I make plans that I hope will please God because I honestly desire to honor Him and help others. Meanwhile, God patiently waits for me to surrender completely to Him and learn how to live His way, not mine.
I have been very sick for a long time. In hopes I was progressively getting better, I pursued a coveted position with an elite teaching organization and got so close to making the final cut. So close, making the second to last cut in the top twelve percent, but not close enough. My health and economic status were the deterrents. Regardless, it was God's hand that prevented me from making that final cut. It would have been disastrous for the organization, students, and myself had I made that final cut.
Wanting to be helpful to others using my teaching skills, I made a few teaching videos and a resource website and planned to make more videos to help parents, teachers, and students in the early stages of the stay-at-home orders associated with COVID-19. I took advantage of less-sick days to work on this to feel like I was still contributing something.
I continued doing things my way though my health started to significantly decline again the week before I found out I didn't make the cut with TFA. I applied to an online teaching job and got to the final stage. My computer crashed the day of my final stage. I was going after this job though my health was still declining, and at least 80% of the time, I cannot talk! I try to talk but have so much inflammation in my esophagus, bronchial tubes, and lungs that I can hardly breathe, and I shake and sound like a goat more than a human. It's quite humorous but also alarming and frustrating.
Now in week three of being able to eat less than 20 foods including salt, sugar, and expensive butter from grass-fed cows, I finally submit. I feel like a warrior in battle finally dropping my sword and head in defeat. Though I know submission to God is never defeat but is always victory, I still feel defeated. Perhaps because I didn't win against God doing things my way. A truer picture of my reality than that of a defeated warrior is that of a child who's lost her way in a large field and is all alone. As she hears her father's voice, she jumps up and down, and waving her arms she runs to her father she sees nearing in the distance. Human ego fights against our relationship with our heavenly Father.
As a kid, I always took great pride in being one of the fastest runners in my school. For several years a boy in the same grade shared the unofficial title of "fastest runner" with me. I was proud because I was one of the smallest in our grade, and he was one of the tallest. I ran with all my might, not knowing about my heart problems, asthma, or the fact that one isn't supposed to black out while running. My vision would go black and my head numb every time I ran; I knew no differently so assumed this experience was the same for everyone while running.
I've always generalized--thinking if it's this way for me that it must be this same way for others. As a kid running, I never stopped to consider warning flags. Now that I am about to be forty, I am learning, very slowly and stubbornly, to pay attention to warnings in life and to stop running when it's detrimental.
Running from God is always detrimental but can be an excellent teacher. I have learned a lot while running from God that I am thankful He will use for my good. My warnings of worsening health, crashing computers, and closing doors all told me to stop running my own way. I'm tired of running. Jesus tells his disciples in Matthew 11:30 that his yoke is easy and His burden light. He didn't say there was no burden with Him but rather conveyed that it is a natural burden they would be able to bear. I'm realizing it's neither fruitful nor heroic to continue to attempt to bear an unbearable burden.
God's design for life is very doable. Often we strive to achieve goals we think will give us worth. What is the end result of our striving to prove our worth to our heavenly Father? The fact is that we are all dust seeking our own way, yet He loves us enough to give us His purpose and all His care. Why do we run from Him instead of to Him? In Him we have everlasting life of eternal value. Apart from Him we struggle to design and pursue our own significance. I pray we all learn sooner than later to run to God and desire His design for our lives.