Fill in the blank below:
I love _______.
How many will place “you” in that blank? How many will place the name of their spouse or significant other, their favorite food or place to visit? How many thought “Jesus” or “God”?
Even when the blank is preceded by only 2 words – two of the most popular words on the planet – you can never predict how someone will respond, react, or fill in the blank at any given moment.
And, herein lies the challenge we’ll discuss today.
Step Away from the Blanks
When faced with the many blanks of life – e.g. time we spend waiting on a decision, time we spend waiting on a phone call, even time we spend waiting on God – we find it hard not to try to fill in the blanks.
It becomes a personal abomination for the last pieces of the puzzle to be absent. “Surely, they must be missing. That’s it! The ‘missing pieces’ need our help, right? Wrong.
So, what do we fill in the blanks with? I’m glad you asked.
We fill in the blanks with assumptions. We create full-blown conversations in our minds with people who are not there to speak for themselves. The blanks are filled with our best-educated-logical guesses that will soon prove to be a self-fulfilling false prophecy.
Because 99.9% of the things we worry about never happen.
At our core, we fill in the blanks with a manifestation of our doubts and fears.
For some reason, we cannot bear the deafening silence of the unknown, the wait a while, or the not right now. Sometimes, we cannot resist the urge to quell our angst with a story, an assumption, or our perceptions – whether they be right or wrong.
All we know is – at least the blank is filled.
Later, in due season, we find out that our assumptions, our perceptions, and our worries were all wrong. And, all of the energy we spent filling in the gaps was for fantastical naught.
Leave the Blanks to God
Do you often find yourself creating stories, events, conversations that didn’t happen (and won’t) – just to soothe anxiety or “make sense” of a situation? Are you tired of having to re-take the class Freedom from Control and Manipulation 101?
Be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:6-7). God desires for us to live in perfect peace, but in order to do so, our minds must be directed to Him – not directing our latest fantasy of how things could or should be.
Try these 5 keys to set yourself free from creating stories and filling in life’s blanks:
1. Acknowledge that your crystal ball is cracked.
Teammates, on our best day, we are still prone to error, miscalculations, and false assumptions. The truth of the matter is – we will never be omniscient – nobody is a know it ALL. There will always be information we don’t have, and even if we did – we’d apply it in the wrong way.
It’s time to surrender our crystal balls to God. Though filled with life experience, training, and know-how, our minds will never be smarter or more informed than God. His accuracy crushes any picture or solution our minds can conceive. Leave those thoughts to dust and trust the plan that God knows oh so well.
2. Stop obstructing the work of Patience.
Let Patience have her perfect work (James 1:4). Did you know that it is the job of Patience to perfect (mature) and complete you – so that you lack nothing?
When we jump the gun and begin creating and manipulating stories in our mind, we hinder the very processes in place to make us whole. We, in fact, sabotage our own growth.
So, obstructing Patience’s work is an unloving act against ourselves. Why? Because love is patient – and when we love ourselves perfectly, we cooperate with the work of Patience – as painful as it may be because it’s helping us to mature in Christ.
3. Shed the pride of being right.
When was the last time you were wrong? Having trouble recollecting? One of the reasons it’s so easy to believe our made-up stories is because we think we’re always right. Ouch!
Isn’t it fascinating that the Word says there’s a way that seems right to us – but it leads to death (Proverbs 14:12)? Really, God, that’s a little strong – death? But ironically, this goes right along with pride leading to a destructive fall (Proverbs 16:18).
We honestly do ourselves a great favor when we release pride and humble ourselves to God’s will in His time.
4. Realize God has not lost His creative power.
God is not stuck or stumped. Just because God rested on the seventh day does not mean that His power lies dormant. God provides provision to go along with every plan – His plans are never void of answering the how, when, what, where, or why.
So, in essence, the will of God really has no blanks to fill. There are no missing pieces to your destiny. His Word won’t return void – including every plan and every purpose He has spoken over your life. God is still a “yet able” God.
5. Change the channel and conversation.
Ever watch a TV show or movie, where the plot, scene, or action sequence is totally ridiculous? I’m talking to the point of utter silliness and you refuse to watch another minute?
That’s what we have to do to with our made-up stories. If you’re watching a full sequence of events that haven’t happened, but you “wish” they would or assume they could – change the channel! If you’re having a full-blown conversation with someone in your mind OR you’re telling yourself what someone thinks – change the conversation!
Think on things that are true – like God’s promises! Ruminate on the Word of God; create thankful thoughts for your good, expectant ending that has been planned by a better than good Father. These episodes of gratefulness will serve us better than any self-centered, self-serving fantasy.
So, What’s the Play Call?
Think on things that are true, honest, pure, just, lovely, and of a good report – meeting every one of these criteria (Philippians 4:8).
Our fantasies and stories will fail the above litmus test, but our faith in God, His will, and His abilities will always lead us to a good report.
So, pray in faith, ask God to heal any unbelief, then leave it all in His more than capable hands.