There are two things that came across my Facebook feed this morning that had me thinking. One was a quote by Timothy Keller, "Worry is not believing God will get it right, and bitterness is believing God got it wrong.". The other was a Bible verse a friend posted from Psalm 142:2-3, "I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all of my troubles. When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn." Worry and anxiety plaque me from time to time. As the new school year begins, things get especially heightened for me for several reasons. My schedule gets turned up 100%. Gone are the leisurely days by the pool, the sleeping in and the kids being free to be kids. Everyone in my house is more relaxed and well rested in the summer months. Suddenly I am thrown into the race of life and am back to activities I have taken a break from (both me and my kids). I find time moves quickly and I am racing to get everything done, and even then, much gets missed. The other piece that seems to get turned up are the emotions of my children. They are experiencing the same thing I am with the start of school and it tends to come out in many ways, most expressed in my presence or towards me. We moms seem to be the "safe place" for them to fall, to cry and to lose it. I am grateful my kids are so open with me. But this mama's heart is tied pretty tight to that of her kiddos. So, my anxieties tend to increase.
As I was walking today and reflecting on the quote and verse I had read, I realized how quickly I tend to allow worry to take over and how I begin to doubt God. I don't think of it this way. I never choose to doubt God, but by worrying so much, I am. I am so focused on the issue or problem at hand, that I am not thinking about God and His plan. That seems to be the problem. Instead of trusting God, I allow the obstacle in front of me to take over. As I walked up a hill on the path in the woods by my home the old saying came to me "I can't see the forest through the trees". I was looking up the hill at some trees and the forest behind them, I was struck by it's beauty. God often speaks to me through nature. And it hit me. I was focusing on the few trees in front of me and missing the beauty of the forest.
There are times when I can see the forest through the trees in front of me. The problem at hand is there, but I trust God with the plan. His plan is greater than mine and I know this. And even in the midst of struggles I am reminded by the words in Jeremiah 29:11 that read "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." It is then that I can see the forest. I may not be able to see deep into it, but I know it's there and I trust God that it is there and that His way is best.
Then come the times like today when all I see are a bunch of trees blocking any view of the future. I start to worry about every thing that isn't right and can't seem to move past them. I have missed the forest completely. It hasn't moved, it is still there, but I don't see it. During these times, hope seems to disappear and I miss out on so much! I miss the beauty that's around me and can only see the events that "aren't right".
God has a plan. The obstacles are there. But His plan is perfect. Do I really think my plan is better than His? Am I worried God won't get it right? God wants to hear our troubles. He listens to our hurts and our complaints. But then, we need to trust that He knows the way we should turn. Sometimes we sit for a bit, sometimes we move forward, to the right or to the left and sometimes we do an about face and change directions. Whatever the path, there will be trees, obstacles we will face. But by trusting in God and not focusing on them, we can still enjoy the beauty of life around us. I am searching the forest today. I am looking past the trees to the beauty beyond the moment and circumstances and trusting in God to get it right.