I am an “all-in” or “all-out” person. I either need to be totally out of something, or totally invested. Anything in between is a struggle for me. Lately I’ve been trying to simply let God unfold things. I literally picture it like a towel.
Side Note: Remember when I surveyed this group for how you folded your towels. I loved the passion. Each particular type of towel folding had a fan base that adamantly argued the purpose behind their technique. I was not alone in that fact that towel folding has evolved throughout my life. I discovered towel folding could seriously impact relational dynamics. And, I finally got to meet those rare and bougie individuals that roll their towels for public display. I learned so much.
As my life continues to be in this sort of in-between-phase, I have been struggling. Here is what I have noticed I do. I am all out, kinda in a posture of being withdrawn and holding back, but often with a sassy critical bend. Then I get convicted. So in response to that conviction I try to put myself out there, but then I try too hard. My kids call it “being a try hard.” It’s not a compliment. But when I’m not, when I’m in a season of peace, grounded, feeling rooted and established, I can just let things unfold, actively taking patient steps and recognizing opportunity.
A few weeks ago I had a couple of days in a row when I realized I had stopped allowing God to unfold things and I had gone back to trying to control and manipulate situations. I was in a series of meetings, and a theme was woven through each conversation in these very separate gatherings. Essentially, during these meetings I would hear a story about something happening for another person very easily, in fact, every time the story would conclude with laughter around how easy this door had opened for this person. Meanwhile my thoughts are spinning because the thing that had arrived so effortlessly for them was something I felt I had been working toward for months. I was smiling but inside I was a mix of confusion, anger, and “What the heck!”
After these few days compiled I came home one afternoon to rant. Sal, even after being married for over twenty years, tried to fix it. That didn’t go well. I took steps toward a funky few days where I was short fused and way less engaged on several levels. The whole time I kept feeling like God was gently reminding me that I had stopped allowing Him to do the unfolding in my life. I was trying to manage things that were not mine to manage, rather than allowing His guidance to direct my next steps.
Figuring out where I end and God begins seems silly when I think about it, but that’s kinda how, if I’m not attentive, I operate. God, you can be over here. God, this is the moment I’ll let you in. God, I’ve got it from here. God, if you could just get out of the way I will handle this one.
Remember the verses Proverbs 3:5-6:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
So good, thank you Proverbs person. This verse reminds me to recognize that my thoughts are not always His thoughts, my perspectives are not always His perspectives. How I “understand” is not always His understanding. But today I was focusing on the part about making my paths straight.
Theologians have debated for centuries exactly where God steps in, when divine interaction intersects with free will, and how exactly plans, purpose, and calling all fit in to our engagement with God. Awesome debates. Not my thought today though. I’m just thinking about how, as God makes paths straight, we still choose our foot placement. He can straighten paths all day long, but allows us our choice of steps. I picture my life as God laying a path, I misstep, God rolls God’s eyes, goes back to straightening the new path, I step my own way again, another eye roll. The eye roll I picture is not that teen disgust eye roll, or that sassy “you’re an idiot” eye roll, but more a deep breath, two head shakes, a slight grin and a slow eye roll. Like a gentle, “Here we go again.”
I don’t think God gets mad when I don’t allow Him to unfold the steps before me. I don’t think He is a annoyed at my try hard moments or my stubborn withdraws. God is well aware of what and why I step how I step. He just keeps calling me back to a better path, a better story, eagerly hoping I will let things unfold in His “I can see way farther than you” way. So as I regroup and recommit to allowing things to unfold; I think the story will be so much better and the moments so much sweeter when I strive not be all in or all out, but just to let things unfold.
How are you at allowing things to unfold? Are you all-in, all-out, or step by step?