In February, I was setting up my temporary office for church. I’m unashamed to say that I’m extremely methodical when it comes to my space, especially when I have to function in it. As I was laying gift boxes on tables, I texted one of my church members this exact message:
“Don’t forget the black tablecloths”.
I walked around the office and unpacked more boxes for the next 15 minutes waiting to hear the "ding" of a text notification. That individual didn’t respond to my text quick enough, so I just assumed that they forgot (which is not abnormal). In a panic, I went to my car and pulled out a wrinkled tablecloth that I had to steam.
I was completely over it because the tablecloth that was readily available wasn't the tablecloth that I wanted to use. About an hour after I laid the freshly steam black tablecloth (that I didn’t want to use) on the product table, the church member walked through the door with the glorious tablecloth that I requested. I was excited and tired all at the same time. I worked myself into a frenzy all because I was impatient and I interpreted silence abandonment.
The church member looked at the table that I put together in a rush and said, “Why didn’t you just wait for me to get here? Oh, and where did you find another black tablecloth?!?”
I told the person that I’m always prepared for people to not come through for me. The church member rolled their eyes, hugged me, and helped me fix the product table the way I wanted. All smiles.
All of my strategically plans come with a bonus offer – my plan B. My lack of trust in individuals has taught me to over plan in preparation. This has worked well in my business and my ministry… but it hasn’t worked well in my relationship with God.
The same way I doubted if the church member would complete a simple task, I also doubt if God will really come through for me. So, what do I do? I over plan. I try to process all possible scenarios so that I’ll be prepared if God doesn’t come through like he promised. It sounds ridiculous, but guess what? You do it too.
God allowed me to be immature in my faith concerning various facets of my life for an era. Then, something shifted. My plan B’s were no longer allowed. In my humble opinion, God started acting like the church member I mentioned above. I would pray with the expectation of a quick confirmation and then God wouldn’t respond. After enduring weeks and months of silence in prayer concerning specific issues, God would literally manifest his hand of provision and direction after I took it upon myself to bring his will to pass without him. Read this again.
I felt so convicted. I knew I should have believed God the first time. Thankfully, those seasons of testing built my faith in God and weakening my allegiance to logic. This year, the enemy set so many traps for me. Even individuals that I assumed had my back, turned on me publicly. I used the weapon of prayer and weeping, but something happened to my heart. I didn’t pray for God to avenge me… I just prayed for strength to endure. I came to these conclusions:
It doesn’t mean if anyone likes me.
It doesn’t matter if no one respects me.
It doesn’t matter if I have to walk alone.
It doesn’t matter if I'm blamed for something I didn't do.
It doesn't matter if they never get my side of story.
It doesn't matter if they never accept the truth.
It doesn’t matter if I have to leave people behind
I refuse to allow the enemy to become my god through bitterness, grief, or disappointment.
I believe the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego speaks to my processing:
Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought before him. When they were brought in, Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?"
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn't, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up."
Daniel 3:13-18 NLT