You read that right.
“I need direction, soon, that’s clear beyond the shadow of a doubt.” ~ July 12th, 2016
The words seemed to ring with confidence and assurance—a proclamation, a bold inquiry of God, a place where I was staking my claim. My way of saying, “Lord, move here.”
Exactly one week later, I sat on an American Airlines flight out of Newark. It was midnight. It was raining. I had gone through four cancelled flights and three standby flights that I didn’t make within a seven hour time span. I had cried in front of a flight attendant. I was supposed to be flying into Fort Wayne. At midnight, I sat on a last-ditch effort flight into Chicago, with a four hour drive home ahead of me once I landed.
Talk about a detour.
To make matters worse, the ceiling above my seat started leaking mid-flight. On an entirely sold-out flight. It was like a steady drop of rain just “plop, plop, plop”-ing into my lap as I tried to sleep. The flight attendant just looked at me helplessly and handed me a few cocktail napkins to wipe up the drips as they came.
I finally landed, climbed in the car, and turned on the stereo for some company on the long 4 hour drive back to Indiana.
Except the stereo was broken. The iPhone adapter didn’t work. The radio didn’t work.
Nothing was working.
I had been joking with my mom all day that there was really nothing else that could go wrong. That things had to finally be looking up.
But forget clarity. I would have settled for a working car stereo.
That phrase is the problem: “I would have settled…”
How often do we say that in our own lives. We often jokingly say, “I’d settle for this” or “I’d settle for that” when our ideal isn’t present. It may be settling for a job, car, or relationship. It may even be settling for a sub-par cup of coffee or any Friday night plans to save us from another Netflix binge.
You get the picture.
But saying “I’d settle…” implies that we’d settle for whatever is within our power at the moment. Sometimes, this need to “settle” even motivates our drive to strive. Yes, relating the two seems counterintuitive. However, if we are forced to “settle”, we want it to be the very best we could settle for. So we continue to work tirelessly towards the best job we can achieve, the best relationship we could have, the best car money can by.
We strive so that when we have to settle, we’ll at least be as happy as we can have made ourselves. We become “human doings” instead of “human beings”.
That’s the problem. “Settling” only happens when we remove God from the equation. I think the word “settle” makes God cringe. Actually, I think it makes Him angry.
He doesn’t want us to settle in the least. He doesn’t want us to only have what we can offer in our own power—even if we work our whole lives to achieve it. He loves us so much—we are His children, and He doesn’t even want “settling” to be in our vocabulary. He wants to infuse His supernatural power into our natural lives and bless us beyond what we can even imagine today.
When things seem impossible and it seems like we want to settle, He wants us to give things up—to Him.
Give it up to God when things get hard.
On July 12th, I had prayed for clarity beyond the shadow of a doubt. And on July 19th, the only thing I had clarity on was that I needed to entirely give things up to God. That’s incredibly scary for me. I say that I trust God and trust His heart, but I also most trust others when I’m actually in control of what’s going on. When I’m sure everything will be okay, because I have the power to make it that way. And I had to confront the question that asked if settling for what’s in my power is worth sacrificing what God’s best is for me.
Is settling for what’s in your power worth sacrificing God’s best for you?
The short answer: absolutely not.
C.S. Lewis once said, “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
Giving God control means that I may have no idea what the upcoming plans are for renovation, or what the blueprints look like for the future. There may be piles of rubble where I throw up my hands and say, “I have no idea what you’re doing here. Why did we need to take this down? That wall was perfectly good there.”
But maybe God knew that there was mold living in that wall that needed to be torn out. Or, that that wall was actually supposed to be a door.
God says, “For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.”
If I trust His heart, I’ll trust His plans. I give up to Him.
Would you rather be a cottage, or a palace?