Practical or Brave?

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I’ve been reading Oswald Chambers My Utmost for His Highest devotions. It’s not the first time I’ve gone through these, but every time I do I always learn something new about myself and my relationship with God. I’ve been ruminating on these words for the past few days: “Let God’s truth work in you by soaking in it, not by worrying into it…Obey God in the thing He shows you, and instantly the next thing is opened up.”

One of my major faults is worry. I have this major control problem, where I want to plan everything out in meticulous detail, with contingency plans and back ups for my back ups. Let me be frank, that gets exhausting. Especially because Robert Burns was absolutely right, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” So when my plans don’t work out, it feel like a failure, and the problem with that is—life can’t be meticulously planned out. It just doesn’t work that way. And because I feel like it should be, I feel like my life is a complete failure.

I’ll be honest with you, this is not what I pictured my life to be like when I was 15 and planning out my future (I had it ALL PLANNED OUT!). Like most little girls, I was going to be married, with 2.5 kids, living in a suburb. I’d have a mortgage, a dog, a fenced in yard, and I’d be writing novels while taking my kids to soccer practice and church picnics. I’d be a model wife, a pillar of the community. I’d be a master baker, bringing in cupcakes and homemade bread for church functions and school PTA meetings. Once my kids were all in school I’d go back to teaching.

That’s not what my life looks like. And to be fair, I kind of shudder when I think about that being my life, too. It’s what I planned, but it’s not what God had in the cards for my life. I struggled for years feeling like a failure because I’d been rejected in multiple ways. I don’t bake (unless, you know, it comes out of a can and all I have to do is put it on a cookie sheet. Even then, there’s a 50/50 shot I’ll forget it’s in the oven and burn it anyway). I don’t cook (I worry too much about it being “perfect” and then I end up making something awful 7/10 times). I’m not married. No kids. No mortgage. My life isn’t what I planned, but…

That’s not what failure means. I’m still figuring out what God’s truth is for me. One thing I learned, was that I have to stop being so damn practical all the time. Yes, having a plan and a goal is important, it’s how I function. BUT having time to be spontaneous, fun, and brave is how I end up growing. I watch this TV Show called “Jane the Virgin”. (I know, I know, this show is not wonderful; it’s cheesy, racy, and a little on the “what the what?!?!” side of soap opera-ville. But we’ll call it a guilty pleasure). A question that is asked of the main character when she is in high school: what do you want to be? And she counters with “Am I being practical or brave?”

So can you be both practical and brave?

Oswald Chambers ended his devotional with “Beware of becoming “wise and prudent”. I don’t think that means we should stop seeking wisdom, but rather we should stop trying to become so wise that we forget who holds the ultimate Wisdom and Truth for our lives. It’s so easy to become wrapped up in our own practical truths, that we forget to trust our future to the one who knows us better than we know ourselves. We forget to be brave.

So that is my goal. To let go of my plans and soak in God’s truth. Because when you do that, doors open. And you just never know where those doors might lead.

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