I was the little perfectionist growing up. Everything had to be done right, so I took risks in secret (because if I failed, nobody will know), hid unfavorable consequences to my actions, and cheated my way out of my mistakes. All to present a picture of perfection because I believed that if I wasn’t, I would get punished or lose the love and friendship of those around me.
I had this cassette tape of children’s song’s and one of my favorite songs on it was “Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be Will Be)” and it goes like this:
Que sera sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera sera
What will be, will be
In my little girl perfectionist heart, this song told me that if the future doesn’t turn out right, it’s okay. What will happen will happen. We can’t control it. We’re under the mercy of a powerful God. So in the end, I’m not to blame for anything.
Aside from the fact that a therapist would have a lot to unpack from that, one of the Bible passages I’ve clung to when I first heard it was Matthew 6:25-34, aptly titled in the NIV as “Do Not Worry” (emphasis added):
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
The Bible also has a lot to say about planning, and if we put it all together, it boils down to this. Planning is good when we plan the noble things of God and to diligently number our days, but we should lift up every plan into the hands of God and trust in His grace and omnipotence.
I tried to get everything just right. To make the right decisions. To do the right things at just the right time. To be the right kind of person. Then “Que Sera Sera” happened. Things outside my control took a sledgehammer to my perfectly crafted world and it all crumbled. I was so angry at God, and then so desperate to reorient myself with a new worldview, that I focused on how tough my situation was. But now, I think God was having a tougher time teaching me about grace. About God’s que sera sera.
Que sera sera. Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see. It’s God’s. We plan and prepare, but we also trust in a powerful God who is Grace and Mercy and Provider. Whether life is great or life is tough, whether we do well or we fail, whether our plans are followed or they fall through, we can always count on God. We can lean on God. We can throw up our hands in praise or in prayer and say, “Que sera sera. I’m in God’s hands anyway.”