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My Way

by Anita Miles

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”  

Isaiah 55: 8

Ever had a good plan?  In your mind, it was the best thing you had ever thought up!  You got the notebooks out and made a list of everything you wanted to accomplish with your strategy.  There were diagrams drawn to show exactly what each step would look like, and so on….Then you set out to make a go of it and every single obstacle that could stand in the way, was there.  Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who gets a bright idea every now and again and works diligently to put legs on it! If you’re a dreamer and somewhat of a planner, then I have your attention.  If you can easily go with the flow and live life on a whim, then I probably lost you at the first sentence! Maybe you’ll continue to read - just because - and can advise a dreaming friend of yours someday!  {smile}

After graduating college and getting what I considered a bit of delightful organized chaos going on in my career, I was going through a life change that hadn’t gone exactly the way I wanted it to go.  I was young and had all the answers (so I thought)! However, all of the plans that I had laid awake at night and reasoned out why they would be best, and how I could work them out, seemed to be floating out in the midst of uncertainty like a boat that had completely lost its sails. It was beyond frustrating to me that things weren’t unfolding as smoothly as I thought they should before me. I would think to myself, “well...Plan A didn’t work, so I’ll just try Plan B.” There were a few times, I probably got as far as contemplating Plan E and F.  

In retrospect, the frustrations and the emotions spent on that particular plan in my life boiled down to one thing...I wasn’t getting my way, and I wanted it - really bad!  I’m not going to go into the details of what that process was, because it would now seem so trivial, so I’ll spare myself the dignity. But at that moment, it had me all worked up.  To say I was overthinking the whole ordeal is probably an understatement. I can clearly see my own ignorance and immaturity in it all now, but I bring it up because of the life lessons I learned in it.  

During that particular “season,” there was a song that caught my attention, and I listened to it OVER AND OVER.  To everyone else, it was just another song, but to me, it seemed to scream at me. What if “it” wasn’t supposed to be the way I wanted it to be?  What if I had it all wrong? I mean, I was in my early 20s - I had grabbed LIFE by the horns and told it to run and see where we ended up! Now I had 3 million questions running through my mind of trying to figure out why God would think it was such a great idea to jerk the rug right out from under my well-made plans!!  I went so far as to bargain and attempt to convince God that I had tried to be a good Christian all these years and now He was going to reward me by withholding the thing that I saw to be the greatest opportunity in my world? Thankfully, God was very patient with my rounds of questions!

One night my mom and I attended a concert, and she knew that I was mentally trying to work out the whys and why nots and struggling to have my will come out as the victor.  She was wise and knew that I had drawn strength from the particular song I seemed to listen to endlessly. After the concert, she told me I needed to go ask the singer who wrote the song what the story was behind it.  So I waited around for the crowd to dissipate and work up the nerve to ask the writer about her song.

Mom gave me the nudge when she saw the opportunity, and I skittishly stepped up to ask my question…  “I know this probably sounds silly, but is there any way you would be willing to tell me the story behind the song…”If I’d Had My Way?”  I will never forget as she pulled us both over to the side so she would not be disturbed as she spoke to us. It was evident that she was as passionate about telling us her story as I was about hearing it. She began to tell of the day she had numbly stumbled onto an airplane.  She said, “I was emotionally distraught because I had just experienced a broken marriage engagement as a young woman and I was utterly devastated!” As she laid her head on the back of the seat for her flight, she said: “I began to recite to God that if I’d had my way about it, I would have done this, this, and this and worked it out a different way than He seemed to be doing it.” She had basically raised her proverbial fist at God and scolded him for not working it out the way she had worked it out in her mind and in her BOX.  She said “as I sat there, and the hot tears flowed unashamedly down my face in my anger at God, He gently whispered to me -‘But what about MY WAY? Are my ways not higher than yours? Are my thoughts not beyond your thoughts?’ “

From her conversation with God on the plane that day, came the lyrics, “If I’d had my way, I might have been wading through the river - when YOU wanted me to walk upon the sea!  And if I’d had my say, and all of my wants and whims and wishes, YOU knew how weak and shallow I would be….if I’d had my way! ...I trust your wisdom over mine because YOU’VE proven over time that in my narrow way of seeing things, I leave the best behind sometimes - I might not have stayed as close if I’d had my way!!  

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone back to our conversation with Janet Paschal that night.  I was not struggling with a broken engagement, but I WAS struggling with my will. But maybe you are...  

Maybe you’re a young woman who has been disillusioned - even to the point of being furious with God - because you had your dreams and plans all made out and it fell apart before you. You were a few months, weeks, or days from the altar and marital bliss, and something happened.  But what if that was your way and not God’s? What if you wanted that for yourself more than God wanted it for you? What if God told you He could see further down the line than you could and saw that marriage crumble and He had you and your family’s’ destiny in mind?  

Are you willing to accept His will over yours?

Only you can answer that question honestly.

In prayer, I specifically felt the urging to be very direct in addressing young women who may be at the point of marriage or contemplating it.

If God is saying no - it is very easy for the humanity in us to become overshadowed by the lies and deception of the enemy who takes his job seriously to convince us that God does not really have our best interest in mind!  

What if the scenario is completely the opposite?  

What if you’re insisting to marry that young man no matter what because you're more in love with the idea of being married or “belonging”  than actually being a Godly wife. What if one or both of you have inconsistencies, attitudes, behaviors, or an arrogance that doesn’t seem to be such a big deal right now?

It’s easy to get caught up in the words of affirmation and the “feelings” that put you on top of the world temporarily… But if you could really listen while others are trying to warn you, those inconsistencies and attitudes that others see on this side of the relationship will be THE THINGS that ultimately bring destruction and resentments to your home later in your marriage. There’s a reason that Scripture says there is safety in the multitude of counselors. They have the wisdom from past experiences and watching the lives of others unfold to see what is beyond our intermittent whims and wishes.

I’m going to be frank and honest. I don’t like it when things don’t go my way.  And I don’t believe I’m the only one with that problem. If we were completely transparent with ourselves, it’s that way at times in all of our lives. I have had to put my will, in multiple circumstances, under the blood of Christ. And every time I have done that and look back, I can see how right HE was! If it were up to me - it would always be sunshine and rainbows! I don’t like sufferings of any kind! If I were writing the stories of people's lives, there would never be any bad endings. It breaks my heart when people get sick with diseases that are incurable. If I were creating how life turned out, it would be without heartache, pain, betrayal, and any other sorrow that can tempt us to raise our fist at Him and question the care of His people. There are times that I would love to be raised above my own humanity and tell God how to do His business! Thankfully, for all of our sakes, He has not afforded me, nor you, that Sovereignty and He gets to call the shots when we yield our will to His in our lives.

However, God is a perfect gentleman, and He will not force His will on you if you insist on yours. We all get to choose. Bro. Jon Brock recently said it very masterfully at our church…. “We get to choose the sin [and our will]. However, we do NOT get to choose the consequences!”  

When the plan finally unfolds, and all of my thoughts have been made a fool of - this is what I walk away from it knowing…  God IS faithful - always HAS been and always WILL be! He doesn’t have the ability to change just because I want Him to climb on beside me and ride my roller coaster of emotional (and hormonal) changes.  If I sincerely seek His will over mine, He will write the story in a way that He will always be glorified and we will see Him in ways we never dreamed possible! I am not ashamed to tell you, that He will DO TO TRUST!  No matter what! Every single time!

Now the question is “will I trust His wisdom over mine?”  If He daily cares for the flowers of the field and the next meal of the sparrow, I promise you - HE WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU - even when it seems He’s chosen to be silent while we’re busily attempting to help our will prevail!   It’s worth the energy it will take to hand “our will” over to a loving God who cares more about us than we could ever comprehend!

As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried:

He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him.      

Psalm 18:30

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