“The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit,
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established…
The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
Proverbs 16: 1-3, 9
The age-old question: Are our life paths are in our hands or God’s hands? Predetermined life or altered by our decisions? Nothing new is under the sun and it seems that Solomon was answering this question ages ago, too.
For years I’ve been an impossibly slow decision maker. Wrecked with worry that whatever choice I’m harboring will set my life on a fixed trajectory towards a one day demise where I’ll sit in a rocking chair lamenting the course of my life because of that one decision I got wrong. Decision fatigue? Its so real.
Pair that with a culture that is highly committed to it’s opinions (mom wars?) and my heart, already prone to the overthinking that is common to anxiety, is walloped with an equation that can just about crush a girl. The problem with this fretting is that it does not take into consideration God Himself. It does not acknowledge Him in my ways; fretting does not believe God will establish my steps. Instead, my planning my ways in torment leaves God’s goodness and providence entirely out of the equation.
We face a thousand decisions in our one lifetime. Heck, sometimes even in one day! Job transitions, relationships, where to invest our time and energy, how to spend money, and it’s an inexhaustible list.
I can be equally as overwhelmed by the minutia as by giant decisions… (whether to respond to my daughters in firmness or gentleness, in particular, comes up at least sixteen dozen times a day.)
Recently after a particularly normal day, struggling with the fear birthed out of decisions from parenting, I grabbed a quick glass of wine at a back table with a friend of mine (is that a luxury or what? Wine and a friend!). I laid out to her how these things that ate me up, I told her how I fall in bed every night rehashing my responses about allthethings. She listened, and then offered wisdom in the form of a question, her words dripping with what Solomon penned.
“What if you just did a day without overworking it? What if you woke up, prayed and committed your day to God, asking for His help and guidance in your moment by moment, and then move forward? Don’t worry about what’s down the road, just live here in the moment of parenting, knowing you won’t get it perfect, but its given to God?”
Over and over and over in the book of Proverbs, we’re given principles to live by. The starting point is humility and reverent awe of who God is (“The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom” on repeat, and we need to hear that as many times as it’s written), and moving on about committing our plans to Him. Leaning not on our own understanding. Acknowledging Him in all things. These are my foundation for decisions, big and small, being reminded that work, children, time, money, energy, my home, all of these are the Lord’s to direct. Give Him my day and then live it.
I know I can’t answer any huge looming questions in one little blog post, but these words, preached from John Durham at Highland Baptist Church in Waco, on these very verses brought such deep freedom to me:
“Our plans and choices are ours, but what happens is determined and fixed by God. I am absolutely free and absolutely in the hands of God.”
Praise God, He is for us.
Walk wisely? Absolutely.
Pray, pray, pray for wisdom, talk to wise people, saturate our minds with His word to inform our thinking. Commit our ways to Him, plan our ways, and rest in the truth that He establishes our path, He makes our path straight, all of our days are in the hands of a good and loving Father.