I think I’ve shared recently that I’m been busy searching for full time teaching positions for the upcoming school year. I’ve applied strictly for special education teaching positions since that is what I’m getting my master’s in. Anyway, I’ve sent out several applications and so far, well, so far, it’s not looking great. No yes’s, no maybe’s, no interviews, no nothing. Quite honestly, I’m frustrated and more than a little tired of applying for jobs.
But here’s the good news. I’m not panicking, I’m not giving up, and I’m not worrying about the future. Mostly, I’m just trusting, trusting that God has a plan. Because he does.
I’m never one to advocate for audibly hearing God’s voice. In fact, I think it’s dangerous ground to stand on to say that God audibly speaks to us on a regular basis. I truly believe that he speaks to us mainly through his Word. Having said that, I think there are times in life when a breath of heaven comes down and whispers something to us, something that our soul needs to hear.
For me it happened this past Good Friday. We were in church and I recall praying at the beginning of the service that God would speak to each one of us in a way that we needed to hear him. Maybe through a confirmation of something, or a word of encouragement, or a truth we needed to remember. Anyway, as the Pastor began to pray, I closed my eyes and prayed along in my spirit.
But, as so often happens during prayer time, my mind began to wander. Mostly, my heart began to fret. I thought about jobs and my future—about what was going to happen. Where would I be next year? Would I have a job? If so, what would it look like? As all these thoughts swirled around threatening to consume me, a sudden sense of peace settled in and I felt this presence speaking to my soul, “I have a plan.”
Four simple words, “I have a plan,” and suddenly my spirits lifted. It was an ah-ha moment. God has a plan. And it wasn’t a generic, I-have-a-plan moment, it was like a general speaking to his troops with a commanding voice, “Men I have a plan.” It felt like God was standing right next to me, a chart of my life in his hands and a secret smile on his face. “Nici, it’s going to be all right. I have a plan.”
God has a plan. For me. For you. No matter what life looks like around you, remember that. Rejoice in that. It is good to know that the One who made you, knows your story and has a plan, an awesome and amazing plan for your life. Trust him and in that knowledge rest in his perfect peace.
Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)
11 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."
Last week, I diligently sat at my computer eyes straining, neck craned, shoulders tense and fingers poised over my keyboard. In short, I was stressed out. See, I had this big project due for my master’s class and it just wasn’t coming very easily. My words weren’t making sense to me, the research articles I’d found didn’t really fit in with the points I was trying to make. And worst of all, I was running out of time. So, as I sat there in my pool of misery and wretchedness, I felt a sense of overwhelming overwhelmingness. Have you ever felt that way? Completely overwhelmed. Stressed out. Wondering how on earth the thing before you is ever going to get done?
Well, as I sat before my computer, I felt a gentle nudge from God, or maybe it was just a craving for sweets, either way, in my heart—not my head, mind you, because my head never wants to listen to God—but in my heart, I felt this nudge of, 'Okay, Nici, take a break. Walk away, come back to it in a bit. Gain some perspective.'
So, what did I do? I shouted for my kids, “Who wants to go for frozen yogurt?” and my kids who would normally ignore me every other time, miraculously appeared at the top of the steps, smiles on their faces and eagerly nodded their assent that yes, they wanted to go out for yogurt. For a fleeting moment as we got in the car, I was tempted to let the guilt monster take over, but then I thought, 'Why not? It can’t hurt to try it this way, maybe I would feel better if I just took a break.'
Later that day, I even posted a picture on Facebook joking about my choice to go out for frozen yogurt when I had a big project due. But you know what, I’m not so sure that in that moment of complete and utter stressing out, I didn’t do the exact right thing.
Why? Because I came back to my computer, ready to try again. I took a deep breath and dove right in. And I did my best. It wasn’t perfect and it wasn’t, in my mind’s eye, a masterpiece, but it was good. Good enough to get me full points. Full points.
Does it pay to stress out? Does it make things better? Easier? No. In a simple word no. At least it never has worked for me. And I bet if you think about it, you’d agree that, really in the end, it doesn’t do anything for you either.
Don’t stress out. Take a break. Take a breather. Let God get hold of your heart and calm you down. Let God get hold of your brain and slow down your racing thoughts. He’s got this. And in his grace, it really will turn out okay. It always does when we leave it in his hands and stop trying to hoard it in our own.