In Outcomes We Trust

{The seventh installment in the In ____We Trust Series}

Glad to welcome Lois from Waxing Gibbous back to the blog today. A former journalist, Lois has a gift for telling stories while gathering facts- all leading up to the truth of Jesus Christ. So blessed to know her and share her words!

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Here’s the blunt truth. When Bethany introduced her “In ____ We Trust” series several weeks ago, I was intrigued and curious to see where she was going to go with the topic, but I wasn’t sure how it was going to apply to my daily life. I definitely have areas of spiritual struggle and plenty of room for improvement in many spots, but at the time, I was doing OK in the trust department.

Or so I thought.

In my world, one of the marks of a good blog post is when I finish reading and say to myself, “I never thought of it like that before.” With this series, that’s happened more than once.

Trusting in Google? Who would have thought? But yes, I do that. Trusting in medicine? For me, it’s more like trusting in health insurance, but yeah, check that box too. Acceptance? Let’s just skip that one, shall we? As I told Bethany in an email a few weeks back, with that post, she’s quit preaching and gone to meddling.

All kidding aside, even as I was finding much to relate to every week, I kept trying to articulate this one other thing that I often trust in besides God. Several weeks into the series, I still don’t have a catchy little title for it, but it has to do with happy endings and closure and desperately needing to know how things are going to turn out.

This is OK when it comes to reading the ends of books first (which I do, all the time) or checking the internet for spoilers when I’m taking a bathroom break during a movie (which I also do, sometimes).

In real life, though, it can be a serious problem.

There’s a certain way I feel—physically and emotionally—when I am waiting, in limbo or uncertain of an outcome. I’m more prone to irritability during those times. I’m readily anxious. My stomach sours and my sleep grows even more fitful than it normally is.

Then, when the question is answered, the wait ends or the outcome becomes evident—good or bad—calming waves of peace sweep over me. I don’t know how to explain it other than that. I just feel better.

Some of this is just part of being human, and some might be due to my personality.

But I think the lion’s share of this progression of feelings has to do with trusting in the outcome instead of the God of the outcome.

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Thankfully, I’m not powerless to stop it, and neither are you if you recognize this tendency in yourself.

There is a divine antidote that never fails to change my perspective and calm my anxious heart when I’m waiting for closure, and it is as familiar as it is life-changing.

Simply put, it involves praying the way Jesus prayed in the Garden the night before He was crucified. As you may recall, He asked God three times for another way, but He followed each request with that amazing statement of submission, “Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42)

My husband and I learned the power of this prayer a couple of decades ago when we were struggling with infertility. We regularly told God of our desire for a child, but we always followed it with Jesus’ words, “Not my will, but yours be done.”

I’m not going to lie—this is a difficult way to pray. But back then, it was the only concrete way I found to relinquish my dreams and desires to God. It helped me loosen my grip on my desire to have a biological child AND vocalize my trust that my sovereign heavenly Father truly did know what was best for me.

As it turned out, God’s will in this situation was NOT what I desired originally. We never did conceive; instead, we adopted our two daughters from China.

And that entire experience—including the wonderful eventual outcome—paved the way for an increasing reliance on this prayer in many other areas of my life. From unexpected job losses and homes that took way too long to sell to concerns about aging parents and difficult medical issues, it’s been the only sure way I know to replace my anxiety about an uncertain outcome with quiet trust in God.

Not my will, but yours be done.

I don’t always think to do this right off the bat. Sometimes it takes me days—even weeks—to get there. But when I finally remember and start meditating on this prayer, something amazing happens.

My heart relaxes. The sourness leaves my stomach. Honestly, I’m just nicer to be around.

I still hate waiting. I still read the ends of books first. But, more and more, I’m learning to place my hope and trust in the Author of the ending instead of the ending itself.

God is sovereign. He is good. He loves me and knows what I need. Praying this prayer helps me remember that.

Not my will, but yours be done.

For the next few weeks, guests will be writing each Monday on something (or someone) we tend to trust in besides God. 

What about you? How do you fill in the blank: In ______ I Trust?

This post will also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.
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38 thoughts on “In Outcomes We Trust

  1. Gayl

    I love this reminder to trust in the God who know the outcome rather than trusting in the outcome itself. It’s sometimes hard to pray, “Not my will, but Yours, Lord.” It can be hard, but it’s always the best way. Thanks for sharing at #LMMLinkup. Blessings to you!

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  2. Pingback: The Prayer that Breaks the Worry Cycle (Part 1) | Waxing Gibbous

  3. Pingback: Song of the Month: “Thy Will” | Waxing Gibbous

  4. Beautiful post, Lois. This is so true, and I think of it when it comes to parenting… longing to see the outcome… are my kids going to be okay? But all the while God is simply calling us to faithfully serve Him and leave the outcome to Him. A life-long lesson in trust, for sure. Thanks for so beautifully articulating what so many of us feel.

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    1. Oh yes, Carlie! I pray this often regarding my children too … about struggles they are having, doors that are opening (and perhaps closing), school issues, friends … so much! It definitely reminds me that their Heavenly Father is the one who is truly directing their steps, not me! Blessings to you today. 🙂

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  5. Awesome post. Love how you mentioned that you started praying, Not my will but your will be done. I was talking to my kids about that yesterday after studying Philippians 4 with them. That we need to get to place of contentment with God and trust all that He wants in our lives. His will is greater than we can imagine, And when we can start telling Him let His will be done than we know we can be like a Paul and be content with whatever He gives or takes.

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    1. Thank you, Carmen. Don’t you love it when you have a chance to teach your kids something that maybe took you a lot longer to learn? I know I do! Contentment is so huge, especially nowadays. 🙂

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  6. Right there with you Lois! I always say I can deal with a situation, good or bad, as long as I know what I am dealing with. The waiting and uncertainty get to me, so I appreciate you sharing your heart!

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    1. Yeah, they get to me too, Sarah. I’m probably at my most irritable when I am smack-dab in the middle of something super uncertain. I can recognize it a bit better now, though, so it’s good to know growth is always possible! 🙂

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  7. blog8628

    Love this, Lois! Some of God’s best work is done while we’re waiting. My perspective on waiting shifted when I, too, realized I was waiting on God, not the object of my temporal desire. Psalm 27:14 is my go to reminder of this, “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” Thank you for your words today!

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  8. You’ve hit the nail on the head, Lois. I’ve wrestled with this one more times than I’d like to admit, and it boiled down to one simple phrase: trust in the Lord. In true trust, there is peace, and you’re chiming its bell beautifully in this writing. It’s always a joy to read your words. Today I’m popping in from #thoughtprovokingThursday. More importantly, enjoy those beautiful girls God gave you and continuing pressing on.

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    1. Peace … absolutely! That’s definitely what was missing from my life when I started praying for a child … I’d been spun up about everything for a long time. God knew what I needed–not to get pregnant, but to be freed from that stronghold of worry. I love hearing from you, Kristi!

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  9. I can totally relate, Lois. I’m not a good wait-er and I like neat and tidy endings. I think that’s my pension for control. God has been reminded me that I need to live what I say I believe…faith. In Him. With Him. Regardless of what that looks like. Not easy, but He is worthy of that kind of unguarded belief. Great post, friend.

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    1. Yeah, I know what you mean about the control thing, Tiffany. I guess this prayer is my way of relinquishing the control I don’t actually even have into God’s hands. I’m so glad Jesus provided the example in the Garden! And I’m always thankful for your kind words!

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  10. Hi Lois,
    The wisdom of your words in trusting God and not the outcome is often hard to put into practice these days when we want what we want, when we want it. I admire your courageous prayer for children but faithfully submitting to God’s purposes for your family. Thank you for sharing these encouraging words for all of us who are waiting and trusting!

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    1. I’m glad the post was encouraging to you, Valerie. It’s amazing how relevant praying for God’s will (and not ours) is to so many situations, and what a huge difference it makes in our hearts. Hard, yes, but so worth it!

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  11. You are so right Lois. Thy will be done is such a difficult way to pray but I have learned I’d rather not be involved with anything that is not God’s will. Praying in His will puts everything on God and increases our trust in Him. As someone who is a serial planner, I am learning to fight the urge to “freak out” and just ask God what He wants me to learn as I go through this. I’m with you …I still hate waiting too but God is helping me in that aspect of my life and it feels really good! Have a wonderful week and may God richly bless you and yours!

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  12. Pingback: Guest Post: When You Crave Closure | Waxing Gibbous

  13. Ahhh, Lois. Another thing we have in common. I find myself trusting in outcomes more than God too. The waiting, the uncertainty, they knot my stomach. As we walked through infertility, I too, had to come to the point where I could honestly pray for God’s will not mine when it came to motherhood. and He blessed that prayer in ways I never dreamed.

    When I trust God as I walk through trials or waiting times, I find that peace I’m craving. When I focus on the situation, expecting a specific outcome? That’s when I turn into a big, hot mess.

    Loved your beautiful post here!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so nice to see you back again, Jeanne … I’ve missed your thoughtful presence in the blogosphere! And yes, ditto to turning into a big, hot mess when focusing on the situation instead of trusting God … that’s me too, and I can assure you, it’s not a pretty sight! 🙂

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  14. Wow can I ever relate to this. If I could just see where this will end up, Lord, I’d make it through this season better…. I such a negotiator in the spiritual, and I forget that it’s just going to have to be all about His will and if I’ll trust it.
    Great words for my week, Lois, so thankful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, I’m right there with you, Christine. I’m still realizing just how much I need this whole discussion right now too … As Bethany has expressed more than once during our interactions about this series, God’s timing is perfect!

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      1. Yes. Such perfect timing! And Christine- negotiating. Oh is that too accurate for comfort. Thanking the Lord He awakens us to these things to change us for the better!

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  15. Pingback: Word of the Week: Will – FIRSTandSECONDblog

  16. Oh yeah … the prayer that never fails –>” Thy will be done.’ What a faith stretcher … and yet a burden lifter all at the same time.

    It’s a hard prayer for us control freaks to manage. But by His grace, this we can do.

    Love this piece, friend …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that’s a good way to describe it. A faith stretcher and a burden lifter. And each time it lifts our burdens, our faith gets a little stronger for the next time, don’t you think? You and yours remain in my prayers this summer, Linda.

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  17. Lois, great post! Those heart idols, the “I must have’s” or as the series theme indicates whatever we would use to fill in the blank, will always disappoint, but God knows what we need, even though, it may not be what we think we want!

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  18. I relate to this a lot. Whether it’s good or bad, I like to know the outcome- then I can deal with it. It’s the uncertainty that’s the hardest part. God has been working on this over the last couple of years though and your post encourages me that I am making progress. As you say, it’s all about surrendering our will to his and knowing who he is even when we don’t know what the outcome will be.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. danahoebeke

    It feels like all of the things we place our trust in besides God culminates to this climax that you wrote about… Outcomes! We manipulate and plan and organize all to get to the desired end, forgetting to begin with that prayer ” thy will not my will”!
    I am writing a bible study right now on surrender and this was very inspiring and a good reminder!
    Thanks!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re right, Dana. It’s not like we have to stop planning or, as you wrote about last week, making lists, but starting out with this prayer does help us hold everything loosely, doesn’t it? I hope the Bible study writing goes well for you!

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