“Today I started a scrapbook,” she told me excitedly as we sat talking about God and futures. She had a lot of future ahead. Alex was 19 and a sophomore at University of Texas her blonde ringlets bounced as she talked, I imagined her having a similar expression and posture as a 5 year old asking her mom for a popsicle.
She went on, “I started a scrapbook describing all I hope for… so I can picture it. I just started cutting out the things that I want, a white two story house, a black volvo SUV, even the cute husband and number of cute kids.”
I sat speechless, trying not to laugh. I knew this was a girl that adored God and sincerely knew Him. And while, I had never known anyone to be so bold as to build an actual scrapbook, I thought to myself-
I have one of those. We all have them.
We all have the pictures of our lives in our minds, how they “should” be. How we hope them to be- How we picture them.
The powerful scrapbooks of our lives that exist in our heads.
When we will be married.
How many kids we will have.
Where we will live.
How much money we will make.
What our jobs will be.
What our houses will look like.
How our husband will treat us.
The places we will travel.
Who our friends will be.
How our kids will behave.
How close our grandkids should live.
When we will retire.
What our ministries will be like.
At some point we realize life doesn’t work that way. We can’t control the actual scrapbooks- the ones reflecting the past rather than the future. But we still long to try. We long to try to control our lives and to build the picture of the life we want.
And to let go? The idea that we would actually hand it over to God and say- go. Build it. Whatever you want with mine…. it is terrifying.
What if God has….
A difficult husband
Moving from the town we love
An apartment instead of a house
as part of my story? What if He let me suffer? What if He asked me to sacrifice? What if none of my dreams come true?
The very thought of praying anything…. demands everything. We have to face our fears… if we believe God is real, if we believe He has an eternal heart, we have to face the fact that our temporary comfort and scrapbook may be messed with by a God like that.
Acts 17 says that God determined the times set for each person on earth and the exact places where they should live. Isn’t that absolutely mind blowing? Nothing about our lives is by accident. And in Galatians Paul writes that before time God planned the good works we would do in our lives.
Our stories are already written by God…
are we living them?
I wasn’t. My plans for my life included God and ministry but I was writing my story and when anything too uncomfortable pressed in I got nervous. For years I pushed away nudges about adoption, about writing, teaching. I wasn’t going to do things that threatened the picture of the life I thought I was supposed to have until it occurred to me that perhaps I am missing the very best parts and perhaps I care more about this short life than the one that will last forever.
I know I’m not alone. I know so many of us are living stuck and afraid, instead of remembering there is more.
What are you missing because you are afraid?
If I weren’t afraid I would ____________.
Life is short! We have to live the stories God has written for us.
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