God planned for our lives to be full of adventure. In order for us to live that adventurous life, we have to believe He can see where we are going and that He knows the best way to get us there. We don't have to know it all or depend on just ourselves. Today I explore some reasons why we should not lean to our own understanding.
We will never be tall enough to navigate ourselves to our destination
Think of walking with a child through a crowd of people going to the ice cream shop. All the child can see is the backs and legs of people in front of him, the sidewalk if he looks down, and the sky when he looks up. You, as a tall person, can see all that he sees, plus you can see how to navigate to your destination. If he holds your hand and trust you, you arrive at the ice cream shop with the least amount of fuss and aggravation. However, if the child try's to go his way based on what he can see, it is harder and more time consuming to get there. He can't see the obstacles or dangers in his way. He's not prepared for the twist and turns, the stops and go's of the busy street. And going his way, he'll miss the toy shop you plan to visit as a surprise to him.
As God's children on earth, we will never be tall enough to navigate ourselves to our destination. No matter how much understanding, knowledge and wisdom we gain, it is only partial and incomplete. It is in our best interest to hold on to his hand and trust him.
Our perspective shouldn't always be trusted.
Another reason to lean not to our own understanding, is our perspective shouldn't always be trusted. Perspective can be affected by our emotions, hunger, how much sleep we've had and even if the sun is shining!
In recent e-mail from Mark Chironna, he talks about perception and cognitive distortions. He uses Elijah running from Jezebel as an example;
"Remember, Elijah had called down fire from heaven on Mount Carmel. He had destroyed the prophets of Baal. Then, all of a sudden, at the threat of Jezebel, he ran away like a whipped puppy. He knew the Heaven-Splitting Force of God’s Spirit. After all Elijah had done for the nation of Israel, how could he think that Yahweh would let Jezebel take his life?
Well, he was a man of “like passions” just like you and me. He was also wired for danger, just like you and me. And he was in a moment following great victory, yet he was also quite vulnerable because of that great victory (just like you and me—it happens to all of us). Internally, he let his guard down. At that point, his brain went into high fear mode—while the energy drained from him after the adrenaline rush of what happened at the showdown against Baal on Carmel.
He was vulnerable to making connections in his head, based on suggestions from the powers of darkness, that he would normally never would have connected. This wasn’t the first time Jezebel had wanted to take Elijah out. She wasn’t a nice person and she hadn’t changed..
Elijah was vulnerable, his mind went into overdrive and he made overly-simplified and false assumptions, because he had forgotten to include God in his thought processes. He experienced distortions in his cognition. His perspective got jaded by his pain and weariness. His perspective impacted his outlook. He was falling prey to distorted thinking." (to learn more about Dr. Chironna go to https://www.markchironna.com/about )
The problem with this kind of situation is we don't realize our thinking is distorted. Solomon, the writer of the proverb was the wisest man that ever lived. In other verses, he encourages us to pursue wisdom, seek understanding and get knowledge. Yet here, he tells us not to rely on our own but trust in Gods. That doesn't mean we throw our own understanding out the window, it just means we trust Gods understanding more than our own. In all his wisdom, Solomon understood there are times where we can't trust our own perceptions of a situation. You know those times when we feel like God has let us down, that He didn't keep His promise to us, chances are we are falling prey to distorted thinking just like Elijah did. That is why we cling to who He is and what He says even when our situations don't line up with that. In every situation we face, we can trust in His love for us and His goodness toward us
...and the adventure begins
I talked about learning to trust in the Lord with all your heart in my last blog. Leaning not to your own understanding is part of that learning experience. We recognize that we aren't seeing the whole picture and even what we are seeing may be distorted in some ways. So, we grab a hold of His hand and let Him lead us. We experience the wonder of having peace and joy in situations where we would normally be worried. We sense His delight in us and begin to notice expressions of it. A sunset painted just for you to see, a compliment from a stranger, a new idea that you weren't smart enough to think of, a problem solved that has had you stumped for ages.
Recently. I've been battling discouragement and disappointment in some areas of my life After reading Dr. Chironna's e-mail, I asked God to show me where my perceptions were distorted, and He did. After adjusting my thinking, peace and joy settled in. My circumstances haven't, changed just my perspective. With that change, hope began to flourish and faith began to grow again.
This trusting life is more exciting than the biggest amusement park ride, and more relaxing than a day on the beach. Each day is more wonder filled than the last. Let the adventure begin!
Next time we will continue with In all your ways acknowledge Him. You will be surprised to know there is more to this than just saying Good morning God! Until next time…