“It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.”
I recently read the book, “The Magnolia Story” by Chip and Joanna Gaines. While I don’t consider myself a fast reader, I could not seem to put the book down, and finished in a few short days. Like so many others, I have fallen in love with the pair through their hit show Fixer Upper. Between their joint banter, Chip’s humor, and Joanna’s incredible design style, what’s not to love!? If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have a shirt that says, “You had me at Shiplap” on my wish list.
While their book was engaging for many reasons, perhaps what struck me most of all were the numerous stories they shared that clearly pointed to the hand of God at work in their lives. The book recounted details surrounding several events they simply could not have orchestrated on their own. Clearly God was at work all along directing their steps in so very many ways. I mean, two people who do not own a television don’t end up with their own T.V. show on accident.
Yes, the Gaines’ have worked incredibly hard over the years, but more so, they trusted God along the journey and allowed Him to guide their path. No doubt that is what I want in my life as well. To work like everything, but to trust God to do more than I could ever do on my own. It is a work in progress, but I am trying.
You see, the thing is, if you are like me, you like to control things. You want to know how every decision and choice is going to play out before taking a step. However, that is not reality. At the end of the day, while we would like to control everything, we actually control nothing, God does.
Towards the end of the book, Joanna made a comment that struck me. She said, “If I had planned my life, it never would have ended up like this. So maybe it’s kind of fun not to plan. Maybe it’s more fun just to see where life takes you. After all, we’re living proof that sometimes even the messiest stuff and the biggest mistakes can take you someplace wonderful.”
“Maybe it’s kind of fun not to plan.” As someone who is a planner to the core and encourages others to do the same, this line actually made me gasp. Fun not to plan? But isn’t that irresponsible? Isn’t it foolish not to plan? Doesn’t the Bible tell us it is actually wise to plan? Well, here is what I am learning. Yes, God wants us to work hard and put in wise effort, but in the end, while the labor is up to us, the results are up to Him. We need to move forward freely, trusting God to do what only He can. We cannot be so tied to our plans that we fail to see the path God is leading us towards.
I recently read Psalm 127; I had all but one verse highlighted, and wouldn’t you know it, this time around God spoke directly to me through the un-highlighted passage. Psalm 127:2 says, “It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.”
Did you catch that? “For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.” You see, just like Chip and Joanna never could have orchestrated events in their own life to end up with a wildly successful reality T.V. show, there are events in our life we simply cannot arrange… but God can. When we put in wise effort, we can let go of our need for control and let God do what only He is able to.
At the end of the book Joanna said, “The key to everything Chip and I have learned is our life is together so far seems to be pretty simply: Go and find what it is that truly inspires you, go and find what it is that you love, and go do that until it hurts.”
While you do that, trust God to do more than you could ever imagine. Remember, while we can’t control things, God can, and He can give to His beloved even in his sleep.
In what area do you need to give up control and let God work today?