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Learning to Lean on God—Applying Proverbs 3:5–6 to Daily Life

Caitlin Bean

I believe that America’s greatest idols are self-autonomy and self-reliance. It is all too easy for our identity to become wrapped up in ourselves—to be “self-made” women: 

  • to be the best at what we set out to do 
  • to have a “perfect” self-care regime 
  • to be that healthy #bossbabe who drinks eight glasses of water a day
  • to have an immaculately clean house while being a fully present wife and mother

Our culture feeds us the lie that we only need to listen to our “personal truth” (whatever that is) to find happiness and wisdom. 

These messages constantly bombarding us make it difficult to hear and follow God. But we are called to “trust in the Lord with all [our] heart.” Moreover, we are told to “not rely on [our] own insight” but “in all [our] ways acknowledge him” (Proverbs 3:5).

What is the result of living in this radically countercultural way? 

God “will make straight [our] paths” (Proverbs 3:6). Straight paths. How comforting does that sound? 

I’m not sure about you, but I get wrapped up in the ways of the world and start comparing myself (my home and paint scheme, my marriage, wardrobe, children’s wardrobe, contents of our fridge, my muscle definition or lack thereof, my prayer life, and my sadly unannotated Bible) with others. Or I become distracted by people living with more adventure and material wealth than I have, and the paths of my life very quickly become anything but straight. The chaos I tune into manifests in my spiritual life and, in turn, my relationships. I become agitated, anxious, unhappy, resentful, even jealous. I bicker with my husband and do not let him lead me. I’m impatient with my daughter. I have little time to talk to God—and when I do, our conversation follows my agenda. 

No, there are no straight paths (though deep down, I long for them), just scribbles. 

And when I still my heart enough to realize I’m choosing the scribbles instead of the path He wants to lay before me, when I acknowledge that I am choosing noise over His still small voice and the world over His kingdom, I’m able to pause and return to this verse that speaks truth into my life: 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
(Proverbs 3:5–6)

My prayer is this: Lord, free me from my pride and the lie that I know what is best. Help me to trust in You with all my heart so that I can surrender every aspect of my life to You. And let everything I do acknowledge Your goodness. 

However, praying for something and living it does not necessarily coincide. The Lord knows that He needs to start small with my heart. With His gentle guidance, I can examine what needs to change to apply Proverbs 3:5–6 to my daily life. These are some ways I’ve found personally helpful:

  1. Reconciliation: It’s the restart I need. I need God’s grace and forgiveness to free myself from the idols of self-autonomy and self-reliance and the way the idolization of those two things manifests itself in my life. 
  2. The First Five Minutes: I give back to God the first five minutes of my day. When leaning on my insight, my day starts with scrolling or jumping right into my to-do list. Instead, I give God the first five minutes and don’t fill them with requests or agendas. I praise Him, thank Him, and adore Him—for the gift of a new day, my salvation, life, and the beauty of creation. It is amazing how beginning your day with gratitude for the Creator can set your day up for wonder, amazement, joy, and peace. 
  3. Social Media: I delete Instagram, Pinterest, and other apps from my phone. I’ve never deleted my accounts; maybe I will someday, but I frequently take intentional breaks from these platforms. It causes me to recalibrate and place my focus on life’s gifts: the people I love, my vocation as wife and mother, and my relationship with God.
  4. Daily Scripture: I recommit to reading the daily readings and making God’s Word the authority in my life. 

It’s just a start. But little by little, living out Proverbs 3:5–6 becomes easier as God chips away at my heart. When I trust God in all things, leaning on His understanding instead of my own results in peace and clear paths. It doesn’t mean everything is easy. Sometimes, the road veers off in a sharp, unexpected direction. But I hope that at the end of my life, I’ll look back and see how God made the path straight. 

Want a reminder of this important verse? Download this beautiful Scripture artwork. And find more free Scripture printables here

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