This morning, I found myself thinking about how our walk with God resembles this innocent child's play. For me, I go back and forth between these phases. Sometimes I am happy to surrender control and let God do the building. Unfortunately this is usually because I am completely broken and lack the strength to even try. Sometimes I get joy from seeing life change suddenly, like a tower falling to pieces, because I am ready for change and trust that what comes next will be good. Most of the time, though? Well, most of the time I am like that stubborn toddler who refuses help. I want to place every block, and of the frustration and anger when it doesn't work out.
I have seen myself go through these phases time after time. Yet none of these are really ideal, right? The best phase, and my personal favorite when playing with my son, is the one that so often gets forgotten when I am living my life as an adult. It is that brief time when the joy comes from working together. Building together, knocking down together. There are going to be times when the block have to fall. This is how we grow. It is so much easier to accept those tumbling towers when you know that there is already a plan for what comes next, and someone to help make it happen. This is what I want my life with God to look like. I am just not there yet.
I was reading Proverbs 3:5-6 last night:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Two things stood out to me. First was the word all. "All your ways," not just those you see fit. This stood out even more because I was also reading Jeremiah 29:11-13. The repetition of the word "all" wasn't lost on me. It does, however, remind me how far I have to go when it comes to learning to seek God's direction in the day-to-day. The other thing that stood out to me was the last line... "He will make your paths straight." The math nerd in me instantly thought about how the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Yet my life? I don't even know if zig zag adequately describes what it would look like drawn out. Definitely not a straight line. Because usually I am stubbornly choosing my own path. Building my own block tower, if you will, and then getting frustrated when it collapses and I have to try another approach.
How much easier it is to walk a straight line. How much easier it is to work with God to build a life that is filled with purpose and growth. I want that. I know that walking with God, and seeking His will, doesn't mean an end to obstacles. That straight path isn't a level one... there are still changes in altitude; peaks and valleys. The difference is that when you hit one of those valleys, God is there to guide you over it instead of trying to find a way around it alone. And when those peaks come? Well, the joy of knowing for certain that it is exactly where you are supposed to be at that point is even better than when we stumble upon them by chance.
We can't get to this point by only surrendering control occasionally. It isn't just about seeking God's will for life's big ticket items, or when you feel helpless and defeated. God wants a relationship with us. Always. I can often see how small, seemingly insignificant, choices can be what sparks a chain reaction. When I don't allow God to work in my life on the small scale, day-to-day stuff, I am missing the opportunity to make sure any chain reactions those little decisions cause end in growth and progress. I mentioned that passage in Jeremiah:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
We are given assurance that seeking God is not in vain: You will call upon me, I will listen. You will seek me, and find me. My Heavenly Father is always there, waiting for me to ask for help. My prayer is that I continue to learn to do that. I can see where He is working in me to help me get there... the question is will the path be a straight one, or my typical zig zag?