How Folded Paper Will Change Your Life (It changed mine)

paper

So grab a piece of notebook paper. I’m going to share with you something that truly changed my life. I did this exercise a few years ago at the prodding of a wise business coach. In the moment it helped me form a giant AHA, but its repercussions stay with me today, and they inform the new direction I’m boldly stepping into. (More on that in the coming weeks).

Got your paper? Good. Now fold it in have down the long axis (north to south), so you have a left side and a right side.

On the left side write “What I Did.” On the right side write “What God did.”

Now, look back over 2015 and write down all the things you determined to do. Maybe it’s exercise or eating right. Maybe it’s getting more side jobs or pursuing a relationship. This best works when you’re writing down specific tasks, things you actively tried to accomplish. When I did the exercise I restricted it solely to my work goals.

Once you’re finished, write down what God did in 2015 that flat out surprised you, things you couldn’t predict, prayers answered, people placed in your life, a new perspective, a sin finally conquered. Although there may have been bits and pieces of your own effort, for the most part these are things mostly explained by God’s work in your life.

When I wrote my left list, I jotted down initiatives I had done, gimmicks I tried, lists I had tackled, books I had tried to promote. While I found a modicum of success in these efforts (and I wouldn’t counsel you just to sit on your behind and do nothing), I was shocked by how the God activity dwarfed my left list. He opened doors I could not have opened by my own wherewithal. He provided surprising opportunities. He connected me to amazing people and made a way for speaking engagements.

It made me yearn for something I couldn’t quite put my finger on at the time, but now I understand that longing more. It’s a desire for true, deep connectedness with the Father–a yearning to be near Him, listen to His prompts, and respond solely to His voice.

You see, we can spend our lives toiling in our own strength, accomplishing lists and being productive. But if we live ONLY in the realm of the left list, we will leave out God and His surprises. I wanted to move from the left hand margin of trusting solely in myself to the scary right hand side of the paper where God blurred the boundaries and rewarded faith-filled risk.

I’m trying today to move from left to right, from gumption to surrender, from self-initiative to responsiveness to the Spirit.

The other day I wavered, just to show you the struggle. I decided to trust God in a small way with finances related to this site, but I was afraid. I knew this decision would initially cut away my bottom line, but I had clearly sensed God say to simplify and prune this one thing. I’m the girl who gets things done, who, if she hears I should do something (particularly in marketing), I bootstrap myself and do it. It’s not in my natural bent to “disobey” the advice of experts. But I did it anyway, after a bit of wrestling.

And you know what? I feel FREE. And as I gave up control and fear, God didn’t magically provide my financial deficit. But He did change my perspective. I no longer wanted the numbers or the increase. I received His peace instead, which was so much better.

So my question to you is this: What’s on the left side of your paper, and what of that do you need to let go of? Or maybe better said, what prevents you from moving from the left to the right side where trusting in God becomes as easy as breathing?

 

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