Coaching for the Abundant Life
“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope.”- Jeremiah 29:11
As I stood alone outside of my storage unit, under the faint glow of an overhead street light, I wondered to myself if these words of scripture are even true.
“Here I go, putting my stuff in storage again on a Saturday night… Ugh, I feel so disappointed. This is not where I wanted my life to be at this point. I’m 28 years old, and I’m not married. I don’t own a house, which is why my things are in storage again. Being married would just solve everything…
Are these really your plans for me, God? Because they don’t feel like they are for my good!”
I know these words from Jeremiah are true, but it can be so hard to believe them at times in my present circumstances. And if you’ve been in a similar place, you know that positive thinking or “just choosing to believe it” doesn’t just magically make a husband appear. I felt like I needed God to speak to me. But in all honesty, I also knew that even if He did, at that moment I wasn’t truly open to what He might have to say. I just wanted a husband!
My internal thoughts continued with clenched fists and through gritted teeth, “I’m open to marriage, Lord, I’ve been ready for the man You are preparing for me. Why isn’t he here yet?” I immediately recognized that this very question is not a question of surrender, but of grasping.
And this wasn’t the first time I was grasping for the answer I wanted to hear. Just the other week I was in adoration, feeling similarly. Like the Lord wasn’t speaking to me, like He wasn’t actively working on His plans for my good. I spent most of my Holy Hour wondering why I’m not married yet.
As I closed my eyes and began to release my grip, I found myself on a river, as I often do in prayer. The river is a place I had been before, and I knew it well. The river is what flows. The water, like the Holy Spirit, is what moves us. If we get ahead of the Holy Spirit, we might end up on dry land. If we try to hold the water back, it will likely come crashing down upon us, and pull us under from the great force that has built up. I want to be flowing with the river, letting the water (Holy Spirit) move me where He knows is best for me.
So, finally with an open heart, I asked “Lord, where am I on the river right now?”
He showed me that I was on a tube on the river, looking over at the empty tube next to me. In fact, I was wrapping a rope around this tube, so it wouldn’t float away. An empty tube! And then I realized what I was feeling…
I felt so alone. I felt the longing. I wanted there to be someone in the tube, and I was grasping onto something I hoped would one day be filled! But I knew I needed to be asking a more important question:
“Lord, where do You want me to be on the river?”
“Look up,” He said, “Look up at the trees bending over the river. Listen to the birds chirping. Lean back on your tube. Let your hair fall into the water. Feel the cool water around you, and let peace fill every part of you. I know the plans I have for you, and they are for your good. Trust in Me and look up!”
Look up! That’s what I needed to hear. It’s in these moments of longing, the moments of emptiness, that we must look up—it’s the only way to see the One who can fill us! This very act of looking up and refocusing on our Creator is the very place where we can surrender, where we can let the Holy Spirit move us, where we become transformed.
What if instead of looking at what I’m lacking and at what I don’t have, I started focusing on what God IS doing in my life? I can choose to shift my focus, even in the moment where the storage unit in front of me reminds me of the fact that I’m not yet married.
So, I looked up. And I saw that my storage unit and my current circumstances, started to reveal God to me in a deeper way. My storage unit with a blue/green door, my favorite color; I asked for the smallest one they had: 4×4. There was one left, one reserved for me. 4×4: the perfect fit for my things; my storage unit, where I love punching in the numbers that automatically opens the door; and the cart: it is SO easy to move things from my car to the unit, 0.2 miles from home.
I saw what a gift God has truly given to me! And I choose to believe Jeremiah about the abundant gifts He has in the making.
I smiled, feeling more at peace. And as I punched my password into the keypad once again, I was reassured that the Lord is Good, and He has plans of hope in store for me.
Exercise 6: Release
Lord, I repent of grasping at what I want, and failing to see the gifts you have given me.
In the name of Jesus, I forgive myself for seeing things only through a singular lens.
In the name of Jesus, I renounce a spirit of grasping.
In the name of Jesus, I receive the grace to surrender and trust the plan you have for me!
Exercise 7: Lord, what is your interpretation?
“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope.” Jeremiah 29:11