The question I hated to most during my senior year of college was, “What are you doing after graduation?” In my mind I’d say, “Well if I knew, I wouldn’t be having intense anxiety over it, now would I?” Of course in the end to satisfy the family, professors, and nosy fellow graduates who really just wanted to brag about their future plans, I would give them my rehearsed answer: “I’m going to work for a year until I can save up money for grad school.” This was a great answer and very noble…if it were true. To be fair, I was planning on saving money for grad school but the only reason I considered it was because my voice teacher helped me land an opportunity of a lifetime at attend a music school. This would be a dream for anyone else but I knew I didn’t want to go to grad school. I had felt for quite some time (at that point) called to go into music ministry but I was so obsessed with what my teacher would think of me if I didn’t take the opportunity. Truth be told, I was obsessed with what everyone thought of me. I was too scared to admit it but it was true. The other thing I wasn’t willing to tell many people is that, though I was called to go into music ministry, I had no set course to achieve my goal. In my time spent with the Lord prior, He told me I would go on that path but never gave me specific steps to get there (typical haha).
Time passed and it was 1 week to graduation and I was still telling people the same story. But as I write this, I start to wonder: what was I afraid of? Was I afraid that I wouldn’t be living up to what they thought I was capable of? Was I nervous to tell them that I had an end goal but didn’t know the means to which I would achieve it? Or was it that I thought they wouldn’t take me seriously? The answer to all of those questions was that I was afraid of all of those things. We as a society are so worried about what other people think of us and how others will measure our success. Our society is so driven by image and success; we have a longing to show others that we can be just as great, if not greater, as them. Even those people who say, “I don’t care what people think! I’m me and that’s all that matters!” to them I say, that’s great! I’m glad you are so confident in who you are. But I ask you this: why do you find yourself repeating this to every person you see? Who are you trying to convince, them or yourself?
Now this post could easily be about self image and identity but that will come later. Today, I will be focusing on the topic of trusting God with your future. Please understand, I am by no means saying that you shouldn’t be proactive or take the steps put in front of you to achieve your goals. This is not an excuse to be lazy or uninvolved. I am saying, however, that 1) you don’t have to worry about your future and 2) there’s no amount of planning you could ever do that will override the plans that God has for you. (Bonus: so long as you are following the Lord’s path for you, who cares what other’s think? If you can kneel before the Lord, you can stand before anyone!) In the Bible, there are various places that discus the idea that God is in control but the verses that have been laid on my heart are below:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but in long-suffering, toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that will prevail.” (Proverbs 19:21)
There is a phrase that is often used in the Church and it always something along the lines of, “I died to myself so that I can live in Christ”. I don’t think I ever quite knew what that meant until I found these 3 verses and actually gave my whole life to Christ and had true joy in living for Him. In Joshua 1:9, the very first thing we read is the Lord asking, “Have I not commanded you?” and this is very powerful. God is saying He has sent us out to live our lives for Him, what that looks like is different for everyone but has the same end goal. Next, God offers us encouragement! He is saying that because we have been commissioned to live our lives for Him that we don’t need to be afraid or doubt ourselves. How awesome is that?! Finally, He gives us comfort and says, “the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”. I don’t know about you but that is not only encouraging and comforting, but it also makes me feel so loved! Truth be told, even though I’ve always known I was loved because of what the Bible told me, for some reason I still struggled with feeling God’s love. Whatever it was, there was a disconnect and I am still on the path to learning how to truly believe and know He loves me without have something physical or emotional to reinforce it. But this line gave me the push I needed to truly seek the Lord and look in God’s character to see the many ways He loves us. God may not have said, “Joshua, I love you” in this verse but He shows His love by offering encouragement, comfort, and reassurance of his mission.
Prior to me coming across 2 Peter 3:9, I hadn’t really spent much time in 2 Peter. It wasn’t one of those books I was dying to read like Proverbs or Psalms or even the Gospels in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. So when this passage came to me in my most desperate time, I thought to myself, “What other books have I been ignoring this whole time?” One of the most interesting things I have experienced is being in a season of waiting. Now I will dive into that more a little later but for now, I will say that since being in this season of life, I didn’t realize how impatient I was haha! I felt like I had been waiting on certain blessings for so long, I didn’t understand why the Lord wasn’t giving them to me now. As much as I’d love to show y’all my spiritual temper tantrums, believe me when I say I wasn’t waiting well and this verse came right on time. Up above, my verses are NKJV but in NIV, the beginning to this verse says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promises, as some understand slowness…” In other words, God wasn’t taking His time just to taunt me or to keeping me waiting for no reason. He is never slow in the way we understand the concept of being slow. We live in such as fast paced society that we often times have forgotten how to be patient in the waiting. God’s timing is always perfect for me, He wants me to be in His presence in a way I’ve never experienced before. This pushed me into discovering things about myself and Him that I hadn’t known before and it’s so wonderful, y’all! I love waking up in the morning and seeing how brightly the sun shines through my window. This has been my room since childhood and I am just now seeing how wonderfully God greets me in the morning. It’s beautiful!
The next part of 2 Peter 3:9 says, “…but in long-suffering, toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance”. This basically means that He is patient with us and wants us to stretch and grow while we wait. It then goes into how He doesn’t want to see any of us perish or suffer but instead to repent and move our identity even more into Him. This is exactly what He is doing with me right now. He wants me to have true joy and contentment in Him. He wants to show me the gifts I didn’t even know I had. I’ve stepped into a time in my life where I can actually control my whole schedule and while I’m waiting, I’ve chosen to full my time with Him. Serving, seeking, growing, and doing life with some amazing people! I am even resting well!! I haven’t truly rested before (those who knew me in college can attest to this, haha). I was always busy in high school and in college doing school work, jobs, clubs, vocal practice, etc. Now, I get up and read my devotional, spend some time in Scripture, have spontaneous worship sessions, enjoy music and reading (and some YouTube videos here and there). I actually get to enjoy my days and I would have never know this kind of rest if I hadn’t have completely let go and decided to full my time with Him while I wait.
Lastly, in Proverbs, we get one of many verses in the Bible that reassures us that God is in control and He knows what our future holds. So because of this awesome truth, we don’t have to have anxiety or worry about anything! Plus, what would we accomplish by worrying? Nothing. I am so transfixed on this amazing peace and joy that I have through Him and I don’t ever want to let it go. Even when the time comes for me to enjoy the blessings I am patiently (to my best ability) waiting on, I still want to have the desire to fill my days with Him the best I can. I don’t want to let anything come in between what He and I have and if I’m deeply rooted in Him, I won’t ever let that happen. Satan has tried many times but I know he loses in the end. My approach to handling the enemy are 3 simple words accompanied by Scripture that the Lord has put on my heart. Those words are: not today satan! You’d be surprised how effective it is.
If you wanted an update on me and my life: as I mentioned earlier, I have been in a season of waiting and transformation. In some ways, I am waiting on the Lord to give me guidance but in other ways, I feel that He is waiting on me. What I mean by this is that He is waiting on me to complete another phase of my transformation that He is doing in me so that I can move forward towards the instruction and blessings He has for me. Since I’ve graduated, I moved back home and became super involved in a new church! He’s answered my prayers tenfold by giving me a great community, wonderful opportunities to serve and grow in my leadership, and also give me somewhere to invest my spiritual journey in. I’ve never been so filled before and I am truly loving every moment I get to spend with my church family! And with it comes this amazing desire to be completely obedient and accountable in all areas in my life. Now am I perfect, no, of course not. I still struggle with loneliness and waiting well however, I am able to do life with other people who help me hear the load. We were made to be in community. Everything I’ve said in my update is important because through all of this, God is showing me how much better His plans are for us than any plan we could come up with. I wanted to stay in my college town and pursue musical worship. Noble but not where God wanted me to be. He knew that in order to truly worship Him, it had to go beyond music. Worship is a lifestyle! And this means being a leader spirutally, doing life with other people in community, serving others, and being a witness to His greatness with my life, not just with my voice. That was probably hardest for me to cope with because I’d always been Sabrina: the “singer”. But now I’m Sabrina: the leader, youth ministry volunteer, and singer pursuing a life in leading worship in music ministry. He is reshaping my idea of my identity and showing me that I can worship Him with more than just song, though this is where He is calling me to be. Looking back, I am so incredibly thankful for Him not giving me what I wanted and instead giving me what I needed. I needed my church, my community, my mission, and an opportunity to grow in Him with complete obedience.
So this leaves me to wonder: do we know the best plans for our lives or does God? I’m not biblical scholar but I have enough confidence in my Lord to know that He ultimately knows best.
Prayer: God, I come before You in awe of all that You do. Thank you for having wisdom in guiding us and always keeping Your promises. You know the plans You have for us and this is one of the many comforts You offer us. I ask that You be with me and my brothers and sisters in Christ that and give us peace and contentment for where we are in life. Help us to not rush the season that we are in and to know that we have a good shepherd and a good, good Father! Amen.