Friday, December 19, 2008

Not My Picture, But Yours

     When I was a teenager I remember my mom saying to me, "If you get your will going in the right direction, you will be OK."  Needless to say I was considered a "strong-willed" child. You know the type that Dr. Dobson wrote about in his book. I had a will and a way to make my plans happen. 

     I remember hearing Chuck Swindoll say, "you know you are a planner when you have a plan "A" and a plan "B". Planning came naturally for me. In fact I thrived there. 

     I liked having a picture of how things should work. It made me feel safe. Once I had my snapshot I would move in to try and control the outcome. Life was good when my pictures were working, things falling right into place. They were my safety net, that is until Jesus came for me.....

     It all began in the "season of the jobs". It was 2001 when the “God delivered” invitation came.  At God’s initiation David left his job. We had no idea where he was going, but we had money saved to carry us through until another job was found.  It was then Jesus began to invite me to live a new life, a life without self-managed plans and pictures. David had 6 jobs in 4 years, all paying thousands less than our living expenses. Nothing happened as I planned.

     God is unpredictable. He's not caught up in how the plans look. He's longs to bring revelation of the truth to our hearts.  I discovered something profound. As long as I have my pictures and plans in place, I won't need or even look for His.  

     It feels safe to know how things are going to play out. But safety in plans and pictures isn't really safety. It's a mirage of control that holds me back from the true, living water. Until I am dependent on Him for everything, including the plans and pictures, I'm still in control of my life. 

     Jesus said, "not my will" but yours. He in essence said, "not my picture, or plans, Papa, but yours." He trusted the heart of the one who painted pictures in His life. Therefore, He didn't need to paint any. He could live in the moment not even considering how life was supposed to look.  All that mattered was living in the moment with His Papa, allowing Him to paint the canvas of life around Him.

     Abandonment to Papa God is the only path to true safety. The fact that we struggle to get there proves that we don't trust His heart completely.  Jesus trusted the heart of His Papa, therefore He could live in abandonment to the unseen revelations to come.

     Life didn't work out as I planned, thank God.  If it had, I would still be living in my limited pictures. He wanted so much more for me. He wanted me to trust Him enough with what I couldn't see. He wanted me to rest in knowing He had everything mapped out. He had it all covered.

     Living from a God picture means living in unpredictability. You can't map it out. If you don't believe that, look at the scriptures. He never healed the same way twice. Had He wanted us to figure it all out, He would have done things consistently each time.

     There is mystery in following Him without a plan, trusting Him to guide our paths and direct our ways. He wants the freedom to work without the agendas of man. He wants to show us how consistent He is. As long as we have our pictures, we'll miss His. He knows the plans He has for us. When we need to know them, He'll invite us to see. That is enough, it must be.

     Papa waits to paint the pictures of our daily lives. But the canvas is already being painted on by us. Abandonment invites us to offer ourselves to Him as a fresh clean canvas, trusting Him with the plans and pictures. No longer limited by ours He's now allowed to unfold His. Love is in every detail. Faithfulness is in each stroke. Goodness is in each color. His masterpiece waits to unfold in revelation before us. So what do you say? Shall we lay our brushes down and say with Jesus, “not my picture but yours?”

     "I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

copyrighted: 2008 Julie L. Todd


Kimberly said... Reply to comment

I am for sure one who likes to be in control. He has been speaking to me about delighting in Him and trusting for Him to give me the desires of my heart, of commiting my plans to Him and trusting in how He will unfold it all. I definietly need to put down my paintbrush!

Blessings, sweet Julie! And I love your new pictures of your family in your sidebar! Beautiful!

ktwalden said... Reply to comment

I love your analogy of the canvas and paintbrush. Being such a lousy artist, the poor scribblings on my canvas do not even merit a paintbrush. Thank God for His longsuffering mercy and for His patience while waiting for me to place the brush in His hand.

Amy said... Reply to comment


What a beautiful analogy! How true your words are...The Lord paints a much more lovely picture than I ever could.

I have finally surrendered the paintbrush to Him. I feel tremendous freedom in trusting Him to make a spectacular painting out of my life!

As always - your words have blessed me!

Love you,

Gretchen said... Reply to comment

Oh, Julie...Julie...Julie...

You leave me speechless with the beauty of your devotional. Thank you, friend, for cutting right to the heart of the matter with your lovely word pictures. (((hugs)))

Shanda said... Reply to comment

I know I'm in waiting... but what really hit me was that while I'm waiting I need to quit doodling on my canvas! I'm with you, Julie. Today, I lay down my paintbrush. No more control, no more planning.

Susan said... Reply to comment

Abandonment invites us to offer ourselves to Him as a fresh clean canvas, trusting Him with the plans and pictures.

Wow, that was GREAT.

Hey Julie! I've missed you...

Hope you are enjoying the holidays.


Laura said... Reply to comment

Amen, Julie! Fortunately for me, God had better plans for me than I did! I'm so glad He gave you new pictures to share...your pictures bless me so much!

Life is crazy, still getting ready for Christmas. But I'm trying to slow down and enjoy...

Praying you will too!

Love to you,


Sandy said... Reply to comment

How did you know I needed to read this today? Perfect for me!
Merry Christmas Julie, to you and your family.

Tiffany Stuart said... Reply to comment

Julie, your writing is from your heart. It's beautiful and there's such truth in it. You've just painted a picture for us. One worth following. Great!!!

Not my picture, but yours. I'm with you...Thank you.

Hugs and Merry CHRISTmas!

Tracy said... Reply to comment

Praise God whose plans for us are greater and better than anything we could ever plan or imagine. Those are capable hands, indeed. Praying for the grace to let go of my plans more than ever before in the year to come.

Blessings to you and your beautiful family for a CHRIST- filled Christmas.


LisaShaw said... Reply to comment


I'm a first time reader and I love your spirit which is obviously one with the Holy Spirit. As I read your message the word that continously flowed through my mind was SUBMITTED.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I look forward to reading more in 2009.