Lean Not On Your Own Understanding.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

I have read and heard this verse spoken more times than I can count. That happens sometimes when you grow up in church and attend a Christian school up until you graduate High School. You become so accustomed to certain verses, especially the ones that are repeated more compared to others. If you aren’t careful, words begin to just slide off your shoulder. Verses become phrases that people memorize simply because they have been repeated countless times or because they have to, and the importance of the words seems to fade into the background.

It wasn’t until just yesterday that God slapped me in the face with this verse, in a kind and gentle way of course, but it woke me up. As someone who struggles with anxiety on a daily basis, I am afraid of a lot of things. I’m not afraid of things like spiders, heights, or snakes. But if you are, no judgment here because spiders are kinda freaky.

I am afraid of failing, losing the people I love, being misunderstood, being vulnerable, people hating me, not being good enough, being too needy, losing my faith, and not being good at something. I am afraid of being stagnant and not making progress. I am afraid of losing hope, disappointing my parents, losing the love of my life, people thinking that my mental illness isn’t valid, being inadequate, and never following my dreams. I am afraid of not being successful, of never fully recovering from anorexia, and I am afraid of the unknown.

Oh yeah, and I am afraid of clowns, but then again, who isn’t?

If I could sum up the power of fear in one sentence it would be this: It’s easy to be afraid, and it’s a whole heck of a lot harder to be brave.

The verse above relates to me, and probably most people because we live in a world where we lean on our own understanding ALL the time. We are good at it and incredibly skilled in doing what we want.

And no wonder! It’s easy to simply ignore what God is telling us in this day and age. We live in a world filled with noise, making it way too easy for us to tune out Gods gentle voice. Not to mention, following our own path allows us to avoid people’s judgment at all cost and steer clear of things that people think don’t make sense or isn’t considered “cool”.

But if there is anything I have learned it is that no matter how many times you lean on your own understanding Gods path is always so much more fulfilling.

For a long time, I have walked in my own understanding. Why? Because most of the time the things God calls me or any of us to do don’t make sense. Maybe it leaves you without a job or maybe it means that you are paying off student loans until you are fifty-eight. Maybe it means you lose friends or no one really agrees with your view. But that the thing, God didn’t say He would make the path easy. He doesn’t guarantee that people won’t judge you or make fun of what you are doing. He doesn’t promise that you’ll be blessed with all of the worldly things you can imagine. God doesn’t work like that.

So yeah, some of the things God is calling me to do don’t make any sense to my little human self. The thought of walking down the paths He has for me makes me uncomfortable, nervous, and hesitant. But thankfully, God is so much bigger than any emotion I encounter on whatever path He leads me down.

I think that what God can and does guarantee is that walking in His path rather than our own will always be the path that provides us with the most peace, success, and joy. That doesn’t mean that our success is to be measured by the world’s standards because the things that are important in this world don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. But instead, it requires letting go of the control that we so humanly desire in choosing our own path and instead allow God to lead the way because Gods path can provide the most success and joy in your life.

When reality hits, I am so afraid to walk down some of the paths God so clearly places on my heart because I am so caught up in what others might think. But living in fear of what people might think about me is no way to live. It’s called ‘mind reading’ (thank you therapy), assuming what someone else is thinking about you, because most of the time people are more concerned about what you might be thinking of them rather than making assumptions and conclusions about you. But seriously, if anyone thinks anything less than what they should of you (especially if they don’t think you are funny when you clearly are hilarious 😉 ) then walk away because you do not need that type of negativity in your life.

In all seriousness, for a while now God has placed on my heart a passion for sharing my story. I can’t explain how badly I want to provide awareness, and most importantly hope, to people who are living with a label of mental illness. It’s such an intense feeling and passion that often times I am left feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by the emotions it brings.

For a really long time, I have put off pursuing this passion. Caught up in the fears of what other people will think or the possibility that I might not be good at it. But when it all comes down to it if God has placed such a heavy passion on my heart then why do I keep running from it? Why do I keep leaning on my own understanding?

Sure it is easier and more comfortable. But it also sucks not following Gods path when you know you should be.

So here is a friendly reminder:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6



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