Everything fits and I’m scared

A few weeks ago I got the itch to write about something that I realize I believe as deeply as I can believe anything right now; something that is my goal and grid for interpreting every single thought, event, problem, crisis, fear, frustration, dream, joy, and emotion of my life.

But now I’m scared because I don’t think I can do it justice. I’m afraid to sound like every trite ‘there’s-a-reason-for-it’ cliche ever heard and do more harm than good. I don’t like sounding trite. I don’t like doing harm. I’m seriously scared and I want my mommy.

Okay, end of morbid self-doubt and introspection. As TV judges sometimes say, “Ignore that last statement and do not consider it in your deliberations!” I know I could just delete it, but for some reason it seems important that you know how I feel. It must fit, but I don’t know how.

*   *   *   *

Everything Fits Even When It Doesn’t: A struggler’s guide to confusion, waiting, regret, and hopelessness.

In January I wrote an email asking subscribers to dot connector what they were struggling with. Many of you kindly responded.

You’re not alone

It seems funny to say that it’s a kindness to share what you’re struggling with, but a kindness it is because living can be a lonely confusing business and it’s good to know you’re not really alone. And the more you see the details and variety of what we all struggle with, the more you see our commonality and that maybe things are not quite as confusing as they appear.

Except it can then be especially confusing and frustrating when you put God in the middle and he’s supposed to be all-powerful and all-loving and all-knowing, and so how come everything isn’t all-great? Eh?

I spent some time one Saturday evening last month reading the emails and thinking of all our struggles, and of who God is. (That’s in contrast to my normal Saturday evening checking sports on my espn app and pretending I’m working, and so feeling superior because I’m not watching TV).

Be careful of thinking – you might discover what you believe

I woke up the next morning with a sentence in my head. It was a looooong sentence that summarized this thing I’m convinced of about how everything fits. I never thought of it in one sentence before, and I hate summary-maxim things because they’re way too simplistic (thus my fear). Yet sometimes they can be helpful.

That one sentence is the outline for what happens here these eight Mondays.

Here’s the sentence:

Everything about my life, everything that happens

– the family I was born into

– the circumstances I have experienced and find myself in

– my personality and DNA and wiring and gifting –

is engineered or permitted or governed by a sovereign, just, loving God who always has three things in mind

1) to develop my personal relationship and intimacy with him

2) to accomplish his purposes in the world, and

3) his own awesome, unmeasurable aims that are bigger than my ability to understand.

Back to the fear: This whole thing could sound like every poorly timed simplistic well-meaning cliche you hear when something horrible and unexplainable happens and someone says, “Well, God has a purpose for it.”

And the person suffering (sometimes you) thinks, “What? God made this happen? He wants me me to be unhappy and suffer?”

Or, “Gee thanks – and you know what? God has a purpose for your ugly mug, too.”

This is not something to throw out to someone who is in the middle of a big struggle

But it is something I can tell myself, and you can tell yourself too, if you want. And over these next eight Mondays I’m going to try to see this more for myself, and you’re invited to dwell with me on what it means that everything fits, even when it doesn’t, even in the middle of confusion, waiting, regret, and hopelessness.

We can understand it ourselves first, and believe it and live it, and then hold it in our hearts with grace when we see others struggling, but not clobber them over the head with it. Then if they ask, or it seems right, we can then share.

But first, WE have to have confidence that everything fits, even when it doesn’t. DO we believe it?

This IS something that can cultivate confidence and peace in the middle of your own struggle

I’m not saying you can always know how everything fits.

I am saying I believe you can be confident that everything fits. Because it does.

I’ll write on each part of that sentence progressively.

Now you:

Which part of that “Everything” sentence above is encouraging or challenging or confusing to you right now?


About the Author


Gary Morland helps you feel better about your most challenging family relationships, and helps you actually improve those relationships - all by adopting simple attitudes, perspectives, expectations, and actions (the same ones that changed him and his family).


  1. “2) to accomplish his purposes in the world”

    This is definitely the one I’m on a journey with at the moment. I so desperately want to serve Him, seek His kingdom first and do whatever I can to make Him known and see the fulfilment of “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”…

    And I’m so thankful that He uses those who are weak, those who are insignificant in the world’s eyes and those who don’t deserve His love or grace or mercy or power – because I am one of them.

    God bless.

  2. Christy Fitzwater

    I prayed for encouragement this morning, and here it is in your blog post. I was feeling insecure about my own blogging, and it never occurred to me that maybe God has me blogging for the purpose of me getting to know Him better. That was a profound thought for me this morning. I always thinking about writing as something I do for other people. This is so good -THANK YOU!!

  3. Great start to the series! I can’t wait to read more.

  4. Betsy

    . . . “sovereign, just, and loving God”. That is the part that gives me comfort. “Father Knows Best”, so I don’t have to fret, worry, stew, get-it-figured-out. Maybe, just trust and and relax. He will let me know what’s next, when it’s time. Thanks for reminding me that everything fits.

  5. m

    As always, very encouraging G!!! I think its hard 4 myself 2 believe, that HE has great plans 4 me (looong story lol) BUT HE DOES! As I sit here ruminating over what you have shared, & having just celebrated Happy Resurrection Day yesterday, HIS love overwhelms me… I am PRECIOUS 2 HIM!!! God bless <3 M

  6. Vanessa

    I am glad you shared your Long sentence with us. Many other blogs, websites, etc are doing April Fool’s Day stunts…trying to get you to believe lots of stuff. Your’s is real….although I do wonder if anyone will ignore due to April fools day? Unlikely if they have been following your blog…I would not think possible even if they found it only today. Just thought I’d mention it.

    • Hadn’t thought of that. What if the hope that everything could fit was an April Fools joke? Then we could laugh (or cry) and come back to the reality that everything is random and you’re on your own and good luck being self-sufficient enough to make this life work.

  7. Jillie

    Hi Gary! I’m new to your blog. You were recommended to me by a friend who knows my struggles, having come from a weekend-alcoholic family, where the weekends often began on a Thursday night. My mother ended up dead from combining alcohol with her prescription drug addictions. Heart attack at 44 years of age.
    The word “Everything” has confounded me from time to time. When I look at my life and remember ALL the hard things, it’s difficult to think that ‘every’ part of it has meaning and substance in the big picture. It’s like that Scripture well-meaning Christians so often use–“ALL things work together for GOOD…..”??? It takes a lot of soul-searching and delving deep, plus a lot of prayer, to make sense of some things that have happened in my journey. How glad I am that I don’t have to have all the answers here and now. That God does have my back. That He does have a purpose in it all, and maybe, one day, He’ll make it clear to me. But maybe not. And that’s ok.

    Looking forward to your series on this, Gary.

    • “And maybe not. But that’s ok.” For a long time my journey seemed disconnected pieces. The longer I go the more I see some sense. It’s probably up to 10-15%! Thanks Jillie.

  8. It’s encouraging to feel that I’m not alone in this; that God has a plan and I’m part of it. It’s my sense of belonging to a bigger piece of the pie that keeps me going; knowing that answers will be revealed, that I will understand, in time, what He wants or why things are they way they are. What’s challenging is to remember that I’m part of this life and that I’m not alone; that He is with me. Church on Sunday is my starting point for each week, but by Wednesday I feel like I’m floating away, unable to grasp what it is that I’m supposed to do during the week. That’s my challenge, to hold strong to my belief that everything fits and there is a reason for everything (not to put too fine a clichéd point on it). I really like your post. I’m very much looking forward to the rest of this series. Blessings.

  9. Karla Uphoff

    I am new here. Your e-book was recommended by another blog I follow.. Not sure which one. Maybe the one that teaches you a better way to clean your toilet. Anyway I wanted to thank you for being “real”. My husband and I just decided to get real yesterday. You see, we are currently separated due to his drinking and my lousy ways of trying to deal with it.

    The thing that gets me is how God is all over us right now. We can see and hear him everywhere. So I guess I will be curious if after being a Christian and “serving” for 30 years if now is going to be when God can really use us. Now that we are real.

    • Well you sure sound real! My experience is God gives me a chance to see if I mean it. And he gives grace with the chance. Thanks Karla.

  10. Mindy Seekford

    The part that speak to is that I know, even though my circumstances are really to be honest, the most extreme “out of my comfort zone” as they can be, God has used them to bring me closer to Him than I ever could imagine. That is what I remind myself of. My circumstances my be bad, but I’m so glad He use them to draw me closer to Himself.

  11. fdgoode

    “my personality and DNA and wiring and gifting” That is both challenging me and comforting me right now. Learning to be the me that I was created to be…and I am nearly 50! Looking forward to your series. I just popped over from you beautiful daughters’ sites and am so glad that I did.

  12. All of your sentence was encouraging….especially how God uses everything to draw us closer to him and to make us more Christlike.

  13. Kim

    I, too am new to your blog. It was introduced to me by your daughter Emily’s blog. Her book is very timely in my life. God is bringing me back to the same place on the mountain only higher up. Anyway, about your sentence. The first thing that popped into my head was, “well that’s scriptural”. Acts 17:26 says that God “set you up” (and me up too) for us to find to Him the easiest way possible “though He is not far away”. How beautiful. My next thought was, Thank you Jesus.

  14. lyricpdx

    A very big subject, Gary. I’ve been wrestling with this concept in one way or another since I was about six years old. For me, the conclusion I have come to is this: He is the potter and I am the clay, and because God is love, and I belong to Him, I can let go of control and questions and striving and just trust…and rest. The discipline is to keep this in the forefront of my mind. Praying for you as your write…

    • Well I’m all with that. Thank you!

      • lyricpdx

        I keep looking to click the “like” button and then realize I’m not on Facebook. :)

  15. Pam Cason

    The whole entire sentence was so very encouraging! Not a new thought or revelation for me, but a powerful reminder. EVERYTHING about my life, even the mistakes and fumbles, can be used in the hands of the Master Potter. And that thought just makes me smile.

    I so enjoy reading your words. Has anyone ever told you that you have the gift of encouragement? I believe you do. I’m always so uplifted and encouraged when I read what you’ve written. Thank you for putting it on the page for all of us to glean from.

    • Thanks Pam. The best things don’t have to be new, but can be the true old things that don’t change. Thx for your kind words.

  16. Natalie

    – my personality and DNA and wiring and gifting – personality and wiring in particular. Just seeing it in print brought a sigh of relief to my soul. Thank you.

  17. debi

    I loved your sharing about your initial fear in perhaps offending or making an-others pain sound like they should just get over it because it’s meant to be. I feel it’s very clear that is not your intent….I think the entire sentence bares repeating, often. If not for our suffering, pain etc….we would likely feel no need for God. I believe it’s in those times I grow closer to Him. I become aware good will come of it, and that God wants what is best for me. My faith has grown strongest in the most unhappy times of my life….WE don’t have to understand it all now…He will release the purpose’s in His time… I so look forward to your writing…glad I finally caught up :-) God be with you as you write.

  18. Jennifer

    I’m just getting the courage to interact here as I read these again, and probably not for the last time.

    I love your sensitivity to the “all encompassing nugget of wisdom” danger. Thank you for being gentle to those who have difficult events and people to navigate (whether past or present). I am thankful that I can know that it fits, even if I never get to know the hows or whys (not that li’l old inquisitive me won’t try to figure it out).

    The most important part of this post, the part that I cling to with all my heart is: [Everything] is engineered or permitted or governed by a sovereign, just, loving God.

    It’s the promise of the truth of His wisdom, power, justice, and loving character I need to trust in most.

  19. Elizabeth

    Hi Gary – found you through your talented daughter’s blog http://www.thenester.com. I printed out your “long sentence” and put it on my mirror so I will see it and be reminded every day. Thank you for this – it puts into words the hope I look for in my life.


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