"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."
- Jeremiah 29:11
I like having a plan. I like seeing the step-by-step guide to success.
For most of my life, God has been trying to teach me that His way is the best way. Whether it was changing my dreams of being an Olympic figure skater or overturning my plan to not go to college, God needed me to learn that what I want isn’t always what He wants for me.
This is something I learned the hard way when, during my sophomore year of college, my best friend became my first boyfriend. Starting out, things were kind of rocky for a number of reasons, but we supported each other and believed we were in love. How could God not have worked that out?
My boyfriend encouraged me in everything I did and wanted to do. He supported me emotionally. He saw me in a way no one outside my family ever had before. We dreamed about our future.
We prayed together all the time, and I constantly asked God for His will to be done in our relationship. I had been praying since before we started dating that God would give me a “sign” or something to tell me whether or not I was doing the right thing.
Finally, several months later, I had a meltdown, and God used my mom to help me see all of the things I had been ignoring for a long time. Our relationship wasn’t nearly as “perfect” as I’d led myself to believe.
I couldn’t find God’s peace in the situation. He told me that I had to end it and break up with my boyfriend.
I wouldn’t see him for another two months, and it was gut-wrenching having to make that phone call while he was miles away. Understandably, he was upset—it really had come out of nowhere. I felt lost and guilty after hurting him and losing someone I cared deeply for.
After the initial emotions passed, I became angry at God for not answering me when I asked Him for a sign or to lead me to do His will so much earlier on. I blamed Him for my heartbreak because I believed that He should have prevented it.
Then I realized something: all of the thoughts or feelings or “twinges” that had piled up and brought me to my breaking point had been God trying to talk to me. And I had ignored Him in favor of what I wanted.
God faithfully answered my prayers over and over again, even when I refused to listen to Him. And when I continued to disregard His leading, He brought me to a point where I could no longer ignore Him without having to admit to myself that I was being willfully defiant.
Despite the sadness, hurt, and anger I felt, there was a lightness in my chest that I hadn’t felt in a while. God’s peace was a welcome relief after trying to carry my burdens alone. I was confident that God knew what He was doing in my life, even if I was scared or unsure.
I still struggle with putting my future in His hands because I like trying to control every outcome, but that is impossible. I’ve had difficulty trusting myself and the decisions I make in light of this experience, but God doesn’t want to give me a spirit of fear. I know that He wants what’s best for me and knows what I need. He is the only One who knows the outcome and is more than capable of guiding me—if I will only listen.
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