Somehow, I often get it into my silly little head that praying is stressful.
Trust me; I know it sounds backwards to me too. Yet, it's something I feel on a regular basis, especially late into the night. I'll crawl into my bed, shut my eyes, and start to pray.
Before I know it, I'm wide awake, with my cell phone's flashlight beaming down onto my notebook, as I scrawl out a to-do list. Even when my list is complete, I end up staring at the ceiling with the "what if" game playing in my head.
What if I can never reach my goal of being a successful writer? What if I get stuck working a dead end job forever? What if I become allergic to gluten?
The five year plan
Something tells me, I'm doing this praying thing wrong. I'm supposed to be giving God my stress and anxieties, releasing them into his hands and then falling into a deep peace and rest. Instead, I end up taking the burdens back onto myself, letting them pile up onto my chest as though an elephant were sitting on me. I must get some sick pleasure in imagining what the worst thing that could happen is, especially in regards to my future.
I love the concept of having a five year business plan, a backup plan ready to go, and a college fund started for my non-existent children. I am a huge fan of day-planners, to-do lists and imagining my dreams as reality. However, none of those things are necessarily the enemy here. So then, what is?
Truth is, it boils down to control.
I, along with many others, seem to enjoy the thought we have everything under complete control. Finances, relationships, work, you name it.
There's something reassuring about feeling as though we're in the driver's seat. God quickly becomes a backseat driver who doesn't know the fastest route to our desired destination as we go full speed ahead to our goals.
Yet, when a semi-truck comes out of nowhere and T-bones us, we're horrified and confused. What happened to our plan? Weren't we right on course to success and easy living?
Oddly enough, this isn't something which should freak us out too much. Sure, I'd love to live underground in a cement bomb-shelter to avoid anything unexpectedly terrible happening to me to ruin my plans, but wouldn't trusting God be a better option? Of course, I believe you need to work and chase after the dreams God has placed in you, however getting stuck to a plan of what life is supposed to look like is another story.
Trust for every season
I'm especially learning this lesson more and more as I plan my upcoming wedding, and the aftermath of change which follows it. There's no guarantee everything will work out as I hope.
With so many decisions and new dynamics following this new season, it's impossible to pretend I have it together and I know exactly what our future will look like. There's too many big choices and decisions which I continually am needing to bring to the feet of the Lord to handle because I cannot bear it on my own strength, no matter how much I may tell myself I can.
The more I learn about prayer, and trusting God with every element of my future, and my relationships, the more I learn about submitting control. It's not because we are without free will or without a brain. It's because we can't control everything and we really have no idea what our futures look like or what unexpected trials wait around the corner.
Often, I reflect on where I was exactly a year ago. There's no way who I was a year ago would be able to imagine or plan for what life looks like now in the present.
We have the creator of heaven and earth inclining His ear to us, listening to even the silliest of our thoughts and worries. We can trust him wholeheartedly as he directs us through every season, and every bumpy road ahead.
With this in mind, perhaps I can learn to turn off my cell phone, shut my notebook, and find true rest in the arms of the Father who will always take care of my every need.
Miranda Bersaglio works in the film industry with a Christian organisation, "Youth With A Mission" in Quebec, Canada. During her free time, she can be found making films, writing stories, and getting lost in a good book.
Miranda Bersaglio's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/miranda-bersaglio.html