It has been a really long time since I talked about God on this blog. I guess that’s probably because, surprise surprise, I’ve let myself get distracted again. I have that tendency.
You see, I have this character trait which is simultaneously a strength and a flaw: my passion. When I become passionate about something, it absolutely consumes me. There is really little else I can think about. That’s why, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, I can see things in black and white terms at times. I don’t have it in me to be halfway passionate about something. I have a tremendous amount of loyalty that way. It isn’t something I’m trying to be boastful about, it is simply the way that it is.
And it is always completely amazing to me how God can find me in the midst of these whirlwinds I get myself caught into. Here is a truth: I have to be very, very selective about what I give my energy to. Because I know myself. And I know that once I get in, there is no getting out. That is why I try to avoid popular fads and phases as much as possible (not only because I’m a bit rebellious and a nonconformist at heart), but because I know how easy it is for me to get caught up in something once I’ve put my toe in the water.
But last night, I had a tremendous experience. One that has happened to me before, but happened to me again. I was reminded, in a very simple way, of just how much God knows me. How much He loves and cares for me.
As He so very often does for me, He answered a heartfelt prayer with music.
I went on a drive to clear my head. Once I’d returned home I sat in my car, holding my head in my hands as I prayed for direction in a stressful time. Frank was singing quietly in the background, as he so very often is in my daily life, and as I finished this prayer, the song changed to none other than the classic: The Best is Yet to Come.
This is significant not only if you know the lyrics of the song, but because this is the second time that God has answered this type of prayer in this exact same way.
I was at a turning point in my life the last time it occurred, right before I left on my religious mission. Many things about my future were up in the air, and though I was tremendously excited, I don’t think that I’ve ever been more afraid. I drove to a quiet place on the farm and stood in the trees, praying that I would know what to do. After several moments of waiting and listening, only to hear the rustle of leaves and the chirping of birds, I walked back to my car in the fading light.
Once there, I closed the door, started my car, and turned on Frank. I hit the shuffle button, knowing that whatever song came on would be able to calm me down and help me think straight, as that is what Frank Sinatra does for me. And what song do you suppose started playing then?
As I mentioned, I have now had this experience twice, and both times it has happened, it has reminded me of several things:
- Trust in God. He loves me, He knows me, and He’s watching over me. He understands my frustrations, He understands my griefs, He understands my confusions. He is there.
- Trust in myself. Far too often I find that I am trying to rein myself in, and control this uncontrollable thing that is my soul. But I believe we are all a little bit that way, and we don’t give ourselves credit for the beauty that we are and the joy that we have the potential to bring into others’ lives.
- Trust in the process of life. Things rarely go according to plan. I look back on every intricate plan I’ve ever laid out for myself and realize that most of them haven’t turned out anything like I thought they would, no matter how great I felt about the plan in the moment. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. My life is wonderful the way that it is, and it would have never come to this if I hadn’t been willing to change my plans and do what I felt was best for me, even if it wasn’t necessarily what I’d always had in mind.
- Believe. Life is a beautiful thing, and more often than not it is messy. But it was never meant to be perfect, only something to become better at. I have this long-standing, and perhaps irrational, fear that I’m going to mess things up. I love having deep discussions with people, I love getting to that point in a relationship where I can trust them enough to open my heart, and when they’ll share a part of theirs with me. But then I start worrying that by exposing these depths to others, that I’ve ruined something, and then all of the sudden I feel a million times more connected to them and I realize that they’ve become an indescribably crucial part of my life. Like I said before, I have to be careful about the passion thing. But experiences like these brush away all this worry, and make me grateful for experiences that crack open my heart, because all too often it is a little bit shut away. Experiences like these teach me to have faith even in the midst of the mess of life.
- Have understanding for others. If these experiences open my eyes to anything, it is that God speak to all of us in a different language. He speaks to us in ways that we understand personally, because He knows us. He knows how to help soothe each individual heart. I can always tell when I start to get close to somebody because I start wondering what things they are passionate about, and what things help soothe their heart. And I start wanting to share mine with them. It is a beautiful perspective, to realize that God understands us so well, that He speaks in different ways to His children. It helps me understand that we all receive comfort or revelation in different ways. Its an incredible thing.
For several posts now I’ve been alluding to a struggle I’m experiencing in my life. You all know me well enough to know that I’m not going to be pouring out all the gory details to you probably ever, but I will tell you this: with the end of my semester approaching, it has me thinking a lot about life in general. It has gotten me thinking about what I want in life, and how I’ve realized that it is quite a bit different than I expected.
Endings always cause this kind of reflection for me. So not only am I trying to juggle finals and papers and moving and good-byes that I’d rather not face ever, but I’ve all this philosophical stuff taking up room in my already very over-crowded head.
But then last night happened, and I was given a very personal, profound, and simple reminder: God is there. He knows me. He loves me. He has a plan. Have faith. Have courage. Have hope. Be loving and kind. Don’t worry. The Best Is Yet To Come.