I’ve never been a fan of memorizing Scripture, but I have to admit that with all the passages I was required to memorize in Christian school, a lot of it stuck with me. My first month there, we had to learn Proverbs 3–the whole chapter. I can still remember huge portions of it, but especially this part:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.” (Prov. 3: 5-6, NASB)
Now, 30 years later…learning those verses was the easy part. Learning to live them–that’s the hard part.
One thing Scripture memorization can’t do for us it help us understand what the verses mean. This passage is one of several that have been guiding forces throughout my life, and I have spent much of my existence grappling what it looks like to live in the truth of these verses. How often do we lean on our own understanding, thinking that we are leaning on the Lord?
What does this really look like?
In times of transition, especially, this passage can be both a comfort and a challenge. Sometimes, when I find that when my world is in upheaval and I don’t know which way “up” is, I am all about acknowledging God in all my ways and not leaning on my own understanding–because I have no understanding. 🙂 It’s a comfort to me to know that Someone knows which way is up, even though I get frustrated when God won’t let me in on it.
On the other hand, I notice that when things settle down and I get comfortable, I have this tendency to start taking the reins again–to lean more on my own understanding. Kind of like, “God, thanks for getting me through that–I’ve got it from here.” And then sometimes, I don’t even remember to lean on God in turbulent times, either. I just scramble around in a panic and try to solve the problems myself.
But the key, to me, is in learning what it means to acknowledge God in all our ways–not just when we start thinking it’s too much for us to handle. Because the truth is–it’s all too much for us. We never see the big picture–only parts of it. That’s why our own understanding is shaky at best, and can’t be leaned upon.
I don’t have this figured out. I’m just sayin’, is all. 🙂
So what does it look like for you? In what ways are you acknowledging God–deferring to His understanding rather than your own? In what ways do you still lean on your own understanding?
Whether you’re in a place where you are settled and comfortable, or whether you’re in a time of turbulent transition–the promise is the same. When we defer to God’s guidance in all our ways, He orders our steps and makes our paths straight. May we learn this truth all the more in the upcoming year.