“What the?!,” I said out loud yesterday while opening the mail. Any time the return address says IRS Department of Treasury, you know you’re in trouble for something you don’t remember doing. While I’m totally familiar with that, all I could think was, Uh-oh. I didn’t plan for this.
And so it goes. Life doesn’t always go as planned.
Really, genius? you might be thinking. Yeah, I know. But give me a second here and I will explain my thought de jour.
We plan for a thousand things to go wrong, but in comedic life fashion, the only one which ever seems to is the one you didn’t plan for—the one you can’t do anything about right that very second, the one that leaves you feeling totally helpless in the overwhelming immediacy of the moment.
I owe you $2,264 my <expletive>. Dear Tax Guy, I’m gonna send you a ‘lil something in the morning.
While in the grand scheme of things it was not a big deal to open my mailbox and receive that correspondence (note: I am a BIG BIG fan of receiving hand-written letters/cards, and if you write me something catchy with say, a quill pen, I will jump up and down in the middle of the street…even while wearing an unnecessary “you broke your foot, you moron” boot), I was unprepared for it, so my initial reaction was the standard eye-roll and subsequent verbiage.
However, what I also noticed as I was shawty like a pimp walking back into my house was that by the time I reached the garage, I was over it. Can you say new perspective? Can you say FINALLY? Can you say…well, that part isn’t for public consumption. Suffice it to say he’s freaking awesome. And I even listen to everything he has to say, because I’d be even more moronic than running in wedges after four-ish Farmhouses if I didn’t.
It’s easy to talk about getting over your fears, living bravely, having faith and relinquishing control. But lemme tell ya, it’s much harder to do when you have a memory like a steel trap and remember the pain you endured when you did NOT choose to do those things in the past.
Maybe the whole point of getting over our fears is learning to take that step into the great unknown and expect, understand, and appreciate that it’s not always going to go smoothly–that we have to trust despite the plans which either fall apart or cannot be executed right.that.second.
Things will go wrong. A car breaks down. The furnace stops working. A child spikes a fever. The IRS is bored.
The truth is we’re not in control of our circumstances no matter how hard we try. There will be stomach flus and accidents, broken dishes and spilled milk. There will be broken metatarsals, broken hearts, and broken dreams. There might even be a phone call from your super sweet daughter using her best super sweet voice to indirectly tell her loving mother that her boyfriend has totaled her (mother’s) car.
And without question, there will also be the teeny, tiny little control freak issues which rattle around in our heads, making us think we want and need to be in charge, when the real truth is we need to just let it all go. He’s got it. His hands are mighty. It’s not only prideful but kinda funny to think that God needs our input on anything to make sure His plans come to fruition.
I can hear it now someday as I stand in awe: “I was just trying to help…You didn’t see me check THAT one off the list?” as He hugs me because thankfully, mercifully, He loves me unconditionally anyway.
I need to open these clenched fists and pray God help me, because all I’m really going to do is mess it all up by trying to make it right on my own. Hey, better late than never as I like to say. A lot.
What opening your mailbox after a long day at work teaches you is that you can’t control your life or anyone else’s for that matter. But crazily and humanly, we let our worry and anxiety eat away at our peace of mind, the peace that surpasses all understanding. If we could just let go of our own fear, our own selfish defense mechanisms to help ourselves, then we might actually know that peace – that shalom that comes only from Him.
When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, In God I trust; I will not be afraid.” (Psalm 56:3-4a)
I need this reminder on loop every day, a thousand times, until it completely reverberates in this faint heart. And it’s starting. It started a few months ago actually. What a lesson. What a blessing. What a time in my life. The best place to be is in love. Trust me.
We learn to trust by practicing trust. Trust that if we let go, God will work it all out. Find your place, your someone, your groove where you laugh until joy fills up the place where fear once lived. The place where trust is born. The place where we let go and hold on tight to what might be and what is to come.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Sometimes I want to hit my own self upside the head for not constantly remembering that He withholds no good thing, even the ones 189 miles away.
So yeah, life and timing doesn’t always go as planned. And to that, I say, “THANK GOD!”
Because you know what? The real plan is the unplanned, the unpredictable journey we call life.
I close with that, as I simultaneously am reading an email which says, “The IRS screws up all the time. You don’t owe anything. I’ll draft a letter.”
Cool. Use a quill pen, dude.