I’m a bit of an overplanner, you might say. When I was twelve, I had my entire adult life planned with children’s names and birthdates picked out and carefully written down in neat lists. I’m also the kind of person who plans her meals out a week or two at a time, plans every day’s outfit when I travel, and plans for vacations months or even years out at a time.
Life makes sense when it’s orderly, predictable, safely planned for, and sensibly carried out. There’s less chaos, less anxiety, less panic because everything has been thought through ahead of time and there are back-up plans for the back-up plans.
But unfortunately, this personality trait doesn’t eliminate all worry. Because anxiety sets in as soon as those plans get interrupted, and I start fearing what will happen now that there are unknowns popping up. And when I think too much about the future, it’s all too easy to consider the multitude of unknowns and worry how I’ll handle them.
When I was twelve, it was imagining a life without those kids and husband that I so dreamily conjured up – and that life seemed unbearable. As an adult, it’s considering what if I lost my job or got a pay cut – how will I survive? Or how will I ever get through this busy season of the year? Or what if I lose my loved ones? Or suffer a major health crisis?
All of these unknowns can scare an overplanner half to death because there’s no predicting how to get out of them, deal with them, or survive them.
But I’ve discovered the longer I’ve lived as an adult – there is no way to predict how to deal with these things, but God gives us the grace we need as we come to each situation.
And I’m slowly learning how true Elisabeth Elliot’s quote from Let Me Be a Woman is –
“This gift for this day. The life of faith is lived one day at a time, and it has to be lived – not always looked forward to as though the ‘real’ living were around the next corner.”
I’ve learned that the single life isn’t a boring one, by any means. I’ve learned that even in hectic, busy seasons, there are still pockets of quiet where you wrap hands around warm mugs of tea and relish the quiet. I’ve learned that when you unexpectedly break a bone, you adjust every part of your daily routine, and wait quietly for the slow healing. I’ve learned where to save money and that God always provides at just the right times.
And when I go to bed each night, I am constantly in awe of the God who orchestrated all the events of the day – the ones that went the way I thought they would and the ones that were vastly different. He is full of surprises, and I love this journey of trust where He reveals constantly that He does know what’s best for my life.
I just have to let go of plans clenched tightly in my fists and breathe into each moment as it comes. When I lean into them, breathing deeply, I discover that there is nothing to fear. God is in control, and He comforts my anxious brain in a hundred different ways. Even waking up in bad moods can be cured with hugs and worship music – and God is so good to show His love in these ways and dozens more.
He gives me the gift of this present moment – and even though I like the predictable, routine moments the best – there is unexpected beauty in all of them. I learn and grow most from the ones that test my faith, make me rely more on my Savior, and shape my character. I am comforted by the ones that bring new beauty in relationships with loved ones. I am stabilized by the ones that bring me back to the quiet and calm of communing with the Creator.
And because I’ve seen this pattern over the years of my life, I can have absolute confidence that God will continue to provide these gifts in the future. He is the God Who never changes, no matter how our circumstances change. And He holds all my unknown tomorrows in His hands.
As I wake up each day, I get to see more of the painting of my life unfold on the canvas, and I know that it will end up being a beautiful masterpiece.
Not because I controlled every brushstroke. But because God, the Master Artist, has already woven it into His grand design.
And that’s the most stunning gift of today I can imagine.