By Emily Conrad
I recently faced an important decision with no moral right or wrong to guide my choice. I simply had to pick: do one thing or do another. But which would be better? Without being given a glimpse of the future, I had no way to know, and I was afraid I would choose wrong.
I prayed about it alone and with my husband. I enlisted friends across the country and in my church to pray. I listened to the counsel of friends and family. Still, fear seemed destined to loop my uncertainty in infinite circles.
On one level I believed my mom, a Christian, who trusted God would work it out when she said, “Make the best decision you can, and whatever you decided, that will be the right choice.” On another level, it was still my responsibility to make the best decision. But how could I? I have no way to know, even now, how my decision will play out through the rest of my life.
Thinking I would be at peace when I finally made a choice, I went with the option I and my most trusted family members leaned toward most often.
I sent off my decision. I was committed.
Suddenly, I couldn’t stop thinking I’d made the wrong decision. What had I done? Did I need to undo it? Could I even undo it anymore? What if I made the wrong choice? What if this is bad for me?
I am reading the book Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P. Freeman. In a chapter discussing Mary and Martha, Emily (great name, right?) suggests that we have a choice: either please God or trust God.
I can’t tell you how profound that was to me. I had always thought the two went hand in hand. I lived like I could do both, and I had approached this decision as if it were my duty to do both. I needed to please God first by making the right decision. After I’d succeeded at that, I could trust God with the outcome.
But through the story of Mary and Martha, I saw what Emily Freeman was saying. Mary was trusting Jesus to take care of their needs. Martha was trying to please Jesus by taking care of those needs herself. The two mentalities are different and do not mesh.
A Mary mentality opens the door for God to work. A Martha mindset sends us in crazy circles trying to get it all right, terrified of what will happen if we don’t.
That’s exactly where I was: terrified and unable to handle all the pressure I’d put on myself.
I’m 5’5” with shoulders what… fourteen inches across? My shoulders cannot carry the weight of “what if.” They can’t carry the weight of fear or the pressure of an unknown future.
This was a load never meant for me.
Fears of the unknown and the future, of the unforeseen consequences our decisions will have down the line—this load wasn’t meant for you, either.
The wonder of God’s grace to us is that we don’t have to get it all right to please Him. We don’t have to please Him before we can trust Him. In fact, the cure for fear is the same as the formula for pleasing God: trusting Him.
He’s the one who makes our paths straight. He’s the one who knows the future and has a plan that is entirely and gloriously out of our hands.
He created something out of nothing, He values you and wants a relationship with you—a relationship where He asks for nothing more than that you trust Him.
I finally found peace in my decision when I laid the load of fear down at His feet and refused to pick it back up again.
If you’re carrying your own load of fear today about decisions that impact your future, I hope you’ll do the same.
When we trust this way, what is said in Proverbs 31:25 is also true of us: She is clothed with strength and honor, and she can laugh at the time to come. (NET)
Notice, the verse doesn’t say she clothed herself. It says she is clothed almost like someone else did it for her. Our God does this for us, clothing us for whatever the future holds as we trust Him.
What verses or resources has God used to help you as you faced a big decision? Please share!
Emily Conrad lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two rescue dogs. She loves Jesus and enjoys road trips to the mountains. Her debut women’s fiction novel is underway with Pelican Book Group. Connect with her online through her blog at emilyconradauthor.com.
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