amy patton

what's next?

amy patton
what's next?

What’s next?

It's a question we ask ourselves from time to time.

Graduated college – check. What’s next?

Bought a house – check. What’s next?

Or maybe it's even an everyday question.

Dropped the little humans off at school – check. What’s next?

Finished laundry, grocery, bills, and making organic dog treats – Check. What’s next?

But sometimes we find ourselves at a place in life where that question carries much more weight. Sometimes that question feels heavy. With pain in our heart and tears in our eyes, we look at someone in desperation and manage in almost a whisper, “What’s next?”

My husband and I found ourselves in that exact place in a marriage counseling session one day. We were in a tough season and knew we needed help. Lots of work and tears and money has been invested into our marriage over the past year, but it really all culminated in this one session where the rubber met the road. We had hit a bottom and it was time to rebuild. Easier said than done, sister friend. As we processed thru how to proceed from here, we just kept saying to each other and our therapist “What’s next?”

What I realized a few days into unknown territory was that the question we were really asking was “What’s next, Lord?” It is the question we ask when we have come to the end of ourselves. It is the cry of our heart when everything once familiar now feels like a foreign land.

Surrender. It’s what comes next. But most of us don’t know how to DO surrender mostly because surrender requires us to STOP doing and forces us to BE. And being is hard. Being is uncomfortable. Being doesn’t feel good or productive most days. Being requires looking at our guts. Being requires silence. And sister, silence is scary. Silence is the birth place of the “what if’s.” Silence creates space for all those things we have been avoiding to rise to the surface.

The silence of surrender means a break in the rhythm of our days. Our days have a tempo and a cadence to them. Whether fast, slow or somewhere in between, we dance through our waking hours in partnership with God and others. Surrender means we are no longer the one leading the dance. It forces us to give up doing things our way and learn to follow His steps and His lead.

If we are being REALLY honest, most of us don’t come to a place of surrender until our ways don’t work anymore anyway. CAN. I GET. A WITNESS?!?!? For me, it usually looks something like “Perhaps I should stop running into this brick wall over and over and try something different before I pass out whilst bleeding from the head…” I’m a bit stubborn in my insanity. And I like things my way. I like to gather the facts, put a well-thought-out, strategic plan in place and then CHARGE! But that doesn’t always, mostly not, probably won’t ever work out so well because Isaiah 55:8 says:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways, declares the Lord.”

Problem: I am only going off my limited facts and data points. I can only know what I know and see what I see. But He sees all the things. He knows all the things, and He promises in His word that His plans for me are good which is what makes surrender good. Through the act of surrender, I am actually getting out of my own way and letting the expert lead. I mean, you wouldn’t try to climb Mount Everest without ever seeing snow. It makes sense that you would need a guide for this type of grand adventure. Such is life. Having someone in charge who has been doing this for eternity would come in handy on most days. You would think knowing all of this would make it easier to do, but it doesn’t.  I’m still human and it’s still a struggle.

Surrender is so difficult without the proper perspective of our own humanity. And because what we need the most, we resist the most. What we need is the humility to step aside and let Him take over. What we resist is giving up control. But He doesn’t take over because He is egomaniac with a need to micromanage. In asking for your surrender, what He’s really asking for is your heart. It’s all about your heart. It’s all He wants. The rest of it is just about showing you what’s inside so He can heal the wounds and move you closer to Him. It’s all He wanted from Adam and Eve. Nothing has really changed. The God of Heaven and Earth just wants to go on a walk with you.