I’ve always loved predictability and organization. I’m one of those people that needs to have a plan for everything, and each section of the plan needs to have multiple bullet points of information so that I feel like I didn’t miss anything.
Sure, I can be spontaneous sometimes. I love random adventures now and then. The most spontaneous thing I’ve ever done was deciding to go on a cave tour by myself in Colorado this summer. But when it comes to large decisions or events, the four words that literally make me sick to my stomach are “we’ll figure it out.”
Predictability means I have control, that I know exactly what’s going to happen. Of course, sometimes the unexpected happens. That’s why your plan allows you to have a backup plan in case something goes wrong. Plus, it never hurts to have a backup plan for your backup plan.
I’ve had stomach complications my whole life, which leaves me feeling nauseous and not able to eat a lot of the time. There are stretches of time where there are almost no issues at all, but then there are also stretches of time where I’ve been sick for over a year with little recovering. The one thing that makes this worse is stress, whether it’s from toxic relationships, school, conflict, or major life events. So, if I can control my circumstances, I can control the stress in my life and feel better.
But then something happens. Things you didn’t predict. Or even if you did predict it, no matter how hard you try to run from it or handle it as healthily as possible, it seems it’s unavoidable.
The stress of having every member in your house as a college student on extremely different school schedules. The concern about your weight as you watch the numbers on the scale get smaller over the weeks due to not being able to eat. The hurt you feel from your first real encounter with death when you discover your dog died overnight from complications of a seizure cluster. The anxiousness and fear you experience in unforeseen life circumstances. All of this, on top of school and a new job, was starting to leave me feeling overwhelmed. Then I remembered something.
During my time in Colorado, I reached a point of exhaustion due to my stomach and being homesick. I remember sitting in church one Sunday morning as I listened to the guest speaker talk about the struggles he had faced during his life. He had reached a point where he was exhausted, and he was honest in sharing that he was angry with God. He argued and vented his feelings to God, pouring all his frustration out onto Him. The speaker went on to say that shortly after this, God simply asked him, “I know you are tired, exhausted, and in pain. I know there is a long journey ahead of you. But can you trust me, one day at a time?”
I went home with my head swimming in thoughts. My stomach was more unpredictable than ever during this time, and trusting God to get me through it one day at a time seemed like too much to handle. At that moment, one day at a time was too challenging.
But then realized I could still trust Him, only one hour at a time. I didn’t know what the next day was going to bring for me with my health, or even the next twelve hours. But in my mind, one hour at a time seemed much more manageable. Not only that, but it allowed me to fully rely on God for the first time in quite a while.
My perspective on the situation changed. On the mornings when I did wake up sick, I remembered that God would give me the strength to make it to the next hour. The first few days were challenging as I had to adjust my mindset, but pretty soon that trust grew into trusting Him one day at a time.
I am not saying that we shouldn’t trust God all of the time. I believe it’s one of the most important things we can do, and that being able to do so strengthens the relationship more than we could ever imagine. But I also believe that as humans, we are naturally faulted in that we second-guess God’s reliability. It’s hard for us to trust in something we have absolutely no control over, and if it’s something that stretches on for long periods of time, there’s much uncertainty with it. For that reason, I had a hard time trusting God more than an hour at a time.
Yet, I had to remind myself of every challenge or bad thing I had encountered in the past leading up to this point. Had I not relied on God to get me through those times? And there I was, sitting on the other end of those challenges. If God helped me through those times, He would help me again.
I believe Psalm 9:10 describes this perfectly: “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” In these times of stress, uncertainty, and challenging life circumstances, I turn my head to the throne and keep my sight on Him. He has yet to fail me, and today won’t be the beginning.
Whatever you may be experiencing, whether it’s the stress of school, work, family, finances, relationships, or any other things, you can remember that you don’t have to go through it alone.
All we can do is trust God — sometimes one hour at a time.