This post was originally published on firstname.lastname@example.org on August 4, 2016.
If there’s one thing I’ve discovered in my life, it’s that God’s plans are far better than mine and that he deserves my trust. Because if I really evaluate what my life was like in times where I acted in independence from him – verses times of asking for his help – I can clearly see how much more I flourished when I acknowledged him.
But I have to be reminded of this fact constantly…
Like at the beginning of this summer: I was struggling with insecurity and fear, and I was running to old habits to sooth those feelings of emptiness. But thankfully, the Holy Spirit impressed two specific verses on me at the right time; and they’ve made a huge impact on my life since then. They’re Proverbs 3:5-6:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
When I read this verse, I always kind of think, “Man, this is a lot to ask! Trust him with ALL my heart and in ALL my ways?…” It really is a pretty heavy demand.
I think it’s easy for us to get distracted by the demand of the first part without considering the sweet promise of the second part. God promises that if we submit to him, he will eventually “make our paths straight.” In other words, he’ll bless us by leading us on the right course for our best possible future. That’s a pretty sweet deal!
Now, in order to obtain the map to those “straight paths,” we still have the challenge of, “leaning not on our own understanding.”This is difficult! I don’t know about you, but personally, I make a lot of decisions based on how I feel, what I’ve observed, and what I think to be true (a.k.a. my understanding). I definitely try to be wise, and I know that I often can be. But I also know that the seasons of life where I suffer the most are because I’m momentarily NOT “acknowledging” the Lord.
For example, my eating disorder stemmed from believing the ideas of, “I’m not good enough, pretty enough, or athletic enough.” – Do you think those statements were from the Lord or from faulty lies built up in my mind? I think they were very untrue…
When I evaluate some other ideas I once believed, I can see how many ended up being untrue! They were not scripturally based truth, rather they were my own “understanding.”
- For instance, I used to think there was no way I could handle going to college, so I told myself that I didn’t want to anyway.
- I thought I’d be stuck with anxiety and panic attacks forever.
- I thought I could not be a good small group leader to middle school girls.
- I thought I would always hate my job.
- I thought I would always hate traveling.
- I thought my body would never heal or be able to reach my health goals.
- I thought my friendships would stay the same for a long time.
- AND, I thought I could not write a successful and interesting blog…
The theme running throughout this list is that I was listening to doubt, insecurity, and the world’s opinions instead of believing in the truth of scripture. BUT, through trusting God, I have dismantled all of those lies and allowed him to change my heart and mind.
I see now how utterly wrong my thinking can be when I’m not inviting God into my decisions.
So, in closing, what does it look like to practically “acknowledge” the Lord? Well, as I’ve practiced it, I’ve seen that it’s not extrememly hard.
When I’m feeling discouraged about my day, I try to see the positives and view it as a growing opportunity instead. I invite the Lord to teach me. When I’m feeling afraid of the future, I take a moment to reflect on all that God has already brought me through. When I feel unattractive, I have to tell myself that my appearance is not highly important. When I’m upset with or hurt by someone, praying for them is a quick way to soften my attitude. When I don’t get what I want, I can thank God for what I do have and trust that he’ll provide me with future blessings.
Honestly, sometimes all I have to do is take a deep breath and say “Jesus I trust you” under my breath (even if it feels forced).
I believe that if we can work on evaluating our thoughts and dismantling those lies that cause roadblocks, we can focus on and place our complete trust in God so easily. It’s just a matter of practicing those truths and having a perspective that’s wider than our own. Inviting God’s truth to drown out the lies so that we can trust him to guide our lives.