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Worry: Scars of the past, visions of the future

If you know me in person, you know how much I worry about the future. And, well, if you don’t know me in person, it’s about time you found out.

I’m pretty sure we all worry about the future from time to time. We’re trained to be worriers from a young age–I think I saw a third grader with university pamphlets the other day! –so we get pretty good at it. If there was an Olympics for worrying though, I’d get gold, all the while worrying if I’d even make it to the podium (do you get style points for extracurricular worrying?).

Don’t get me wrong though! I’m not an empty worrier; I’m one of those guys who has their whole future planned ahead of them to the inch. Not only do I know how many kids I want, but I can also tell you their names, what car we’ll all trundle around in, where we’ll live, where we’ll be on our honeymoon (hopefully before the kids get here), and what flavour the wedding cake will be that’ll start it all off. Don’t even get me started, because I will literally not stop.

Anyway, you get the picture. I worry a lot, and I talk about my future a lot.

I suppose the question that comes next is: why?

Growing up, people didn’t quite ask me about my future so much as they took it and dragged it through the mud. You see, I’ve got a learning disability, which wasn’t always quite as apparent or manageable as it is now that I understand it. People basically just thought I was an idiot, as they never neglected to remind me, hurling oh-so original insults like “stupid” and “dumb,” and telling me that I wouldn’t get anywhere in life. To their credit, my parents tried their best, but they still had to go through a lot for me and didn’t always react in the most positive ways. I was often compared to my sister who received high marks–I would come home with poor grades, only to be yelled at.

Of course (he says humbly), that’s no longer the case. People are proud of what I have turned into, and I’m confident in my strengths. Furthermore, I’ve learned to surrender not only my weaknesses but my strengths as well to God, whose strength is immeasurably more than mine, and whose power is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Yet, the scars remain, and come through as worry. As I said, I try each day to surrender everything to God, my future included, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

In 2015, for example, I thought that I would be going into policing. If you’d asked me back then, that decidedly over-detailed map of the future would have featured me as a cop (maybe even with little police hats for the kids). However, as I ventured further and further into my police foundations course, I became more and more concerned about whether this was the path for me. Burdened with anxiety of not only the already stressful classwork, but also the worry of how this misfitting career might affect my pristine future, I barely made it out of that program alive, let alone with a certificate (more on that in two weeks).

Yet, by the grace of God, I struggled out of that frying pan–into another fire: I had the certificate but no interest in the career. Rather than dwell of worry though, I asked God to provide a solution–a clue towards His perfect plan.

Soon enough, I found myself once again with Youth Unlimited and realized that what I wanted to do–even at the root of my interest in policing–was to work with at risk youth. Still a bit unsure, but emboldened, I asked for a sign. Soon after, I was accepted into George Brown College for Child and Youth Care.

Jesus lays down the steps of our lives, and it’s up to us to walk in them. At of the end of the journey, God’s plan will have us shining more brightly than any plan of our own. It’s God’s plans that conquer before anything else; we just have to trust in Him and let Him do His job. We may be distracted and lose track of our way, or run into barriers and obstacles that seem insurmountable, but our main goal is to always return to focus on the big picture, which is God. If we keep hold on that, there’s nothing that will stand in the way.

At the end of the day, the best way to predict the future is to create it. In a very literal sense, only God can create the future, but He’s also the only way to keep track on our path to discover it. With that in mind–with the author of eternity as my personal guide–what do I have to be worried about?

Whenever someone asks me what my plan for the future is, I’ve begun to take a page out of James’ book–James 4:13-15 to be precise. While I have my own ideas for kids, cars, and cakes, ultimately, I know it’s all according God and whatever he wants me to do. My plan is to serve and live my life for the Lord until I meet Him face to face. If Youth Ministry is a part of that, I’d be happy. If it isn’t, well it isn’t the first time my plans have changed, and I seem to be alright so far.

I don’t know if this will ever come easy to me. To this day I still worry about my future. Will I get a job that can provide for my family? Will I have a family at all? What will this world look like in 10, 20, 50 years? What will I look like as part of the world? To all these questions and more, I don’t have answers. On good days the worry is a whisper and on bad days it’s a shout, but I’m learning to listen to God above it all.

If you’re like me–if you’re an Olympic worrier–you’re not alone. Take solace in that. Furthermore, the history of our faith is full of people who worried just like us but chose to rely on God instead of their worry; we’re in good company. As Tyler Perry once said, “It doesn’t matter if a million people tell you what you can’t do, or if ten million tell you no. If you get one yes from God that’s all you need.” I believe that God is working on what we’re worrying about. While we’re worrying God is working.

Jesus orders our steps, even if we can’t see all of them right now. Take the first one in faith, and the rest will come.

Thanks again for listening. Talk to you again soon and remember to always stay grateful.


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Please be advised that this blog post may discuss topics related to suicidal ideation. If you feel that the content may affect your well-being, please proceed with caution. If you or someone you know

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