I watched the streets littered with paper confetti, the last bits of celebration swept into piles, destined for giant trash bins. The lingering partiers stumbled home and staff got to work tearing down the barricades. Just an hour before, rosy-cheeked crowds had gathered to sing and kiss and ring in the new year.
The excitement wears off.
As I’ve contemplated what I want my word of 2015 to be, I’ve reflected on my best laid plans. I’m a planner and a do-er. I thrive on change. Some feel cozy hunkering down, but I’m in my element when I’m lacing up my shoes and kicking up dust.
I’ve been busy chasing more. Of being proud of myself for making decisions and setting the curve and getting things done. And while I do believe God has given each of us passions and dreams and talents and gifts, I also believe that we’re nothing when we rely on ourselves.
No matter what they tell you, no determination or pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps grit means much of anything without the presence of the one who has lit a fire in you in the first place.
And for someone like me, it’s kind of a tough pill to swallow. It’s an easy one to talk about and put in the cabinet, but when it comes time to really relying on God, on really trusting God?
It all kind of falls to pieces.
So that’s my word.
I have a tough time trusting God. I don’t struggle with believing him or talking to him or sharing him. But, boy, do I wrestle with trusting him.
Because fear? Anxiety? Worry?
Those are real. I remember lying in bed next to Jonny when we first got married. I’d watch the clock tick by and I’d stare at the ceiling and flip over my pillow and fight feelings of fear. I had never loved someone so deeply, and it took my breath away to think of the dark places I might go if something ever happened to him.
Thankfully, that worry washed over me with time. But as I got into the grind of being a mom, it crept back into my heart and soul and mind.
Being a mother of a child with a chronic illness means your heart stretches and pulls and almost breaks, every single day. It means fear creeps into your heart always, even in the happy times. Worry is always attempting to steal your joy and leave you breathless. You start to believe the lie that any time your child is sick, you’re to blame. You could have protected him. You failed. He hurts because of you.
I read those words and I know they’re not true. But Satan is a liar and he is deceptive and I know that any bit of fear or anxiety or worry is a smokescreen hiding the beauty of God.
I need to trust. I need to rest in God’s unending love. I need to remember all the ways he has been faithful. I need to remember that I’m not in control and it’s okay and good even because there’s a light in the darkness that nothing and no one can distinguish. It’s not up to me.
God knows that we, all of us, struggle with trust. Scripture is heaping with reminders of this. Guiding us and nudging us to breathe and trust that we don’t have to enter into any New Year or any day or any hour or any minute without him. We can trust him because his love never fails.
So, trust. Where does that leave me? Where does that leave us? How can we chart our plans and cast our visions and set our goals if all we’re supposed to do is trust this God that is such a mystery?
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
I believe God has set me in this time and place for a reason. He’s given me experiences and passions and gifts and people and it’s up to me to give it all back to him. It’s up to me to put down my treasure map I’ve scribbled with crayons and instead follow path that leads to freedom and peace and joy and places I can’t even begin to dream up.
He’s whispering, Do you trust me?
The best is yet to come.