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Put down to pick up

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. (Proverbs 2:5-6)

Are you someone who is always musing over this plan or the next, not really able to let go of the reins? I think there are more of us out there than we'd like to admit! We spend our energies ruminating on the stuff we'd do well to let go of while we don't quite spend enough time or energies on getting the clarity of heart, emotions, and mind we so desperately need. When we are constantly trying to "work the plan", we don't take time to actually find out of the plan needs any "alteration" as God sees it! In scripture we find all kinds of people who have tried to figure out the plan for their "needed fix" all on their own. The same result is apparent - they fail miserably! Look at Adam and Eve. Plan A was to listen to God's plan - stay away from three of Good & Evil. Plan B was to just have a bite of the fruit of that tree. Plan C was to deal with the shame and guilt of having veered from Plan A! Judas Iscariot found himself in quite a fix when he decided money and popularity was more important than loyalty and love. To his dismay, what he found was neither money nor popularity soothed the heart, nor did it set the mind at rest. His fix for his fix? A tree and a rope! Not the best fix, if you ask me.

The command to us is to trust God and stop trying to fix your fix on our own. You have probably heard the old quote from John Steinbeck, "The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray." This is so true! If you were ever assigned this book in school, you will recall the story of two migrant workers, constantly on the move during the Great Depression - constantly on the move, always just marginally escaping the next great fate, until one day, the "plan" just doesn't work anymore. Steinbeck tells it well - we can fix our fix only so well, then one day we find our fix is no longer fixable! Our plans might promote the idea of planning for the unknown, but do we really "know" what cannot be known? The key to our learning to rely upon the "right" fix for our fix is in learning which voices we will listen to. Adam and Eve chose to listen to the intriguing voice of desire and want. Job chose to listen to the consoling and corroborating voices of his companions. Judas Iscariot chose to listen to the voice of deception. Most of the "fixes" we find ourselves trying to fix are just because we listen to the wrong "voices". Listen to God's voice - the still small voice of God. No other "voice" will ring as true, give as much clarity, or unfold the course before us as will his. How do we become proficient in listening to his voice?

First, I think we have to read what our writer has just said - stop all the "figuring" on your own - learn to trust God with the details. These two verses actually work together. As we come to a place of being open to God, we find it also includes us shutting down the planning we constantly do in our minds. I am not suggesting we become empty-headed, unthinking creatures. Far from it - but we don't have to work out all the details on our own. God's desire is for us to bring the plan to him, lay it all out before him, then listen carefully to the many ways in which he speaks to us about those plans. In laying out our plan before the one who directs our steps and keeps us on track, we are actually allowing the alterations in the plans, but only if we are open to hearing about those "alterations". These "alterations" are pointed out as we read God's Word, hear a few lines from a song, or perhaps listen to the wisdom of a good biblical teacher. In hearing, we open up to the "change in plans" which will get us and keep us on course. Adam and Eve "heard" God's voice in the garden - not seeking to punish them, but seeking to bring them into a place of restoration. Job "heard" God's voice, not in the counsel of these friends, but in the talking out of his circumstances with none other than God himself. Judas Iscariot probably never did get to the place of listening to God's voice - for the voice of deception took him all the way to the end of his life. Sad thing indeed.

We have to lay down our "fix" in order to really embrace the right "fix for our fix". When I have broken a piece of ceramic, I can try to put all the pieces back together, seeing how they all "fit", but until I put them down, seeking the "glue" which will bind them together again, I cannot ever hope the pieces will come together. It is in putting down the pieces that I find the "fix" which will bring the pieces into right alignment again. God's plan is for us to lay down our lives - all the best laid plans - in order to see how he designed the pieces to fit. In laying them down, we are free to embrace how he desires to connect them together. Just sayin!

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