October 9, 2017
In my teenage years, I enjoyed many outward successes in sports, academics, and relationships. To many I was the golden boy, blessed in many areas … with the world at my fingertips. Contentment and peace appeared to be an integral part of my daily activities. Unfortunately, peace was often elusive inside, and I really struggled with anxiety and not feeling in control on many occasions. One favorite and frequent activity I had was sitting down and making a plan for the next 5 years of my life, one year at a time.
This planning behavior, my “soothing activity,” was an attempt to take advantage of the false belief that an orderly life on the outside would bring order to my inside world, especially my heart. As I ordered my outside world, my future, and my path, I thought I could plan my way to peace. I was being a “Martha” (Luke 10: 38-42) and was caught up in busyness.
It took me a while to learn an important truth about my brain, actually about every brain. It didn’t happen in college as a biomedical engineer, or in medical school, or even in psychiatric residency training. Actually, the Bible taught me God did not design the human mind to figure out or plan the future. This is clearly beyond our capability.
However, He did design our minds to engage in continuous communication with Him through our words, thoughts, and actions. So, ask Him to reveal the peace in every situation. Then look for His answer. You won’t find peace by engaging in excessive planning and “doing.” That’s a futile attempt to control what will happen in the future. It’s not the path to peace. Consider how many people divorce, switch college, default on a mortgage, or declare bankruptcy. Planning and getting do not guarantee peace. In fact, excessive planning and busyness for the sake of soothing yourself is an often-practiced form of unbelief.
Today, bring all your needs, hopes, and fears to God. Commit everything into His care. When you’re uneasy, stop planning. Look around at creation and your life and enjoy the moment. Bask in God’s blessings, love, and amazing grace. Remember, He promises to comfort you and bring peace. But you need to look for that peace in the right places. Turn away from the path of planning your own way to peace. Follow God’s path. Accept the present and the peace that is only available through resting in His hands. Whether you look to God for your peace or you look to the multitude of substitutes that provide no peace is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, My mind spins with multiple plans. I spend so much time planning because I think it is the pathway to peace. When peace appears to be just within my reach, it somehow eludes me. As soon as I think I have prepared for all possibilities, and covered all my bases, a meteor strikes my life. Once again, peace is beyond my grasp and I am in another state of confusion. Help me, Father, to stop this wasted effort. I bring all my issues, needs, and insecurities to You today … I release them into Your care. For I know this is the true pathway to peace. Help me, Father, to find the next step, and the one after that, on this pathway of Stepping Stones. I pray to You Father in the name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.