Let It Unfold

I get very anxious about life sometimes. I feel a driving urge to understand why I am here and what I am supposed to be doing. Sometimes I feel very unnecessary in this world with so many problems and I am not sure what to do next.

I recently saw a tweet from one of those groups that sends out a positive saying a day. Lots of them are cheesy and some of them I just flat out can’t get behind, but this one has stuck with me and to be honest- I can’t quit thinking about it.

“Life is a story to unfold, not a problem to solve.”

In the week or so since I saw this I have tried to think in that mindset. I always see life as something to figure out. I am the type who needs a plan. I want more control over my life and the things that are happening around me.

The past year I have felt very out of control. After all, I tried to make good decisions and prayed unceasingly and my mom died anyway. I tried to say and do the right things, but lost friends anyway. I tried to vote the right way, retweet the right messages and blog the truth, yet see the world at odds. I try to send money and aid, thoughts and prayers and still people suffer.

All around me life is a problem to solve and I am not solving anything.

And then I saw this tweet and thought, is my life just one big problem to solve, or can I do my best each day, watching the whole thing unfold as it happens?

When I go to a play or movie, I tend to get involved in the story. In a play or movie worth watching you get involved with the characters, you care about what happens to them and you see their conflicts and problems. You can only watch helplessly as whatever happens on stage or screen unfolds. You can not jump up on stage and change what is happening. (I guess you could, but you probably would not like the consequences!)

Being a passive observer is no way to live your actual life. Right?

We saw THE BOOK OF MORMON last night. I had seen it before, but the musical number “Turn It Off” hit me anew this time. I have blogged before about people who can see a problem or feel a feeling and just turn it off. They pretend the problem isn’t there, they ignore the emotions and hide from the facts. I can not.

I always wait for the person who can just turn off or hide their feelings to one day explode from all of the things they have stuffed down and hidden deep inside. I just don’t think that is any way to live. It certainly isn’t very authentic.

In thinking about letting life unfold, I guess I have thought about not trying to be so in control and certainly not pushing away feelings. To me it has meant not stressing about whether a certain thing “might” happen. After I have done the work, I have made a plan, I am trying to just let it unfold organically and just experience it rather than manage it.

When I feel an emotion, I am trying to let it run its course instead of turning it off too soon. Instead of searching so desperately and unsuccessfully for my “purpose” in life, my reason to even exist, I am trying to just use what I have and let the story unfold.

After all, God put me here for a reason. I may never know what that reason is. Maybe I shouldn’t know. What if my main reason has been fulfilled? If I knew that I had lived my purpose already, I’m afraid I would quit trying to do much of anything. But in not knowing, I just keep plugging along. If I knew that my purpose was an upcoming, specific event I would slack off until time for that event. Instead I have to try to do my best at each thing as it presents itself and hope that I do a good job at whatever is presented to me as it unfolds.

So instead of stressing out trying to solve the problem of what I am supposed to be doing with my life, I think I will just let the rest of the story unfold, trusting that God will be there to make sure I am ready with my best when it is needed most.

Trust is hard for me, solving problems is my thing. But maybe my life isn’t a problem to be solved. Maybe it never was. Maybe it is just one of many stories that I need to let unfold.

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Marietta is a graduate of the University of Montevallo with a BFA in musical theater. She has been performing for over 50 years on the stage and continues to perform, direct and teach. Marietta is married to Tim, has a son named Jon, and a cat named Penny.