March 24, 2014

letting go of the timeline

I also want to call this post, "debunking the timeline myth."

We all have one, don't we? Our timeline . . . how we dream, envision and plan the way our lives will play out.

Sometimes we don't acknowledge it until we get to a point in life where we realize, I'm not where I thought I would be by now.

Last weekend I came face-to-face with mine in a few different ways. I was volunteering in the nursery with two young moms and one of them started off a sentence with, "I'm 28 and . . ." 

I didn't really pay attention to what else she said, because I was caught by her age and circumstances. I kept thinking - Oh my gosh. She's 28 and has three kids, one of which is about 5 years old. I am SO behind in life . . . 

Boom. There is was. Hello, timeline. It will drive you into despair if you let it.

This is the problem with the timeline. We (or at least I do this) look at the way our lives are actually playing out versus the timeline and measure up how we're doing. We also tend to think that whether or not we are succeeding is all up to us. I tend to worry that I will "let life pass me by" (whatever that means in the moment) . . . and it will be all my fault.

There is so much wrong in these thought patterns. What about the character and faithfulness of God in the midst of this? Where is God in our "wasted moments"? I realize that I have completely lost perspective when I start to think this way.

I am forgetting that God is ultimately sovereign, meaning that He is in complete loving control . . . even when I can't see Him working. 

I was listening to my pastor this weekend and I was so preoccupied that I had a hard time letting it all sink in. I kept thinking, if I would actually believe in the sovereignty of God, I would be free. Free from thinking that how my life turns out is all up to me. Free from thinking that I will somehow "miss the boat."

I listened to a couple of sermons by Tim Keller that touched on the sovereignty of God and peace. I need to be reminded of these things so frequently!

In a sermon on Reconciliation, he says:

"Only your Father in Heaven knows exactly what you need, and only your Father in Heaven has the power to give you what you need."
"Excessive worry is when you're exactly sure of what has to happen and you're afraid God won't get it right."
"No power on earth can muck up your life . . . even you can't muck up your life, even you can't put yourself on "Plan B." Even you can't destroy God's loving plan and care for you."
In one of my favorite sermons on Peace, he says:

"Peace is confidence and trust in God's wise control of your life."

Do I trust that God will give me exactly what I need, exactly when I need? Do I trust that He is loving and in control, even if my life doesn't play out the way I thought it had to?

In her book, Better Than My Dreams, Paula Rinehart writes:

"The God who spoke the worlds into existence and keeps the stars in place is the God who knows you like no one will ever know you. He has always loved you. He will love you to the end. His purposes for you are so set in place that you can rest every minute of your journey in the cool shade of his merciful sovereignty over your life. 
We can plan all we want. We can map out our five-year goals and make a dozen to-do lists a day. But God orders our steps. He opens and closes the doors that really matter. He is really God - which is to say that he is really God. 
I think of the sovereignty of God in my own life as the quiet surrender to his authority - meaning that I acknowledge him as the Author of my story. 
. . . How am I going to allow the detours and the lost years and the mistakes to take their proper place in a life that is, somehow, being orchestrated by a God who loves me? 
Can I let myself accept that I am living a directed life even when I feel that I am floundering? 
The small miracle is that if the merciful sovereignty of God is real, then we are freed from the tyranny of having to measure every memory in terms of failure or success. It's such a relief to lay down that crazy measuring stick. 
. . . There is an old expression that comforts because it's just so true: God never wastes an experience on us. If we have given ourselves to him in any true measure, we find it all serves. All of it. 
So discovering the shade of God's sovereignty is no small matter. It literally changes the lens through which you see your life - this story God is writing that is bigger than you can even think to dream."

Tim Keller also says that, "God's silence is not absence and God's hiddenness is not impotence." 

These words are relief to my soul. If God is who He says He is, then I can rest . . . knowing that He is the Author of my story, and nothing - not even me - can mess it up.

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