Once upon a time last week, I was driving in rivers of traffic when I saw two people on the shoulder of the road. Their two cars had been in a fender bender and they were standing next to each other in the open, talking. What caught me was that they were smiling at each other like they were best friends, like one had just told an inside joke that they both instantly got. I found myself smiling to myself and wondering, what if this is the beginning of their life together, literally smashing into each other’s worlds?
Days later, the moment filters through my thoughts reminding me how things work out in mysterious ways for our benefit.
If we believe in a God that loves us, or in a universe that’s conspiring to give us the things our hearts desire, then we must believe that everything is working out for the good, even if we can’t immediately see how.
For years I’ve had a saying dry-erased marked on my mirror. “Everything always works out for me.” Now, did everything always look or feel like it was working out for me? Hell no. Most of the things I long for have taken waaaaaaaaay longer to flourish than I’d expected. Wouldn’t it be nice if life just went perfectly the way you want?
I used to think so, but now I’d give a definite No.
Once, I was scheduled to move to Italy but found out at the last minute that it wasn’t going to work. My dream, since I traveled there in my college years, had been to go back and live, so naturally I was a tad pissed. Lo and behold, I found out a month or so later that the job in Italy was shutting down and the employees were going back home.
This situation would have been very stressful for me, not to mention disappointing. So instead, I ended up moving to California where I finally got treatment for my eating disorder, which was a huge step towards my recovery.
A blessing in disguise.
There are countless other situations where my first reaction was anger and stress. Over time, I realized that every hiccup and every shut door, had worked out better than my original plan. I can only imagine God, “Dear child, I am working this out in your best interest! I can see much more than you can. Let me do my job.”
Not only do we want to be in control of our lives, but we’re also taught a healthy level of skepticism. Culture teaches us to question and to look for proof.
But deep down we want to trust.
Trust is a vital quality and without it we tend to feel lost in the world, like a ship with no port, drifting aimlessly under a vast expanse of sky.
Perhaps the most important person you can trust is YOU. You can trust that no matter what happens, you’re able to deal with it. You don’t need all the information, or to plan out in detail the next ten years of our lives. You can address hiccups when they happen, like adjusting the sails on the boat when the wind changes course.
Change is terrifying without trust. But with trust, change is an exciting new adventure.
When we trust that we can handle what the ocean brings, it lavishes a sense of power upon us. Not the power of control, but the power of freedom and the power of self, no matter what the circumstance.
This sense of power is fantastic, but the next step is to trust something larger than us. If we constantly feel as though the ocean, the sky, and every creature of the deep are against us, there’s a point when we give up. We become exhausted in our vigilance, and tired of fighting and dealing with the ocean’s obstacles.
It seems much easier if we view the world as a place that wants to help us, that’s conspiring to assist us on our journey.
If you believe in God, the universe, or something else, trust that (God, for me) really does have your best interest in mind. He sees all the way down the line. He knows what’s best for you, knows what lessons are vital to learn, knows how we are capable of crafting beauty from pain. He may blow the wind differently but it’s for our protection and because he’s steering us towards what we truly want.
Life may not go as planned or be easy breezy, but it can be great, grand, and wonderful. Adjusting the sails can be part of our great adventure.
When our original plans don’t work out, we can trust that something better is in store. When Columbus got lost, he discovered America. Let’s trust that we will also discover some amazing, new shore.
Trust in yourself. Trust in “God.” Things are working out best for you.
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Photo: ethermoon via Flickr