I am a terrible backseat driver.
Okay, maybe I’m not as bad as I used to be (or at least, that’s what I’m going to tell myself), but when I was younger, I was an awful backseat driver.
back·seat driv·er: noun; a passenger in a car who gives the driver unwanted advice.
Yes, that’s me. Just ask my fiance. For whatever reason, I really struggle with trusting that others can drive me from point A to point B without a little extra input or assistance. I remember when I first received my license, I thought that I knew everything about the roads – it’s important to note that I did, in fact, fail the driving part of the driving test before receiving my license. I remember correcting my Dad’s driving habits and telling him what the best ways to drive were. There’s no doubt that my stubborn, know-it-all attitude made my Dad’s eyes twitch when he was in the driver’s seat.
I share this with you because I think we can be guilty of allowing that same backseat driver attitude to pour over into our relationship with Jesus. The Lord is in control of my life. I know this in my head, but when it comes to trusting Him through every season, I often will forget that I am ultimately not in the driver’s seat. Can I make my own decisions? Absolutely – He gives us the freedom to choose to follow His ways or to do our own thing – but the second I try to control the steering wheel when I am not in the driver’s seat, my life begins to swerve.
The Lord knows how deeply I struggle with the need to be in control of life situations. I have a hunch that His knowing this about me is exactly why He choses to stick me in the middle of seasons of unknown. When He knows something that I don’t know (which is everything, by the way), I am forced to trust Him in ways that are uncomfortable to me. Through that discomfort, my faith in Him grows stronger and stronger.
I’m currently walking through a pretty thick season of unknown. I have many questions about my near future and have been experiencing a serious stretching of my faith because of those questions. I feel like my future is unclear and if I think too much about it, I will begin to stress slightly (haha me? Stressed? Shocker, right?).
But you know what’s wild? I really haven’t been nearly as worried about this current season as I feel like I should be. The Lord has had His hand over my story from the beginning and I know that He will guide me through the next best steps for my life.
With that being said, though, I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t caught myself thinking late at night about what our next steps will be. I’d be lying if I told you that I’m a totally chill, flexible, go-with-the-flow kind of person. Oh, how I envy people who can honestly not worry about what their futures hold, but that is just not how I am wired.
I like to have a plan, I like to be prepared, I like to do my research, and make logical decisions. My humanness likes to be in control – and that is problematic in my relationship with God.
The Lord does not just desire to be in control, He is in control – whether we like it or not. I can fight for that control or pretend to have a handle on my life, but ultimately God is in the driver’s seat and always will be. I don’t have to search for control. I don’t have to have it all together. I can find incredible freedom in releasing the grip of my worries and trusting that God’s will is in the works. God’s driving record is white as snow – clean, perfect, without fault. He makes no mistakes. I think so many of us often can feel stuck in seasons or areas of unknown. How can we learn to fix our eyes on Jesus in the midst of that? How can we trust God when our worries seem so loud?
1. Pray and Surrender.
I thought about making this the final “mic drop” point, but it cannot wait for the end of this post. Surrender and prayer are VITAL in the midst of unknown seasons. Y’all, every morning I have to surrender my worries about my unknown future to God.
Every. Single. Morning.
My prayers look something like this:
Lord, I praise you for being all-knowing. I praise you for creating me and stretching me during this time. I surrender my fears and worries about the future into your hands. You are God of the universe. You will take care of me and my fiance. You have incredible plans for your kingdom. May your peace drown out my worries. I trust you, Lord. I trust that you will tell me what the next step is when the time is right. Amen.
Prayers like the one above shift my perspective and help me to remember that I am not Lord over my own life, but Jesus Christ is. I encourage you to write a surrender prayer of your own that is specific to the season that you are in the midst of.
2. Fuel Your Spirit With God’s Word.
Instead of drowning in your own worries about the future, choose to submerge your mind in God’s word. For every worry we have about the next steps in our lives, there is a scripture that proves the worry to be a lie. Let me show you:
Worry: We are running out of time. Truth: God works all things in His perfect timing –
“But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” – 2 Peter 3:8-9
Worry: What if we don’t have enough money? Truth: God will provide for my needs as He is doing right now –
“At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19
Worry: What if I’m not strong enough for the road ahead? Truth: God’s power is made strong through my weaknesses –
“Each time he [God] said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
Fight those worries with the power of scripture. Google the scriptures that contradict your worries and speak that truth into your heart and mind. The bible is TRUTH. That worry you are facing is most likely a lie straight from the devil. Do not believe it.
3. Remember What God Has Carried You Through Already.
Mine and my fiance’s story is my proof of how God can use seasons of unknown to create something incredibly beautiful. He has always made a way through every fear, worry, and season of unknown. My fiance and I were broken up for the longest year of my life – a year of trial, heartache, and loneliness. This was a huge year of unknown for both of us, but I know with all my heart that if I had known that I would end up marrying him one day, then I would not have leaned into the Lord the way I did. I had to walk through that season of hurt and unknown so that my faith would be tested and strengthened. God knew where I would go to college, where my first real job would be, who I would marry. He lead me into the perfect places at the perfect times and if He did that before, then He will do that again. Not because it’s His job to make my life great, but because He is a God of love who seeks to bring glory to His kingdom. My prayer is that each step of my life would point back to Him – whether it is through a trying time or a glorious occasion.
4. Stop Giving Your Worries Oxygen.
This one can be tough. In my heart, I know that God will provide and I truly believe that His hand will carry me exactly where He wants me to go, but when people ask me about my future, I freak out a little – “Oh, I don’t know yet. It depends on this and that. I’m trying not to think or worry too much about it.” *nervous laughter* If I’m not careful, I can go into a rant about all my worries and fears instead of saying simply, “You know, I don’t really know yet. But I do know that God is faithful and I am trusting that He will guide me to the next step in His perfect timing.”
Remember that once you put negativity out into the world, it can never be taken back. Once you give your worries room to breathe in the air around you, they are likely to grow. Be careful that the words of your mouth are reflecting the true emotions of your heart. Mean what you say, friends, and say what you mean.
5. Fix Your Eyes On Jesus and Embrace This Opportunity For Your Faith To Grow.
“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on the things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
This is my favorite chunk of scripture right now. I love the reminder of how temporary these troubles we face are in comparison to the eternity we will spend bring glory to God in heaven. In this scripture, Paul is encouraging the readers to fix their gaze on heavenly things that cannot be seen. The more I fix my gaze on the Lord, the less I feel the weight of my worries.
If you don’t know, then you aren’t supposed to know yet. This I do know, though – God knows. He knows you, your heart, your dreams, and your desires. He knows how in need of Him you are. He is beckoning you to run to Him and get to know Him even more through this season. Take it one day at a time, friends. We are not supposed to have this life mapped out. Today’s trouble is enough for today and God always has an incredible way of making something glorious out of every situation. I’m choosing to view this season as an opportunity to grow as a believer. This will grow my faith and strengthen my testimony. God is faithful. I trust in Him.
“The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” – Lamentations 3:22-23