By Lana Leigh Wilkens
Whether you are a planner or not, you may have trouble embracing the unknown as a wife. Here’s encouragement to help you learn to surrender to God.
How I Learned to Embrace the Unknown
I love making plans! Lists, goals, a vision statement of where I’d like to see myself in ten years – I love all of that. At the same time, I struggle to carry out those plans. Even more, I struggle when plans change without my permission.
One year my plans changed dramatically. We had a comfortable, newly remodeled home and felt the adventure bug. My husband and I decided to hit the road and RV around the country. I remember writing out an extremely flexible “schedule” for the first three months. We’d leave the rest until the dates grew closer. We felt so wise for holding our plans loosely.
God opened all the doors for us to leave. All seemed well. And then, the hardships began. At one point we had nowhere to stay, a drained emergency fund, and no income. What had we gotten ourselves into? Did we make the right choice? Should we turn back and go home? I felt shaken. These hurdles weren’t in the plan. Those days tested my resolve to move forward on our journey with God.
On the other side of that trip, three realizations became clear:
- I can do my best to plan my life out with no surprises, but I cannot secure myself against the unknown.
- Whatever unknown circumstances happen, God’s plans are better in the long run.
- Better doesn’t necessarily mean easier.
Scripture says in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (ESV) He didn’t promise me ease or comfort. When my days don’t go according to my plans, God offers me the chance to persevere and to be joyful in the midst of uncertainty. He’s giving me another practice session on how to say no to myself and yes to him.
How God Helps Us Embrace the Unknown
God met us on the journey we chose. He used all things for our good (Romans 8:28). I used to obsess over God’s will for my life. But now I think it’s more simple.
God says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV) I am commanded to rejoice, pray, and give thanks in whatever plays out. Our trip showed me what was on the inside. It revealed my tendencies to complain, to worry, and to fear. I learned to rejoice, pray and give thanks instead.
We’re done with the RV thing, but the biggest difference in my life isn’t that we’re now settled in a house. The biggest difference is my attitude. My journey has taken a turn toward traditional domesticity. Sometimes I feel I’ve sacrificed my idea of adventure to say “yes” over and over to the seemingly mundane life. Then, God gently reminds me to rejoice, to pray and to give thanks for this moment.
I don’t want to waste my time pining away for something other than what God has placed in my life. He brings me back into the joy of the moment, the sweet smiles of my kids, the sound my son makes when he gulps a drink, his two missing front teeth, the skinned knee that needs a mother’s love and the broken heart that needs to be comforted.
He’s given me an important role to play here and now. If I’m off planning my adventure, my ideals, my my my…I’ll miss it. This, motherhood, wifehood…this is God’s discipleship plan for me and I want to hug it tight, to let it squish between my toes and melt into my spirit.
Now I see my unknown future as a gift. Yes, I still make plans, but I’ve learned to stay more focused on now and not worry about my unknown future. The unknown future keeps me close to Christ, the only one who knows what is coming. He is the master planner, the only one who I can count on when life is unpredictable.
The Psalmist says, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (Psalm 90:2 ESV) I can rest in the One who formed the mountains, my everlasting God. I can embrace the unknown with his help.
Wife Step: Consider how you view the unknown areas in your life. Ask God to help you see your struggles as gifts and begin rejoicing, praying, and thanking him for the hardships you see in your marriage and your motherhood. He’s using them for your good.
Lana Leigh Wilkens, author of Knee-Jerk Mom, helps women discover their authentic family values and challenges them to ask the right questions so they can decide with confidence, not comparison.
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