When Plans Change: Swimming in Faith to Keep from Sinking in Fear

“I found a really great job opportunity,” my boyfriend said from the other end of line. “But it might mean moving to Oregon.”
My heart plummeted to my toes, and I had to remind myself to breathe. My boyfriend’s voice was brimming with excitement and his mind was filled with the grand possibilities this job could bring him and, ultimately, both of us. But all I could think of was the dozens of terrifying questions bouncing around in my mind.

  • How will we make that long of a long-distance relationship work?
  • We’ve been talking marriage. Am I going to have to move across the country? I don’t want to live there!”
  • Will we get stuck out there? Will we have to have our kids out there??
  • And the biggest one of all: Why is he even considering this? And how is he so excited about it?!

I swallowed back the tears, while he went on and on about the potential of this job. When he asked what I thought, I just said that it sounded interesting and that we would need to talk about it more in order to keep from losing my composure at work. We hung up, my mind spinning so fast I didn’t know what to think.

Doubts and concerns piled up sky high in my mind, and I decided I just really didn’t want to have to deal with the possibility of him moving that far away. Was it ok for him to do this – to take a job that could move him nearly 3,000 miles away from me? My selfish heart’s answer was NO. And the thought did cross my mind that maybe he needed to choose between that job and me.There was just one problem.

I loved him.

So much so that when he took the job, I determined I would try to make it work should he have to move. So much so that when he found out he would have to move, I stuck by my word. So much so that 2 months later when he asked me to marry him, I said yes.

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But during our 7 months of engagement and 4 1/2 months of long-distance, I struggled with how to “be ok” with everything that was happening.

I thought I was going to have to accept all the “what-ifs” at once. I thought God would want me to “be ok” with all the many possibilities for our future immediately. But He didn’t. Instead, He changed my heart about one thing at a time. And when I finally realized it, I was able to breathe again and let Him do His work.

He reminded me through my fiance that we should never make a decision merely based on convenience or what’s easy at the time and that we may miss out on something great by staying inside our comfort zone.

He showed me that all Christians are called to make disciples, and sometimes, that means moving to a place where fewer Christians are in order to reach people who may not otherwise be reached.

And He continually reminded me that His grace is far greater than all my “what-ifs,” “buts,” and “hows.” If His perfect plan involved moving to Oregon, than He would make it happen. After all, “Faithful is He who calls you, who also will do it.” (1 Thess. 5:24)

I clung to that promise fiercely. My prayers often went something like this:

” You’ve said you will provide for all my needs and come through for me when I follow you. You’ve asked me to go, and I will, but I need you to do Your part. I can’t make it all work. I need you to make our way straight and meet all our needs. I don’t know how You’ll do it but please prove to me You can. Prove yourself true to me.”

Of course, God doesn’t need to prove Himself to me, but He does it anyway. Many times. And I don’t think He minds me asking it of Him, because my asking means I am choosing to step aside and trust Him blindly. I’m willing to let go of my “hold” on the situation and let Him have the space and time to accomplish what He has promised. Honestly, I can’t think of a single time I’ve prayed that bold, desperate prayer that God has not proven Himself to me. And this time was no exception.

When I had no idea how we would afford a img_3007honeymoon, a move to the West, and the high coast of living in the PNW, I grabbed hold of        1 Thess. 5:24 and held on for dear life. As my husband and I crossed the country with all of my belongings packed in a Penske truck, I again clung to that promise. And as we began moving into our new apartment and tried to make Oregon City home, I spoke that truth to myself again and again. This was where God wanted me, so He would make it all work out.

Someone I recently met commented on how we Christians know God’s promises and His faithfulness to keep them, yet we still feel like we need to nudge Him a bit. It’s as if we think, “I know you said (fill in the blank), but I just wanted to remind you about it.”

Oh, for the concrete faith that doesn’t feel the pressing need to remind God to keep His word. We’re the ones who need the reminder that He will follow through, because He always has before. Yet in His mercies that are new every morning, He doesn’t hold our fearful nature against us but proves Himself true time and time again.

And I’d like to think that each time He proves Himself to me, my faith grows at least a bit stronger, so that next time He asks something big of me, I can answer with a bit less fear and a bit more confidence. As for this trip out West, it’s grown my faith more than a bit, and I have a feeling that in the next few years, God has a lot more growing in store for me. But because I’ve seen how faithful He has been to my husband and me throughout this step of faith, I’m thinking about the future with far less trepidation than I would have before.

God has come through for us this time. He’ll come through for us again.

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4 thoughts on “When Plans Change: Swimming in Faith to Keep from Sinking in Fear

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