everything happens for a reason

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I laugh every time I read this (confession: I find many of these cartoons seriously hilarious). Way back in the day, I loved phrases like "everything happens for a reason." Now I realize that a simple phrase was not something to live my life by or find comfort in. Since I've grown up a bit (hah .. but seriously) and my faith has become a legit relationship with God, he has changed my perspective on all sorts of stuff.

Phrases like this bother me now. Is that okay? I know some people live by it, but I wince when someone is told to "follow their heart" or "look inside" themselves for the answer. Actually, I'm pretty sure my heart has gotten me into some not-so-great situations and looking inside myself has made me more depressed than anything.

Instead of looking inside myself for some sort of solution or comfort, I look to Christ. I know my identity is in him. Looking to myself I will always come up short, but looking to him I am always fulfilled. In his promises I always find comfort (Matthew 11:28-29, Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 10:9, Matthew 6:25-34).

As for the following your heart thing? I like Nicole's blog post about this mantra. She talks about how relying solely on our emotions, or "following your heart," might not be the wisest choice. She also has a post on why "just be yourself" isn't the best slogan either. I really appreciate her pointing out why these kinda suck (word choice is mine) and why God desires more for our lives than "just being yourself" or "following your heart."

As for everything happening for a reason? I mean, yeah, kinda ... maybe not. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 I don't believe that things are just happening for a reason. I believe that we can live our lives intentionally, and that God is working in us and with us to bring glory to his name.

What do you think? Am I way off the mark? Or do you agree and avoid such mantras?


  1. suzie, thank you so much for the sweet comment on my post :)
    it totally made my day!!
    i also love yours ^^^ . I AM THE SAME WAY when people say "follow your heart". it's such a strange phrase to me now - if i followed MY heart for everything... i'd be sunk. i know from experience.

    ps. bri is THE CUTEST isn't she? yesterday i had to spend the morning transcribing that everygirl interview from phone recording to type. it took forever but she was so interesting that it made the time fly. i also dream of going to blogshop one day, maybe next year, maybe.....

    1. Ahh! That makes me happy that you got to be a part of the interview (even if it was just typing it out). And thanks for relating! It can be painful but good to learn that our heart isn't always "right."

      Also, I love your dream because I realllllly want to take blogshop! Like, legitimate goal of mine. We should go together (gimme some time though - I have yet to get a mac or photoshop). =]

  2. I mostly agree. The only place to get useful advice on how to live our lives is, of course, the Bible. Just accepting any old mantra won't do any good. It's on a case-by-case basis.

    I'm a little confused by your last paragraph though. Isn't that the purpose(giving God glory), so to speak, that everything happens toward? So I don't think that particular proverb is necessarily wrong, which speaks nothing towards whatever connotations and meanings people have been given it since. If you mean that you don't believe that things are "just happening" with no directional force pushing them that way then I agree.

    I think part of why we have any hope at all is that God has this overarching plan of redemption for his creation which, along with giving Him glory, results in our salvation, which is pretty in-arguably good for us. Coincidentally, I just read the preceding verses after typing that and I think that's what that chapter is getting at(verses 19-21). I want to dig into that more to make sure I'm understanding it right.

    To what extent God wills things to happen versus our own role in their progression(to put it another way, is it possible for our will to thwart God's?) has been a historically loaded question to me, so I might just be over-thinking it. Predestination/Free Will is confusing, but I believe it's worth thinking about.

    I'd be very interested to your thoughts in response, if only to make sure I'm understanding you correctly.

    P.S. Still looking forward to reading that email whenever it's coming. I'll text you later to find out when a good time is to skype and catch-up.

    1. I need to figure out how to be waaaaay more concise.

    2. I see what you are saying. In terms of everything happening to give God glory, then yes, that totally works! I like that.
      (I know this post kinda opens up fairly confusing/controversial stuff...) But I was moreso referring to things just "happening," because I don't think that's the case (like you said, loaded). Mostly, I don't like that the phrase is often used as an excuse or as a comfort, if that makes sense.

    3. Good to know I understood you correctly then and that we're mostly on the same page. This is all a much more confusing topic, with more distinctions than you can shake a stick at, than is possible to discuss in the comments section of a blog though.

      As for using that phrase as a comfort(although used in what way as a comfort needs to be dissected), I have to admit that I've been doing that for the past few months(especially the last week when I ended up undoing/deleting something I'd spent 2.5 months working on, ugh). Is it being used as the comfort or the thing that points me to God who is the comfort? After all, God said that to Jeremiah as nothing seemed to go right for him as a "Don't worry Jeremiah, I got this" kind of thing. So I don't necessarily think it's wrong to use it as a comfort, as long as we're fully comprehending its use and who it points towards.