I was wide awake at 1am last night. I’d been in bed since 11. I had read a few chapters of a great Jodi Picoult novel, kissed my husband good night, peed twice, a cool breeze was coming through the window, and had freshly washed sheets on my bed. I had done everything a 42 year old woman should have to do to get to sleep right? Apparently not. My mind was swirling with some decisions, some questions, frustrations, wonderings, and I had, what was to me, a super random thought. “My ways are not your ways, and my thoughts are not your thoughts.” I knew that was a verse, but at 1am I had to reach my phone and Google those words and sure enough, they were in Isaiah chapter 55. I rolled over and said thank you God for that reminder; although it was definitely not a new revelation to me as I’m quite clear on the fact that I’m not God. I’m sure you can guess that reading that one verse didn’t satisfy me, nor did it put me to sleep. Why did I have that thought at that time of the day? I got up and went downstairs, and sat down to read the whole chapter of Isaiah 55, and not just those few verses. Cozy in my chair, blanket on my lap with a lamp on next to me, my phone goes off with a Facetime request from my husband upstairs; “What are you doing up?”……Ummmm, God has something to say to me, and I need to figure out what it is so I can get some sleep tonight!
Why was I supposed to be reading Isaiah 55? The words that came to me in bed were from verse 9, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” I believe that if it’s in the Bible, it is absolute truth, and we are meant to understand what it’s saying to us. Listening to God means reading His Word. So often I find myself “venting,” or “sharing,” instead of praying and listening (reading the Bible). Now, I definitely find value in sharing and venting with my trusted family and friends, but one thing that became clearer in my chair at 1:30am is that isn’t what gives me true nourishment. It helps make me feel better in the moment, which is important, but I need more than that in order to live my best life; the life that God wants for me. With those realizations in mind, I sat there asking God to clarify what He wants me to understand, as I read the chapter over and over. Here’s what I learned:
- I am not going to understand God’s reasons.
- His ways are still best.
- He is forgiving.
- He continuously calls us back to Him when we go astray.
- God’s plan is always good.
In a nutshell what became clear is that self-reliance doesn’t work. God-reliance does. Self-reliance keeps me spinning and spinning trying to do better, do more, work harder, think faster, go farther. That gets me places for sure, but it doesn’t get me to where God wants me; and since I believe that God has the BEST plan in mind for me, getting “somewhere” isn’t where I want to be. I want to be/go/do only what God wants of me. So I choose God-reliance. I choose to believe WHO the Bible says He is, that “the way He works surpasses the way I work, and the way God thinks is beyond the way I think.” (vs.9)
So, when you are wide awake thinking and worrying and stewing, know that you are not the only one, and know that to solve that, you must seek to LISTEN. Allow the Word to wash over your concerns, your thoughts, and your future. Again, and again, and again.