Shake It Off: Moving Forward When Your Story Doesn’t Unpack How You Thought

 In Shake It Off, Terasha Burrell

One of my favorite things to do in Atlanta is riding my bike down the Atlanta Beltline. The Beltline is a paved trail that stretches across various parts of the city and connects many of our neighborhoods. It’s a city favorite for walking, running, and biking. While riding recently, I came to a section that I wasn’t aware had not been completed. I huffed staring at a ‘Road Closed’ sign. Tears welled as I looked around the sign and tried to see through the rubbish, scrap metal, and construction tape blocking off any more of the path. I had a full blown meltdown as I started at this sign. ROAD CLOSED. Why? When? How? It’s is not supposed to be like this. This felt so personal, and I was so disappointed. Let’s say that this was no longer about the city not yet getting to this section of the Beltline. 

In my own life, I’ve been staring at a road closed sign and navigating through disappointment. This disappointment broke my heart into a million pieces. This path was good. It had a few bumps and hills to climb, but when a road closed sign suddenly appeared, tears and questions filled my path. To make matters worse, there were so many people on similar paths as me, and I sat and watched where their signs direct them further on their journey. Everyone passed by me as happy as can be. 

Why did my path have to end?

Why am I not good enough?

Do I believe God is better than this?

Is there anything else for me beyond this?

These are all questions that have attacked me. I want answers I’m not even sure will help. But here’s what I have found and am learning to resolve in my heart: I can continue to stare at the road closed sign, or I can start to seek the One who knows how to navigate me toward and through a better path.

When our hearts are broken, we have to remember that God’s plans are not ours. We can ask many questions and try to rationalize our way to a fickle understanding, or we can trust God. I’m learning that He doesn’t want us to try harder to understand. Instead, I believe He wants us to trust deeper in His plans for our lives believing that where we see a road closed sign, He might use as an opportunity to place our feet on the path that He designed for us. This closed road is forcing me to trust God with my life and depend on Him to lead me directing my attention away from what’s going on in the lanes beside me.

How am I learning to shake it off in the midst of my story not unpacking how I thought it would and move forward? Sis, I wish I had a more profound answer for you, but I only have my truth… it’s one day and one step of faith at a time.

Some days these steps are taken on trembling feet, but I am moving forward accepting what God has allowed to end so I can fully embrace the new things that have begun. I am opening my hands to release everything that is not for me and keeping them open to receive what is. Some days these hands are filled with tears because I do not understand, but my faith tells me that my future is only unknown to me. I’m learning to trust God with His bigger plan. 

There are some chapters in our story where the villain, heartache, threatens to change the ending and make us believe that our road leads nowhere, but our victory is found in the truth that God will take everything that is meant to harm and turn it around for good. I write this as I stare at my own ‘Road Closed’ sign believing this pain is only for a moment, and this helps me redirect my attention to the Word that will light a new path. If this road is closed, then I trust God has a better one and won’t leave me as I walk down it. He will lead me. I do not know how, when, where, or why, but I trust Who. My heart is at ease knowing that I can trust the broken pieces of my heart and the uncertainty of my life to a good God who wants and has the best yet to come. 

Author: Terasha Burrell

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