I looked at my Excel budgeting sheet in disgust. I knew I felt and heard the Lord leading me to stay here in Michigan after graduating from my Master of Public Health program this past April. And yet, after calculating how much money I had coming in and going out this summer, the numbers showed me I had $200 to spend on summer housing.
That didn’t make me feel very secure.
Days prior, I’d turned down a housing option because it didn’t feel like the right fit for me, but I had yet to find something else. Given the wonderful community here at Antioch, I was surrounded by people who let me know I could crash with them as I figured things out, so I never felt stranded. But I had to find something.
After sending some emails, I got connected to a series of people, and I followed one lead in particular with a person I’ll call Renee. Renee and I spoke over the phone, she listened to me tell my story, and we determined we would meet in person. We did not specify payment, but before we got off the phone she confidently stated, “I’m sure we can find something fair that works.” When we met in person shortly after, we learned a bit more about each other, discussed schedules, and she gave me a tour of her (super cute!) space. Since we hadn’t yet discussed payment in detail, I asked her what specific numbers she had in mind.
After pausing for a brief moment, she looked me in the eye and said, “How does $200 sound for the summer?”
I probably don’t need to tell you that I thought $200 sounded great.
Have you ever read Psalm 37? I’m working on memorizing it. (Feel free to randomly quiz me when you see me around. #Accountability). I’m up to verse nine right now, and within just a few verses, the biggest theme I’m getting is:
Psalm 37:3 directs us to, “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.” So basically: #TrustGodAndChill.
Trusting God requires me to let go of whatever control I am trying to maintain. Letting go requires me to not worry. And Psalm 37 does not mince words on anxiety:
“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret - it leads only to evil.”
So I can let go of worry, or welcome evil. I'd like to choose the former. Right now, for me “letting go” means staying in Michigan where God has called me to be for this season, though I'd expected to return to the East Coast. “Letting go” means not looking for a full-time job so I can focus on entrepreneurship. “Letting go” meant turning down an available housing option that logically may have worked, but wasn’t where God's peace led me.
Letting go, for me, has meant taking steps forward without any certainty of specific logistics - and that’s scary.
Don't get me wrong - planning is good, and necessary. But I cannot let my fear of the unknown lead me to trusting myself to figure things out, instead of letting go of the reins and trusting God. Fear leads to worry. But letting go means not fretting (which Google defines as: being constantly or visibly worried or anxious). I don’t do this perfectly. By any means. There were times in the past two months when I felt an unexplainable peace - I mentally knew things would work out. And other times when my pillowcase became my handkerchief and my sister patiently listened to me externally process long lists of “What-If” scenarios over the phone.
But God stepped in and provided beyond whatever I could imagine or ask, calming those worries.
This month we celebrated Father’s Day. And in this month, I experienced the heart of God as Father in a way I’d previously not known as deeply. As Father, He has taken on the responsibility of providing my needs, connecting me to the right opportunities, and leading me to where I need to go. And as Father, He also takes on the responsibility of teaching me, correcting me, and disciplining me to look more like Him. More like Jesus who trusted His Father to the point of dying a gruesome death.
What does letting go look like practically? For me, it looked like this: talking to God.
That’s it. No formula, no strategy. As things came up, I informed God of what was happening:
“Wait, what? I only have $200 dollars for housing?!”
“Uh...I have a quarter tank of gas right now.”
“Um...I need a job…” (Sidenote, come visit me at the Starbucks in Briarwood Mall!).
All that is to say: just be real with the Lord. Tell Him what’s going on. Don’t say what you think He wants to hear, or what you’ve been trained to say using "Christianese" language. Tell Him what you would tell your best friend.
He'll find ways to make sure you hear Him, and as He responds and provides, step by step, you will learn how to let go and not fret. #TrustGodAndChill.