Imaginary Problems

I’m really good at anticipating problems and then creating solutions for my imaginary problems. I think a lot of women are particularly skilled in this area, and maybe some men too, although I haven’t met many.

A plan for a plan for a plan is my motto (along with “just keep livin” which some unknown actor recently claimed as his own). 

For example, when Luke was diagnosed with a stroke in utero, I got to work. I researched all of the potential problems that could arise from hydrocephalus, all of the worst-case scenarios, and then once I had a firm grasp on what that scenario might look like, I researched the therapies, treatments, and options to mitigate the possibility of the worst case scenarios and instead ensure that he (and I) would live healthy, normal lives.

That was my one and only plan.  

I poured oodles of time into anticipating every problematic scenario imaginable and then the appropriate solution to the imaginary problem in case it occurred.  I did this for months, and then the Lord said nope. That’s not MY plan for your life or his. 

I did not avoid one single issue I had planned for; instead, I received the equivalent of the worst-case scenario which I had learned about during my months of pre-planning.  The worst case scenario in the eyes of the world, but the best case scenario, in the eyes of my Savior who above all else wanted to use the experience of being Lucas’s mom to make me more Christlike and bring glory to his name.  

I acted the same way after my late husband was diagnosed with brain cancer and then again when I became a mom to 7 children and again as Ryan and I confronted a lifelong addiction, and again, most recently, as we’ve walked through a difficult period with one of our children. 

Each time I become a little less obsessive and throw up my hands in surrender a little bit earlier than the last time and declare, “You are God and I am not, blessed be the name of the Lord” as the Lord convicts, yet again, of making my imaginary problems a form of idolatry.  Yes, anticipating problems can very easily turn into an idol.  As I worship at the altar of “Jessica’s grasp for control” rather than submitting and surrendering to his ultimate will, it is exactly that – an idol.  When my faith in Google replaces my faith in God, that’s a problem.  

A BIG problem. 

I’ve been convicted time and time again about certain idols in my life, and this issue of control seems to top them. These are hard and holy lessons I’m constantly learning as I become more like Christ, which is the goal, right? As believers, we long for others to see our Savior’s love through us and around us, and in order for this to occur, we must become less and he must become more because only then, will the light of true surrender lead to peace. Only then are we able to release our imaginary problems to the one who is truly able to control any situation.  

Just keep livin. 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7



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