facets, I still am) but something happened when I became a “real” adult out on my own faced with innumerable decisions.
I had to know things. Facts about things. Times about things. Why the things weren’t working. How to fix the things. The date of the thing. How to obtain the thing. When the thing would change. If the thing liked me. How to do the thing for the job. How to get to the thing. How can I get better at the thing. If I should go to the thing. What did they think of the thing. Where did I put that thing. How do I get out of the thing. Why is that even a thing. I NEED TO KNOW ALL OF THE THINGS!
Don’t worry. I’ve already been to therapy.
I’m not sure when my life became about having all the answers and needing to know everything before it even happens. It seems somewhere along the line I stopped living, choosing to bide my time while waiting for the answers rather than live the life that is in front of me, lack of information and all.
Because for whatever reason I have bought into the idea that one must have an intricate plan to really begin living life. And I’m not talking about having goals or a roughly drafted strategy. I’m talking a step-by-step manual. And if you don’t know the detailed ins-and-outs of the plan, you better not do anything. No seriously, just sit at home and watch Netflix until your life comes into a focus. At least that’s what I’ve been doing. It’s been working really well for me.
There are many aspects of my life that currently seem incomplete. It often feels as if several chapters are missing from the middle of a text book that I am expected to take a quiz on in the near future. Nothing feels concrete. Everything is negotiable. And it makes me want to light myself on fire.
So how do you continue to live to the fullest, when it seems so many pieces of life are floating up in the air, hopelessly unknown and frustratingly out of reach?
I don’t know.
Recently God has been showing me that my need to have a perfect plan is really just a form of unbelief. Instead of trusting God to work out the unknowns, I sit paralyzed by the insane amount of variables and choices. I feel that I must have all of the answers before I can take action. Like I said, control freak. But more than that, I’ve realized my tendency to try to plan for every possible scenario is just an outworking of a bigger issue: I have more faith in my own planning abilities than in God’s. I feel that I must know what’s going to happen before I can begin instead of just starting and trusting God with the rest.
What an unfortunate realization to have about yourself. Cue over-dramatic groaning noise.
I don’t know a lot of things, many of which pertain directly to my future. But what I AM beginning to know is that not knowing is actually okay. God didn’t design our brains to know or predict the future. That eradicates our need for Him and our need to have faith that HE will work out “all of the things”. Even if you begin to walk down the “wrong” path, just start walking. I had no idea where I was going when I started this article, but I knew I had to start. God often meets us with (some of) the answers after we take the first step into something.
Seek God and make a decision. Take a step. Take a chance. Just stop letting life fly by while you (and I mean me) are sitting paralyzed by what seems like too many choices.
More often than not, God gives you more than one option. The amazing part is that He goes with you regardless of which one you choose. And moreover, you’ll NEVER know what the best option is unless you turn off Netflix and actually make a decision.
Peace (and peace of mind) doesn’t come when you finally have all the answers and your plan is crafted perfectly. Because the plan will change. It will get messed up. Peace comes when you trust that God knows even when you don’t. Let that be okay.