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Divine Disruption

“The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?”

(Proverbs 20:24, NLT)

I read that above verse this morning, and I had to reread it. The verse seemed to sum up my week because coming back to college after two months of living at home again was like deja vu of coming to college for the first time. Feelings came up that I did not understand, and the loudness of the quiet in my new dorm room suddenly came roaring in ways I did not anticipate. Yet God also reminded me of His goodness this week. He reminded me that He is my companion in loneliness, comfort in quietness, and guide in unsettledness. For this, I am grateful, and today, I am especially grateful for the opportunity to share with you how this week brought perspective in my life on Proverbs 20:24:

As I was anticipating the Saturday morning drive back to campus, I began making rounds around our cozy Alpharetta home on Thursday, grabbing things that needed to make the trip back with me to Nashville. I thought I had everything, and after squeezing in all the extra quality time I could with my family in those last two days, I found myself back on campus before I knew it. Long story short, all the freshmen at Vanderbilt switched rooms between semesters, so I found myself in a foreign room with boxes to unpack and a determination to make the four beige walls feel a bit more like home. I thought I had packed everything well to come back, and I did pack everything, except for two things: my Bible and journal. I had managed to remember everything but the two things I use every morning for the first hour of my day. Those two items stayed unintentionally tucked in the cabinet where they have sat for the past two months, waiting for me to grab them and sit with a big mug of coffee by the fire as I open them and spend time in their pages. After being panicked trying to find them in my dorm room, slightly chuckling as I realized I had left them, and then reassured by calling my mom and asking her to send them to me, I went about my day, and the next morning, I used the extra Bible and journal I had brought with me during my quiet time. This pattern continued, and I have used the interim ones all week. It was not until a conversation with a sweet friend that I realized God might be trying to teach me something in this. As we joked about whether we might be reading into the situation too much or if God loves the little details so much that He chose to work through this, these words came out of my mouth before I even had time to think them: “I think God might be teaching me that it is okay to be disrupted.” 

For me, the first hour of my day is automatically built-in to be time with the Lord. After I pull myself out of bed to wash my face and brush my teeth, I grab my Bible and journal and make my way back to a comfy place to journal my prayers and read His Word. However, lately, I had felt convicted in my heart that my obsession with the routine of my mornings was diminishing the rest God had planned for me in those moments. In my heart, I know that exactly how many hours I spend in the Word or praying or any of the things often associated with “religion” have no eternal consequences, yet I often act like they do instead of recognizing the insane simplicity of the Gospel: God only asks for our hearts. He doesn’t ask for a specific agenda of our time with Him or for a perfect church attendance record; He simply asks us to bring our hearts to Him. My saying this is not to diminish prayer, journaling, church, reading the Bible, or any faith practice! In fact, God invites us into these times with Him as a way to draw near to His love, for our benefit and good. That is why I get up in the mornings and spend time journalling and reading. However, recently, I have lost sight of God’s purpose for these practices by prioritizing my routine over the rejuvenation He has for me in His word and in time of prayer. By leaving my Bible and journal at home, He reminded me that it is not in the routine of “religion” that I find my salvation or worth; I can and will only ever find salvation and worth in His Son’s sacrifice on the Cross and resurrection three days later. The same is true for you today too. 

Much like the disruption of my routine by leaving my Bible and journal at home, my entire first week back at college felt like a whirlwind disruption, a shock to my system. By being home for more than two months, I had forgotten how truly loud the quiet is and how lonely so much alone time can make me feel. By returning back to a room instead of a home and the quiet far more often than the loudness of living with my family, I remembered how much clearer I can see my dependency on Him here at school. I remembered that there are times I prayed for disruption like leaving home and coming to an unsettled place precisely because I wanted to feel closer to God. A funny thing I am learning about God is that He often answers our prayers in bolder ways than we imagine He will, and the return to campus was perhaps a bolder awakening to my dependency on Him than I had planned. But, friend, I cannot explain how grateful I am for a God who answers prayers. How incredible is it that the Creator of the Universe cares enough about us to be attuned to our desires before we even speak them in prayer? How amazing is it that the Lord loves us enough to “direct our steps” as a perfect Father does for His beloved children? This week taught me something that I want to leave with your heart and mine as we go back into our lives: God’s direction of our steps often comes in the form of disruption to our routines. In comfort, our dependence on Him can easily become clouded and distant, yet when we come to an unsettling place, this disruption only highlights our deep dependency on our Creator. For some, the idea of being dependent on Him is terrifying; it is often easier to trust in our own plans rather than believe in His plans, which might involve disrupting our long-loved routines. This fear of surrendering to His plans gripped me for my entire life up until about two years ago. Since then, however, I cannot shout loud enough the freedom that comes by letting go the attempt to “understand everything along the way.” I have learned that if the Creator is directing my steps, any disruption He has planned for me in this life on Earth is going to be for my good and His glory, even if this disruption is difficult. This story and the freedom available for grabs is the same for you. He promises us that He has “plans to prosper [us] and not to harm [us], plans to give [us] a hope and a future.” We are invited to walk in these plans, confident that His disruption to our routine of “religion” is for our good. All praises be to Him!

With love, C

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