Normally when people say something is “from the heart,” they are referring to something that is sweet or kind or just makes someone feel better. That’s normally the way I use it too, until I really start to think about what is going on in my heart. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself these past few months as I’ve been thrown into a whirlwind of applying for jobs and making plans and trying to trust God throughout it all, it’s that my heart is far from being a fountain of goodness.
I actually started this blog post about 3 weeks ago when I had just received a rejection email from a company I applied to work for. I sat for a long time trying to believe that I was grateful for it because I knew that God was working in it, but I just couldn’t be convinced. It didn’t take long for my schoolwork to intervene and I decided I just didn’t have time to think about it anymore. Whenever I slip into that state of mind, I try to go back to a time when I felt God was close to me. Often times, I go back to Summer Project. As I was reading some of the posts I wrote during that time, I came across the one where I talked about believing in God’s sovereign and perfect plan for my life. This part stuck out to me:
“More than anything else, what this experience has shown me is that the Lord’s plan is always better. And even though I’ve known that in my head for a long time now, this is the first time in which I can truly feel how real that statement is. Before this project, I often used this statement as a way to calm my nerves when I didn’t know what was to come or when I needed reassurance that I didn’t have to figure all of this out on my own — but now it means so much more than that… It means that my happiness and the weight of my life will rest in nothing but God’s plan, and it will bring me far greater joy than anything I could craft for myself.”
What I realized then is that I had resorted back to using my belief that God’s plan is better just to give myself relief when I needed it most, and that’s not how it works. I wish I could say that as soon as I read that part of my post, all of my worries and fears disappeared, but that’s not what happened. In my heart, I just got angry that I couldn’t be as confident in the Lord’s plan as I was last summer. But the more I have thought about it over the past few weeks, God has reminded me that His plan has never been contingent on the strength of my faith. This whole concept of “following His plan” has never been about how well I can decipher His direction; it’s always been about rooting myself — my plans, my desires, my dreams, my fears — in who He is and what He’s doing.
I graduate in two weeks, and I have no idea where I’m going next. I have a folder filled with completed job applications and interview times and reference letters, and none of it has provided any reassurance about my future. And in a moment like this, I can’t help but ask myself, and all of you who are facing an unknown future, do we really think we decide the trajectory of our lives? Even if you do know where you’re going next, how sure can you really be that the assurance that comes from a known future will never leave you? What will you have when it’s gone?
My heart isn’t always convinced of this, but somewhere deep down I know that every time I have to answer “I’m not sure yet” to the repeatedly asked, “So what are you doing after graduation?”, it’s not because God is holding out on me. It’s because God’s plan this whole time has been for me to follow Him, and to root all I am in Him — that’s it. And I think we (myself included) get so caught up in what God might be calling us to do next that we forget how much more concerned He is with changing our hearts than helping us complete our to-do list.
I think when we’re really speaking from the heart, it looks as messy as this post. When I think about the state of my heart, I know that it allows doubt and wordly desires to take it captive all too often. I wrote that post from Summer Project praying that I would never lose sight of such a freeing realization concerning God’s plan, but that’s what happens when we don’t bring ourselves back to who God is each and every day. And when I really think about it, I can have confidence in the fact that if Jesus didn’t turn away from me when He saw the reality of the cross before Him, He certainly won’t abandon me now.
Here’s to whatever happens next.