The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way? Proverbs 20:24
It’s about 7:15 in the morning. I am getting ready to chaperone a field trip, and honestly have already started dreading every minute of it. See, my creature of routine and habit that is Hunter, does not do well on field trips. Well, let me rephrase that. He does well, but only if every detail of the day goes exactly as planned.
The preparation for this field trip is no different, Hunter follows the rules. Great, right? Yes, and no. While you won’t find him breaking many rules, you also won’t see many “gray” areas when it comes to most things either. To Hunter everything is black or white. This means that the list of things he must take on said field trip must be followed exactly as written. Which also means he absolutely has to pack a coloring book, book to read, and crayons, and we absolutely can’t get to school one minute after 8.
“Hunter, this list is just suggestions of things you can take with you,” I say as I reason with him while he holds the sheet of paper from his teacher. “No, my teacher said it! We have to do what the paper says!” And so he begins to rush to pack his bag with all the things that were really only suggested, making sure not to miss one thing on the list. “And, it’s 7:31. We have to go-NOW! You said 7:30 we would leave!”
Again, a simple suggestion, until the clock begins to display 7:32, then 7:33…
This strict rule following continued throughout the morning as we had to go to breakfast first, as we had to ride on the second bus, as we had to do things exactly as planned. Exactly as the black and white paper said we should.
You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. Proverbs 19:21
I thought about rolling my eyes at the poor kid (and I may have actually done that). I thought of tearing up that set of rules and creating my own. Then I thought ahead to the meltdown that would occur, and as I sat next to the little boy still telling me what we had to do, I simply prayed: God, please give me the ability to just see Hunter’s black and white world today. Please let me enjoy this time with him no matter how demanding. Help me to just go with the flow!
The submission to my son’s plan continued in the midst of kicking on the floor during the Sunday service, as I had to once again ask God to help me give up my need to control my child’s out of control senses and emotions. Asking God to once again help me submit to his flow.
While Hunter is a child who can’t go with the flow because his body and his senses choose to do something different, I realize that I am an adult who has no idea how to go with the flow either!
I have an agenda, too. It’s not the one given to me by my teachers, or my literal black and white outlook on life, but rather my human desire to control every moment, to have complete control of my life, my day, my money, my schedule.
I have a very unrealistic agenda.
And, as one little brown-haired boy with glasses insisted I go with his flow, I also realized there is also another that calls me to go with His flow.
We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer. Proverbs 16:1
Yet, I still wake up every morning ready to carry out the plans I made for the day, daring anyone to stand in the way of what I need to accomplish. And, just as it was hard for Hunter to understand that all the activities that were planned were mere suggestions, I have the same problem letting go of my to-do list, my thoughts, my feelings, my plans.
How much different would my day look if I let God handle my to-do list? If I didn’t get bent out of shape if something doesn’t go my way? If I simply shrugged my shoulders and went with the flow?
How much different would the time I spend at home or on a field trip be if I woke up and uttered a prayer similar to the one I said on the school bus with Hunter? If I didn’t keep tabs on my time, and instead kept track of the moments with my kids? If I didn’t worry about the laundry, the dishes, or the dirty floors, and more about the Legos scattered on the kitchen table, and the girl coloring on that dirty floor.
How would my faith be changed if I just went with God’s flow instead of resisting the nudge to do what He asks? Instead of doubting when circumstances are hard? Instead of trying to control that which I truly have no control over?
What if I just learned to go with the flow?
I could let go of the urge to control the feelings of others.
I could spend a little more time just “being” with my kids, instead of manipulating every part of the day.
My morning would not be out of whack when one of those kids decides to go with his own flow.
I could handle the twist and turns of life with faith in God and His promises, and not doubt and anger.
All this by simply surrendering my flow, riding the waves, and going with His flow instead.