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Let go and let God.

I used to think of "scheming" as something done by James Bond villains like Dr. No, Goldfinger, or Blofeld (SIDEBAR: Sean Connery and Daniel still, my heart!). They were evil connivers who extorted money, strong-armed nations, and dispatched mean minions for world domination, usually employing very elegant gadgets, complex plans, and usually one or more beautiful women.

I first heard "faith is life without scheming" from a pastor's wife when Isaac arrived (Isaac’s birthday is tomorrow!). I hadn't chosen to prevent or terminate the pregnancy at the ripe age of 43. She saw it as "not scheming" to orchestrate the events of my life. In that light, I eventually saw how mightily I'd schemed up to that point.

While "scheming" can have malicious connotations--like Goldfinger--here it refers to doing more benign variety: Doing sneaky things to make things happen, usually hiding true motives.

Yes, I’ve done this: awkwardly rearranging my life to intersect with a love interest, twisting myself into unnatural knots or overlooking red flags to fit in or position myself for a promotion, and going to heroic lengths to circumnavigate a succession of thorny obstacles to marry a nice man God told me (and I knew) wasn’t for me just because I couldn’t bear to be alone. Ouch.

Sometimes, I get the desired result only to find that it doesn’t fit so well after all. Double-ouch.

Rest assured: God can work in and through our misguided choices for our good (Romans 8:28) if we bring them to Him, but it can be QUITE costly.

Even recently, as I struggled through a project, God showed me the tiny wrong motive I’d hidden under a fine one. The sweet gift is that when I admitted it to myself and God, He gave me the grace to do what I’d committed to do. He’s so kind to me!

The Bible says a lot about faith, including that we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). There are many other verses about the immense power of faith. Some have been abused, producing a “name-it-claim-it” “manifestation” culture to get what we want, sometimes even spiritualizing it to make it sound noble. Eeek! Been there, done that.

This got quite messy when what I was really doing was asking God to rubber-stamp my sometimes well-meaning scheming will rather than seeking Him and His will, with FAITH that HIS WILL IS DEFINITELY BEST FOR ME, despite all seeming evidence to the contrary, in my very limited view.

YES! There's a place for powerful prayer and positive thinking to achieve God-given goals. God-given.

For me, a clue that I’m scheming rather than operating out of faith is a simple sense in my spirit, fear, secrecy, exhaustion, hidden motives/dishonesty (with myself or others), pushing-pushing-pushing, urgency, panic, bowling others over, resentment, frantic control, etc. Does any of that sound like God?

Sure, I can silence those prompts and double-down. Better to sit still and reconnect with God, allowing Him to show me The Way.

Can and does God’s will sometimes require diligence, hard work, and overcoming opposition to achieve it? FOR SURE! But my hard-won experience is that when we’re in God’s will, we have the grace for it and it’s pure and true. There’s supernatural power, equipping, and a peaceful sense we’re on the right path.

Flow. Even if, maybe especially if, they’re turbulent rapids. Somehow, we’re able to pull it off, but we know it’s not us. It’s God. I get that a lot, too.

A friend suggested praying the Serenity Prayer to discern the difference. So handy! So much more pleasant and productive!

My, how long it’s taken me to understand this! How easily I revert! Personally, I need to return to trusting God over and over to stay here, fighting every fear-fueled Type A fiber of my being. After all, Paul suggests, “Pray without ceasing!”

Another way I’ve struggled with this concept is when I’m on the wrong end of the scheming. It’s painful to know someone is Blofelding you or a loved one, especially if they’re smiling to your face. This is called gaslighting and it’s very unpleasant.

Jesus, who was all too familiar with this, says we’re blessed to face scheming and our Dad will take care of it. In fact, God will use it all for my good (Gen.50:20).

Hurray that this, too, can be treated with faith. I can forgive, let go and let God.

Twelve Step programs say, “God is everything or He is nothing.”

I believe God is everything.

At long last, I want to let go and let God.

“And we are sure of this, that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything IN LINE WITH HIS WILL.” (emphasis added) 1 John 5:14 (TLB)

PRAYER: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can (without scheming), and the wisdom to know the difference. Thy will not mine be done.” Amen. I trust You. Thank You. I love You. 💖

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