Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
I still remember her words today. A simple card with a Bible verse and her handwritten message, “Stop measuring outcomes.” It didn’t make sense to me at the time. What was I measuring? I had been walking with this friend on a regular basis and, over time, opened up to her about some of the pain I was feeling from miscarriages and the fear I had about becoming pregnant again. She hadn’t personally experienced my same pain, but she had felt pain and was confident the Lord prompted her to share those words with me during that time.
I soon realized that I was measuring outcomes. I was formulating everything to coincide with my plans, my agenda, my comfort,… and leaning on my own understanding. During that season the Lord really showed me what it looked like to fully trust in Him and His plans for our family.
If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’ve used a lot of parenting strategies and principles that have been effective in raising your children. I have too. We found success with sleep training, bottle weaning, blanket time, and self-control training. We’ve learned to structure our children’s days, meal plan for our families, budget for vacations, and make room for date nights. I thrive on strategic planning! But there are so many things beyond our control and our own understanding.
I have revisited these two verses from Proverbs countless times. What does it look like to trust in the Lord with all your heart? How do we learn to not rely on our own understanding?
- We have to get uncomfortable. I believe a good filter to know if it’s God (or just bad burritos) is recognizing your own discomfort. A lot of time trust looks like stepping into an unknown. Moses walked through the Red Sea, David hurled a stone at a giant, Paul discipled those he used to persecute. If your life seems safe, pray a dangerous prayer and ask God how He can make you uncomfortable. Since that season in my own life, trust has looked as simple as reaching out to a neighbor, leading a parenting class, or sharing my personal story of miscarriage with another mom walking the same road. I get nervous every time, and there is always an excuse for me to say ‘no’, but when I trust God to work out the details, He does it every time.
- We have to stay focused on Him. When reading the story of Jesus walking on the water, I’m reminded of Peter who boldly wants to step out and do the same. His faith tells him he can, but when he sees the waves he starts to sink. I can relate to Peter! Some mornings I wake up full of faith, but the waves of life come crashing down and I feel myself sinking (sometimes even before lunch.) Focusing on the waves is the same thing as measuring outcomes. We focus on the problems of life instead of on our Savior. Some waves seem impossible to ignore: peer pressure on your child, financial burdens, aging parents, but walking on water seemed just as impossible. We cannot trust our own understanding and abilities.
- Remember God’s grace. I still find myself measuring outcomes sometimes…weighing possibilities, focusing on worst-case scenarios. I can feel defeated at bedtime, not measuring up to my own personal expectations and falling short of the ideal Proverbs 31 woman. But my prayer is for God’s grace. We don’t deserve it, but I trust that He is pouring it out and filling in all the gaps I’m missing. And at the end of each day, I thank Him for these children He has trusted us with and I am reminded that as much as we love them, He loves them even more.
Trust in the Lord…in your parenting, in your marriage, and in all your life!
Blaire Johnson is a stay-at-home mom to four children ages 9, 7, 5 and 18 months. She and her husband, Travis, have been involved in the GFI ministry since 2008 and have led classes since 2012. They live in Mt Pleasant, South Carolina.