“Great faith isn’t the ability to believe long and far into the misty future.
It’s simply taking God at His word and taking the next step.” ~ Joni Eareckson Tada
Going on vacation always does a number on my scripted mindset. I think I’m getting away to unplug and break out of routine, but I end up learning just how tied I am to the familiar and the comfortable.
I was reminded of this as I spent some time in the Northwest to attend a wedding and visit family, just a couple weeks ago.
Suitcases and Starbuck’s
For starters, the stress started with the packing. I like to be prepared.
Sounds good, except there’s a weight limit these days with baggage. To increase the level of difficulty, I’m a parent now. Which means more to pack with less space for me. With random items spread out for packing, like wares at the flea market, it was obvious I needed to cut bait.
I stripped down to the essentials and nothing more. It was painful.
Another thing I learned, addictions travel with us.
No matter where we went, I kept a roving eye out for the brown square logo of Pete’s or the green san-serif letters that spelled S-t-a-r-b-u-c-k-s.
The first thing I did, after taking a barefoot walk through the security checkpoint at the airport at 7am? I ordered a short drip, no room for cream, please.
Coffee wasn’t the only thing I was addicted to.
The night I was packing, I received a phone call that was very distressing. An issue suddenly exploded in from left field, that I could not figure out how to resolve.
The conversation was so unsettling, my world suddenly went gray, like the skies that later met me in Oregon, along with sheets of rain that pelted me in July.
The weather can change very drastically in our faith walk.
One moment, we can feel like sunny skies, clear without a cloud.
With one phone call or email, we suddenly feel very uncomfortable getting caught in a personal storm.
Life is unpredictable. It is unscripted.
We may think we’ve got our arms around the storyline God is developing.
Life reminds us that at the end of the day, we need to travel light to find our way.
When we are stripped to the bare essentials, what is that we’re carrying in our daily baggage?
I’ve learned that I am more addicted to comfort and predictability than I’d like to admit.
I don’t like uncertainty and open-ended question marks.
God isn’t limited by my frustrations.
He uses the things that cause me discomfort, to move me forward. He challenges me to keep going, with the pebble in my shoe and the thorn in my flesh.
Do I keep trusting Him to move forward into the unknown or do I trust myself more with the familiar?
It’s a choice we make every time the script changes.
One of the reasons I like coffee is lined up in the glass displays right next to the barista bar.
One of my favorite pick is the lemon poppyseed muffin. As I inched in the line to order, I was horrified to see only one left, pressing up against the glass. By the time I got to the cashier, my sweet muffin was gone.
I decided to try the cinnamon twist, rather than leave my coffee solo.
I never liked it before, so I was definitely surprised to find there wasn’t a crumb was left before my mug was empty.
… I wish I could say I felt better about my situation by the time the trip ended or the week after I came back.
What I can tell you is that I am choosing the unscripted life — by responding differently by faith.
It kinda sounds simplistic, but it’s real for me right now.
It’s natural for me to do whatever it takes to prevent discomfort from entering my life.
But, it’s time to try something different.
I want to develop a second nature — to trust God, even when I feel things are out of my control.
I want to let go of what I’m hanging onto, so that I can see what God can really do.
“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work of the LORD is finished.” 1 Chronicles 28:20
What is the current step God is showing you, even if it seems to lead you away from your comfort level?
What can you let go of, to make the journey lighter?
I love this. I want to trust God when things are out of my control too. This whole year has been like that, and I have to say I don’t think I’ve trusted God through it all…in fact, I doubted He was even there taking care of us.
I want that kind of faith…ALL the time. Lord help me learn this lesson!
Great encouraging post, Bonnie!
None of it is wasted. God is using everything, even our doubts. So nice to catch you today, Mari!
Hi Bonnie, Predictability is my second nature…”I stripped down to the essentials and nothing more. It was painful.” – I’m going thro this myself, and i’m not loving it!!! I’m making this journey only one step at a time….!! Cheers
I know EXACTLY how you feel, Liza. One step is all God’s asking us for. Cheers back!
Hey Lovely Friend, thanks for this post and giving us a glimpse into your journey. Keep on being brave and beautiful, daughter of His. You are a woman of courage in more ways than one! I’m drinking out of my Faith Barista mug today and thinking of you with every sip. (:
Nice to share a cup together across the miles.. 🙂 Thanks, Holley…
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I am thinking of letting go of my fancy gadgets that keep me too much connected. But I’m still just thinking about it while my iPhone sits in need of restoration. How do you manage to post so eloquently on the tangles of thoughts in my heart?
.-= Kristine´s last blog ..Something Crazy Happened =-.
Sorry to hear about your iPhone, Kristine. 🙂 Keeping connected can be an easy way to keep other things disconnected… in my case, that is…
I’ve missed your posts. What you’ve written here applies to me. Right now. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
Your words are a blessing. As always.
.-= katdish´s last blog ..Procrastination =-.
Like I tweeted, I love you always keep the light on over in Twitterland. And that’s all I’m going to say about that… 🙂
God has really been asking me to trust him lately and going “unscripted” seems to be the required response. It takes some thrashing around on my part to get me to the point of accepting the way things seem to be going. I want to know the script, the plan. What’s next? Where am I going? What should we do? I too want to let go, so I can see what God can really do. I decided today that I would let go and stop trying to convince God to let me have my way.
.-= Kim´s last blog ..Mississippi has Oil =-.
I know. It’s human nature to fight the current… but, we’ll have an unscripted experience to share… with God driving the storyline. Keep going, Kim.
It’s good to know that there are others who get unnerved by vacation! Going unscripted is uncomfortable, and time off always reminds me how attached I am to my little routines–even in my relationship with God! But when I stick to the script, I miss out on the fuller life God has for me. And the deliciousness of a cinnamon twist!
Thanks for the lovely post. You’ve got me thinking!
Thanks for giving a shout out here, Becky. It’s nice to find some elbows to rub with out here…
All I can say is that you have given me much to munch on and mull on throughout this good day, on which I happen to be home, decluttering my house! 🙂 You have inspired me to think about “letting go”–on many levels. Yay!
And pray that I don’t go retrieve anything once I peel it out of my sticky hands 🙂
.-= Belinda Burston´s last blog ..Not Late- At Least =-.
Oh, girl. What a post I could write on this topic. I’m a recovering pack rat you know.
“God isn’t limited by my frustrations.” How grateful I am for that fact! It seems like so much of my life is lived in the uncomfortable right now, even if it’s in the planning stages. I keep getting to another crossroads and I feel like I’m being led into another uncomfortable place and I have to say “I trust You, Lord” once again. I know that’s the point, but it doesn’t make it any easier. 🙂
Blessings, Bonnie. Great to have you back.
.-= jasonS´s last blog ..6 Ideas for Maintaining Excitement =-.
And yet, you keep on going… encouraging us on the way, Jason. Praise God.
[…] This post was Twitted by TheBonnieGray […]
BG…you are a creature of habit aren’t you! But we all are. We don’t like things to change. The older I get, the more entrenched I am.
And then God comes along and says, “hey, try this…” and I drag my feet.
.-= David @ Red Letter Believers´s last blog ..Fertile soil- The secret ingredient =-.
Oh, that’s what those trail marks are behind me…
I’ve been missing you too! and I realized the other day, you still haven’t picked a print.and I miss coffee… 🙁
here I will wrap my non-spiritual comment. guess what comfort level God is challenging in my life lately… 😛
.-= Kelly Langner Sauer´s last blog ..what i can’t see =-.
Thanks, Kelly… (rubbing my hands together)… 🙂
Wonderful words Bonnie. Sorry to hear you had so much stress and then you lost your favorite pastry so close together! When it rains it pours I think… I’ve been learning to drop my expectations lately, and wow, it is hard. I think that expectations become our script, and they can really control us and impact how we relate to God and to one another. Unfortunately I really love my expectations…
“Sorry to hear you had so much stress and then you lost your favorite pastry so close together! ”
What a great way to put it… LOL..
Ah, expectations… now, there’s a thought to chew on…
I hear ya! I have two things going on right now which are NOT comfortable. 🙂 Our Father has given me a task to do in which I feel inadequate. He is wonderful because He keeps giving me encouragements. While working on the task, my health has become all messed up. It hasn’t been normal (for me) since last fall. The doctors are working at figuring out what to do, making me into their guinea pig. In reading your post today, I realized I need to trust Him more activity in BOTH areas instead of focusing only on the task. Thank you kindly for your help.
I’m so sorry to hear that you’re not feeling well and having to grapple with so much. May your spirit be refreshed, friend!
Well..I’m currently in the process of transferring to a new college; much of my work from my former college will not “count” or transfer as far as credentials. When I graduated from high school, I thought I knew everything!! I thought I knew exactly what the path would look like in achieving my goals, but the script of life has certainly changed for me! I wonder why I have to experience detours and roadbumps, hindrances in achieving what I truly feel to be my calling.
I can only trust that God sees the bigger picture and will finish what He began in me.
That is too bad about the credits, but you sound focused on what God has ahead for you, which means you are facing the right direction: Him. Great to have you here, Leah!
“Do I keep trusting Him to move forward into the unknown or do I trust myself more with the familiar?”
That is a great question to ask as we journey with Him. I am often reminded that when Jesus said follow me, the disciples dropped everything and went with Him. I think I still hold on to things secretly, hoping He won’t spot my “holdings”. Then, thankfully, I am persuaded by grace to surrender all!
Awesome thoughts, thanks for sharing!
.-= Jay Cookingham´s last blog ..Disturbing Steps =-.
I can totally relate to this! Funny, I just got back from a long weekend in Seattle. There’s nothing like a trip to shake things up a bit. It was not what I was expecting. And it seemed a challenge at times to deal with the quirky faults that seem to rear their ugly heads when traveling with family (and friends). I find that the minor inconveniences and sudden stresses are the ones that are hardest to approach with patience and grace. But even these minor things need to be brought to His feet.
Oh, Northwest for you too, huh? O, yes… those trips are eye opening for sure! I hope you have a great week unwinding from the long week. Thanks, Jenn for visiting to share your “me,too” moment.
I am so at a point right now where my life is unscripted and I’m learning to trust the Lord. I cling to my comfort zone and I love to figure out where I’m going and how I’m going to get there. I love to plan and then work my plan. I think I’m in control but realize I’m not. To trust God …requires faith.
And I tend to have a problem with trust.
But God is trustworthy. He isn’t like humans who let you down. I may not understand the ‘whys’ of it all but His ways are higher than mine.
I love that Joni Eareckson Tada quote is so good. I need to take God at His word and simply …take the next step. My journey is uncharted but I’m looking to the Master Planner who has everything under His trustworthy control.
But I have to admit …I’m freaking out at times. And I also love my coffee. The single cup Keurig coffeemaker and a strong French roast brew taken black is my companion.
Blessings and love,
.-= Debbie´s last blog ..Heart Renovation =-.
Rebuilding our trust… God sure has His work cut out for Him. Good thing He can do the impossible. 😉 Hugs, Debbie!
Hope your vacation was restful! There’s a great verse in a Rich Mullin’s song: “I can’t see how you’re leading me, but you’ve led me here, to where I’m lost enough to let myself be led.” I love that verse. Sometimes we can’t see where we’re being led…sometimes we feel lost…but it’s about trusting and LETTING ourselves be led. That’s really difficult to do!
I love that quote. Thank you for adding to this post with it. I just tweeted it out, too!
Hope you had a great vaca, Bonnie!
“Addictions travel with us.” <<~~~ There's a lot of truth in this line.
.-= Brett Barner´s last blog ..Three Blog Page Non-Essentials But Are Still Pretty Cool =-.
I love that Joni Eareckson Tada quote!
God is leading our church through a revisioning process and it is definitely outside of my comfort zone but that is a good thing! 🙂
.-= Kevin M.´s last blog ..3 ways to build margin into our lives =-.
It’s new and our faith becomes alive.
I’ve put all my cares & worries in God’s hands many years ago. It has helped ease the stress that drags us down. My daily prayers always include the request that God increase my Love for Him & my faith & trust in Him. No problem is too difficult to handle when He holds us by the hand. A long time ago, I read, ” God can mend a broken heart but you have to give him all the pieces.” Many of us are afraid to change or travel a different road. We need to remember God is always with us- we are the ones that go astray. Never forget God & He will never forget you.
Thank you Bonnie for your heartfelt sharing. I am entering into a new phase of my life; many unknowns. Your blog is God’s gentle hug to me, a reminder to me to take a leap of faith.
I pondered this question for a little while. What do I need to get out of the way so God can help me move on to the next step? Fear is the word that popped in my head right away. I’m like my cats, I like a quiet corner to snuggle down in and a little adventure to keep me stimulated. I’m even fretting a little about a trip we will take this Christmas to Spain to visit my son and his wife in their new home. Thoughts like ‘oh it’s a long plane ride and I don’t like long plane rides. I’ll have to pack some diversionary options—music, books, journal—wow lots of time to write.’ Another one that pops up a little is ‘I don’t know the language…or the customs and we’ll be away from home at CHRISTMAS.’ This trip will be fun I know, but I get a few scared feelings every now and then that I push down because I don’t want them to take over—I know God is always there. He will be with me and can calm the seas of my fearful nature. So God does bring change so I will really lean on Him and learn to trust. In the midst of it, I grow stronger knowing I’m never alone.
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