When I was a freshman in high school, I became a keen observer of how many prom dates ended up separating and sharing their life with someone else.
As a wee little ninth-grader, prom seemed like the most magical thing ever. I didn’t understand how two could share an evening like that and then part as if nothing happened.
That’s not going to be my story, I thought.
At 13, I was convinced that if anyone asked me to prom, he would have to be the one. I was determined that my first boyfriend would be my only boyfriend. I was set on a future where my daughter would ask me who my first love was and I would look across the room at him.
The latter half of my high school career was shared with the best guy friend a girl could ask for. He ended up asking me to the senior prom and, midway through our first semester of college, I came to recognize him as my first true love.
My biggest fear was that I would lose the friendship we shared. I held on with white-knuckled fists, but Scripture was only proven true.
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”— Matthew 16:25
Within three days, the future that seemed so close, so clear, and painted in a million different colors was taken away. I came to find a stranger in eyes where I once saw a soulmate and learn that two and a half years of investing in a friendship were all a waste.
I was brought to a place where I had nothing to hold on to but trust that somehow everything that didn’t make any sense all fit into God’s master plan. I had to lay every hope of a future spouse and every dream of a future child at His feet.
While it was inexplicably the most challenging season I have yet to walk through, I have ironically come to miss it because the only thing I was capable of doing with the scraps of myself I hardly recognized was hold on to Christ.
While heartbreak is an incredibly dark and raw place to be, it was beautiful and engulfed in an odd sense of peace because my heart was as lined up with God’s heart as it could be (Psalm 73:25b). In consequence, my desires and His will were never more in unison.
What It’s Ultimately About
Repercussions of this thought line on our desires and God’s will could not have been punctured by a more applicable sermon from my pastor of global connection.
He talked about how every one of us has a script of what “salvation” looks like: a respectful wife, loving children, church worship that isn’t too loud, meeting your soulmate in a coffee shop, you name it.
Some scripts are very intricate, but they all get tight and focus on ourselves as we cry out for God to save us personally or relationally, to save our culture, or to save us from misery and suffering.
Jesus never silences our cry for salvation (Luke 19:40 ). He was born to be our Savior, yet He rarely saves us the way we want or think He will because Jesus’ way of saving is WAY bigger and far better than we think.
Jesus goes for the heart. He cleansed the temple from the inside out like how He changes the world from within us to out. Sometimes you are given a mountain to show others how to climb it, for your story to become a page in someone else’s survival guide.
However, sometimes we live in so much desperation for something, anything to make sense that we can’t see anything better than our desired scripts. We then often miss what is most important:
Salvation is not what Jesus can do for us but who He came to be.
Tim Keller beautifully elaborates on this concept in his sermon “The King and the Furnace,” how we should not desire God for what we can get from Him but love Him solely for who He is.
Moving Forward From Here
What then are we to do now? We must still live a life just as full of decisions as before reading these words. How do we balance making plans and the inevitable unexpected?
Simply put the pen down. Write your plans in pencil and give God the eraser.
Don’t hold your vision for the future with a tight grip. Say, “Father, it would be lovely if _____, but if not, I will still love You for who You are.”
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'”-James 4:13-15
I have big dreams for this blog, my YouTube channel, an Etsy shop, and coming mediums like a podcast and books. I’m saving up for a house and have every intention of staying thoroughly involved in my local church but, if God’s will leads in another direction, I want to be all in.
The story ninth-grade me wanted to write is so much smaller than the story God ended up leading me through, but I wouldn’t change anything. God’s story for our lives is the only story worth living, one that is harder than we can imagine but better than we can dream.