Last summer I went to Florida to visit my sister, and we took a boat out on the water. We had an amazing day full of beautiful weather, food, and fun. When it was time to leave, my brother-in-law, Jeff, drove. Since we had a little bit of time, he went out away from the direction of the dock into water where most people don’t really go, not because it’s dangerous, just because there isn’t much to do there.
At first, I was content to watch the beauty around me and enjoy the ride, but after a while I started to get very worried about several things. The water was getting rough, and I was concerned we wouldn’t make it back to the dock in time, if Jeff even knew where the dock was at all. I got really tense, worrying up a storm and clenching my chair as hard as I could.
Then, God spoke to me. “You’re not in control. There is nothing you will gain from worrying.” Almost immediately, I relaxed. I realized in that moment I could continue to worry and be miserable for the rest of the ride, or I could let go of my worry and enjoy the last few minutes I had getting to enjoy a rare activity that had been so much fun up until that point.
I decided Jeff knew what he was doing and it would be okay, but that’s not what made me calm down. What did was the realization that even if I was in control we would be no better off. I sure didn’t know where the dock was, and even if I did I didn’t know how to drive the boat. Then, I heard God’s voice again saying, “Much the same as my control over your life.” I was stunned.
It struck me as the perfect analogy. It’s so easy to be tense and worried when the waves toss around and make us uncomfortable. We can spend the entire ride fighting futilely against the waves, but when we trust the driver of the boat we can actually enjoy ourselves and the journey. Similarly, it is so easy to spend our entire lives tense and worried about the hardships and decisions we face, but when we accept that God has control and decide to let go we can actually enjoy life and its process.
It seems so simple, but it’s so often overlooked. We really gain nothing by worrying, and it only makes us tired. If we had control over half the things we worry about, we would mess them up. I’ve found that every time I gave up my worries and decided to trust God and his direction for my life I’ve ended up in a place far better than anything I could ever imagine. His simplest plans are far greater than my biggest dreams.
The tricky thing though is a lot of times people mistake trusting God for deciding not to do anything. Do everything you can! When facing a difficult situation or decision, trust God, but also do whatever you can to try to figure things out and get what you want. This way once you have done as much as you can do if you’re still in limbo you know that you have done your best and God will have to take it from there. God doesn’t ask us to lie down and let him fix everything. He asks us to partner with him in faith to get things done. This requires action on our parts!
Worry is hard. Trust is hard. Life is hard. God is so big. Trust him and see what happens to your worry. The clichéd saying is still true: “As faith increases, worry decreases.” What worry can you give to God today?