So I just wanted to share this story before I forget. Learning again what trusting God and being thankful moment by moment means… Again, being human means lessons have to be pounded into our heads again and again before they even begin to sink in sometimes. At least, for me that’s how it works.
So yesterday, I had a plan. Today was going to be long, and I knew it. I wanted to prepare. The plan was, before work, buy headphones so that after work, I could go to a new, serene coffee shop and listen to a sermon on my iPod and take notes. I’d spend time in prayer preparing for today.
The morning ended up going a little more hectic than I anticipated. I didn’t have time to buy headphones, but I decided that I could buy them after and it’d still be okay. I’d just get home later.
My coworker ended up needing a ride home. This wasn’t the first time, so I was okay with that, although my stress level about plans not going according to plan began to rise – just a little.
We stopped to pick up my headphones. At the store, my coworker realized she needed to buy something, but didn’t have the cash on her. She asked if she could put it on my card and pay me back at her house. I hesitated, but said yes. Even though my action may have been kind, I had the completely wrong attitude. I was frustrated. I didn’t see her purchase as necessary, and I didn’t want to use my card and have to balance it later in my checkbook. I definitely didn’t want to take the extra time to wait for her to pay me back at her house, which was on the other side of the city. I hid it the best I could, but inside, my pulse was going like crazy, my stomach was in a knot, and my jaw clenched ever-so-slightly.
Just give thanks, I told myself. But I just could not focus. My stress level was too loud inside and I just gave up and didn’t care.
Finally, we got to her house and I got my money. I sped away and finally arrived at the coffee shop.
I turned to look for my headphones on the seat next to me. I thought I left them there, but they were nowhere to be found. Instead, to my horror, was my coworker’s purse.
She can wait. I need this time with God. I really did. My stress level was beyond recovery at this point. I went inside and payed $5 for a hazelnut latte. I sat down at a table by the window, and went to my purse to grab my new headphones.
They weren’t there.
I searched again, taking everything out of my purse. I searched my car. I repeated the process.
I gave up and chugged down my $5 coffee, barely tasting it. I was trembling all over in frustration. I drove to my coworkers house and put on a smile, gave her the purse, and asked if she accidentally grabbed my headphones with her other things. Nope. Did I leave them at the store?
Be thankful, be thankful, it’s okay, everything’s okay. But I was crying in frustration. I didn’t even want to sit at the coffee shop anymore. I just wanted my headphones and wanted to be home.
I said out loud as I drove, “God, why? I wanted to spend time with You! Isn’t that what You want?” I hit almost every red light possible. I hit the steering wheel hard with my hand. I was so unfocused, I couldn’t even feel the pain.
It turns out I had left my headphones at the store. Through my glassy eyes, I said, “Thanks. It’s just been a crazy day,” and feigned a laugh. I drove home. I sat quietly and tried to breathe. Finally, I calmed down enough to write some thanks.
Money saved by my coworker’s membership card
“Thanks makes now a sanctuary.”
Sounds good. I needed a sanctuary.
Today, I made a second try at the coffee shop before work. It went perfectly. And I needed that start more today than I needed it to end yesterday.
And it clicked. I could hear God saying to me so clearly, Emily, I love you. Each moment is Mine. And I am in control, and it is for a reason. You’re making progress, but you don’t have it figured out, and that’s okay. But here’s what you need to know.
What was it?
I’ve been saying over and over again, and I will say it in next week’s post – I literally need to trust God moment by moment. I can’t rely on my own planning. Even for today. Even for the next breath. God has plans that may not match ours.
“Never take God’s plan for granted. If we think we know what God has planned for us, He is bound to surprise us.”
I heard these words in the sermon this morning, and I shook my head. When will I get it?
God’s plan was for me to be His hands to my coworker. Despite my selfish, ungiving attitude, it happened. God’s plan was for me to learn another level of humility, where I can’t even rely on the next moment, but only on God’s sovereignty.
And then – then He gave me the grace of meeting Him this morning how I had hoped to yesterday, in His perfect, perfect timing.
Oh… I get it now. That’s what yesterday was for.
Friend, the future is uncertain. Not the distant future, but the coming-in-your-next-breath future. For God and God alone is that coming-in-your-next-breath future certain. And it is perfect and has purpose.
So your only job – my only job – is to be in this one and give thanks. To trust and let God direct the next moment. And it’s so much better that way. His plan is complete and perfectly orchestrated.
And I promise that when you give that up to God, whatever trial comes your way, you will be able to look back and by His grace see that what He was doing was better than you could have ever hoped for.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”