Like many other moms…especially those of us who struggle with the perfectionist bug, I spend a lot of time dwelling on details.
I think about not only what comes next… but what comes after that, and after that and after that, in almost an indefinite, infinite cycle. While it makes me feel prepared, it also makes me anxious… and makes me prone to rushing things that oftentimes shouldn’t be rushed at all.
And yet, while I know this, I repeat the cycle over and over again. At least, that used to be my norm. I say “used to be” because COVID has changed everything.
In the beginning, I kept on keeping on in this regard. But, without being able to make concrete plans, it only served to increase my anxiety. The growing number of unknowns, of changed plans, and that feeling that the future felt so blurry had me in a panic about 99% of the time.
I felt the same unease among my friends. While our conversations became more remote, the content was often the same: what do we do?! How do we decide right and wrong right now? How do we move forward?
Recently, this became even more intense. With schools releasing fall plans, changing, then changing again, we’re in a constant cycle of flux.
For our family, this was compounded by plans to move that seem to be on hold while we hold down homes in two states and a salary cut. For other friends, this was compounded by job losses and failing businesses. For others, this was compounded by very real, very unexpected health crises in a time that even figuring out basic treatment plans feels nearly impossible.
Y’all. Nothing right now feels clear. The ground – right now – feels shakier than ever. When we dwell on the what-ifs and the unknowns, it feels more like an earthquake than a simple shake. And it’s constant.
Even writing this out, if I’m honest, makes my heart race a little bit.
There’s a Better Place to Anchor Our Plans
But here’s the thing I’ve learned during this time especially, that maybe could help you too: we don’t have to focus on the shaking. We can anchor our hearts, our plans, our fears, our anxieties, and our crises, on a solid rock who has never and will never change… one that makes some pretty incredible promises if we take time to dive into his word. We can ask him to move in the details and to sort them out – giving our plans to him and leaving them there… in the safest place they could possibly be.
I don’t know what this looks like for you.
For me, it started before COVID took over our every day lives.
As John and I prayerfully tried to figure out what his job opportunity in DC meant for our family and to sort through God’s very clear calling for him to accept the job… but less clear calling to sell our home here and actually move (remember, at this point we had no idea a global pandemic was around the corner and didn’t feel like God was releasing us from our lives here in PA, though a remote position in DC seemed out of the question), nothing seemed to make sense.
As we worshiped one Sunday morning in church, we sang “The Lord Our God.”
The song starts with the lyrics:
“Promise maker, promise keeper
You finish what you begin.
Our provision, through the desert,
You see it through ’til the end.”
By the time we started singing:
“We won’t move without you.
We won’t move without you.
You’re the light of all, and all that we need,”
I was sobbing. Tempted to pull my sunglasses down and hide from the world. Nothing made sense… yet I felt like we should have it all together.
I went home and put those words up on our mirror. I felt as though I would need the reminder.
Fast forward to where we are today… a place where I don’t feel alone on the shaky ground. Many of us don’t know which way is up. We’re confused. We don’t understand. We’re hurting from hurts that we maybe can’t even identify.
But those words? They’re still true.
Our God is still good. And he’s still there. He still loves us. He still directs our paths. His promises are not conditional, and while things feel awfully big to us, nothing we have encountered or will encounter surprises him. He is still all that we need.
And it Gets Better…
Here’s where it gets really exciting to me… even when the spinning starts.
He. Works. In. The. Details.
For all of us.
If we are willing to hand it over to him – our concerns about what school looks like this fall. The health of our loved ones and ourselves. Our financial concerns. Our questions about how we are supposed to move forward right now. Our hurts. Even how we are supposed to put one foot in front of the other – he can tackle the details and WILL tackle the details, whether we spend our time obsessing over them or not.
Think about what this means.
It means that you can stop the spinning. Will the unknowns stay unknown? They definitely will, and I’m not belittling how hard and big that can feel. Right now, I am not sure which way is up most days, and that’s something that would have pushed me into some pretty dark spaces in the past. I get it.
But, if your anchor is God, you can ask him to move in the details so that you don’t have to dwell on them, allowing you to dwell on his goodness and his mercy and his promises instead.
There is freedom in this. There’s hope in this. There is a strength that doesn’t have to come from us in this.
Our God loves us and promises that he has plans for us. Whether those plans are what we would choose or not, there’s something about leaning on the fact that he is big and good in a not-depending-on-our-own-sufficiency way that is freeing and comforting.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed today… I just want to encourage you to give him the details. Even if you can’t sort them out or figure out how to voice them… surrender them to him. He’ll work in the way he always has and he’ll take away the compulsion to take it back into your own hands if you just ask.
Guys… this is good news. It’s the best kind of news. Can you hand the details over today?