Check Boxes

In all my childhood imaginings about my future, the story always centered on staying.

A good life-a faithful one- looked like a forever job, a forever church, and moving no more than from an apartment to a starter home, and then to that pinnacle “forever” home.

There were lots of “forevers” in my dreams. I really wanted following Jesus to look like a checklist of things done. Once done, they stayed settled. Nothing changes once I check that box.

I was sure that If I followed the right plan and the right people, it would all work out. That plan served me pretty well until it didn’t.  Much like that story about the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead: when it was good, it was very good, but when it was bad, it was horrid.

It turns out that my desire to find people and places to help me check all the boxes was exactly the wrong thing. It put my eyes on people and places instead of Jesus.

The forever job in Minnesota, Nathan left after over 10 years.

The next forever job, ended this year. Nathan is on his second job since that one.

We moved this year.

We found a new church home a couple of years ago.

Over the course of several years, the settled things became unsettled.  With each new season, it seemed, I erased another checkmark. By the fall of 2019, there was no more checklist and no more perfect plans.

As much as I would like it to be the case, it doesn’t seem like faithfully following Jesus looks like making our way through the master plan checklist and moving on. We don’t live like we need Jesus much when we’re trusting a plan.

2019 was brutally hard for our family. It involved reevaluating things we thought were settled. Erasing the check mark in the “career” box for Nathan was a blind step of faith. It certainly wasn’t on our list of goals for the year.

Psalm 20:7 is ringing in my head, as I write this:

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

It feels like a good verse for 2020.

Some trust in checklists and making the right choices and following the right gurus. May we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

May you see God’s faithfulness in an unmistakable way this coming year.

(image via pixabay)

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