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Do the Next Thing. Jesus, I Trust in You.

My labor experiences have helped me to realize that when I have a plan and a narrative for how I anticipate aspects unfolding, I am able to be very calm; however, when the plan goes off track, I start to panic in the midst of pain or vulnerability. Once I saw that pattern within my labor experiences, I began to notice it elsewhere in my life in scenarios that were more subtle and would have been harder to detect without first having the extreme example in mind. I was also able to see non-examples where I was able to embrace not having things go according to plan because it was not as inherently painful, and I was able to see it as more of an adventure, laughing through the circumstances as they unfolded. Over time, I recognized that it was necessary to acknowledge an inherent worry to trust continuum and to intentionally shift little by little towards trusting in God since there are so many details that I will not and cannot know when it comes to all of the layers of my life and the lives of those I love.

Over time, a phrase on my heart was do the next thing. I realized that when it was too overwhelming to think of everything that needed to happen, instead, I should just focus on what the next step was and focus on that. This also resonated based on how I would often draft up a step by step plan that then regularly needed revision based on adjustments along the way to one step that had a domino effect on others.

Nonetheless, sometimes I would complicate what the next thing was because I would be uncertain whether I should opt for one choice or another. I would pray through options and ask, “What do you want, Jesus?” One year, when I was discerning whether I should try to have more kids or not, I decided to pray the Rosary and journal each day for the month of July. At one point towards the end, while at Adoration, I perceived, “Amanda, you put so much pressure on yourself to get it right. Either is ok.”

When I prayed through other scenarios of wondering whether I should go one route or another, I envisioned God’s grace working like a GPS in my life. Since there was no way for me to know for sure which route I should go, and I could generate reasons why either might be God’s will, I recognized the need to communicate to God what I was doing and why with a desire to align to His will but to request that He redirect me if I was not actually aligning with His plans for me.

Yet, the desire to get it right was still there. At one point, I was writing a book (never published) with the working title Do the Next Thing: Stepping Forward in Faith. I got to a certain point of my draft but was unsure of where to conclude it at the time because one of the main narratives that tied it all together was still unfolding. I realized there was one outcome that I didn’t want because it would have meant that I “didn’t get it right,” and I really wanted to get it right. Then, it all unfolded in that one way that I hadn’t wanted it to and God continued to teach me through the process.

After drawing that desire to the surface, God has led me towards realizing that it is not about getting it right or knowing with 100% certainty that of all the options that are within a morally acceptable scope, I am choosing the perfect one. Instead, it is about remaining in relationship with Him and surrendering it all. It is about having a Thy will be done heart without getting too attached with the outcomes I envision based on a trajectory that I perceive. It is about recognizing that it is about my growth and the beauty of God’s plans for my sanctification. It is about not being immobilized by wanting to get it right, and recognizing that He teaches me a lot through it all, sometimes especially when I feel like I “got it wrong.” It is about seeing how that learning all provides a foundation for what I am called to do. It is all preparation.

In recent years, I have heard a lot of emphasis to adding in “right” to phrases, such as do the next right thing or take the next right step. Nonetheless, God has been leading me away from getting it right and towards viewing life as an adventure, allowing Him to lead me and recognizing that it will entail sometimes feeling like I got it wrong at some points along the way based on aspects that I need to learn in order to go from where I am to where He is leading me.

I am learning, it was never about getting it right. It was always about learning to let Him lead me, approaching life with an adventurous heart built on a solid foundation of trust in Him and a recognition of my need for Him.

Loving Lord, Thank you for moral teachings that provide me with a foundation of freedom to explore and approach life as an adventure, rather than feeding into the anxiety of getting it right or the pressure of perfectionism. Help me to see the beauty of becoming who You created me to be as you reveal it to me over time. Lead me, Lord. Jesus, I trust in You.

Questions for Reflection:

  • Do you currently approach life focusing on getting it right or as an adventure? Has that changed at some point in your life?
  • What events, learnings, or circumstances have helped you to grow in trust over time?
  • If you revisit the lives of your favorite Saints, where do you see examples of it being more about leaning into trust and allowing God to lead, rather than about the Saints “getting it right”? How can you see the loving hand of God’s providence in their lives?
  • What insight do you gain for your own life based on noticing how God works in the lives of others in scripture, the lives of Saints, and the lives of friends committed to abiding in relationship with God?

Copyright 2021 Amanda Villagómez // Photo by Holly Mandarich on Unsplash

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