Have you ever not spoken something out loud, in the hopes that not saying it will keep it from being real? I have. Twice, this week. Some silly part of my brain is reassuring me that if the words don't come out my mouth, if sound doesn't hit the air, the thing didn't really happen.
The reality is, no words of mine, spoken or unspoken, will change the actions of other people. A phrase I have come to use almost daily goes: "It is what it is." I don't have to like it, but I do have to acknowledge the facts. Which is a concept my very core pushes back against. I have this ideal, who doesn't?, about the way life should work, and how the dominoes should fall. A leads to B, leads to C, and the people that try hard will be rewarded. And it's not over until everything is rosy and beautiful. Another reality check: when dealing with humanity, there is very rarely a black and white, bow-on-top solution or resolution to anything. No matter how badly I want reconciliation, or an answer, or a rewind button, sometimes it just is what it is. There is no reconciliation, no answer, no rewinding. No grasping the past in an effort to change the future. I fully believe words of prayer hold immeasurable power, and the Lord answers our requests mightily in His time. But sometimes, no matter how hard we beg, He says, "This is how it's going to be. I know you don't like it, but this is what it is."
Some people say knowing God is in control of their circumstances brings them great peace. I find this to be absolutely not true 85% of the time. Because many times, God is not doing what I want, He is very much doing His own thing and, frankly, it drives me crazy. Have you ever been in that place of recognizing God's hand at work, and absolutely hating it? It feels childish. It feels wrong. But I'm pretty sure it's human. I'm pretty sure our inability to let go is something we have to unlearn. Unlearning starts with admitting we don't know everything. I may think I have the perfect solution, or be in the right, but that doesn't mean I'm right. Pride will tell me I am. The Lord will tell me, "you don't know all the pieces of this puzzle. I do." Unlearning is choosing to trust the Lord, literally no matter what. Even through tears and gritted teeth. The thing is, He will prove Himself faithful. He always does. We might not like a stretch of the journey, but His faithfulness is undeniable. If I know anything, it is that the Lord is always and forever faithful to complete whatever He has started.
I've been doing a lot of unlearning the last few months. A lot of leaning into what it looks like to let things be. It is what it is. I don't have to like it, and I can deal with that on my own time, but I do have to accept that, hey, this is it. And you know, there has been so much grace in the learning. For each step I took, the Lord bolstered my soul a little bit more. He strengthened the muscles of trust, peace, and rest. As I learned to let circumstances be, He gave me freedom.
Tonight, there is a familiar knot in my stomach. The very tips of my fingers are tingling with the desire to white-knuckle hang on to what I know is already gone. But as I sit here and breathe, the more dominant feeling is peace. Peace, because it is what it is. There are circumstances I can't change, reality that exists whether or not I say it out loud. With each inhale, I'm asking for rest. With each exhale, I'm letting go of a little more fear. That knot is loosening, slowly but surely. It is what it is. And God is who He is. So I choose peace, and joy, and rest.
"But let us go out with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us. Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us. It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ.
Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him."