Friday, June 2, 2017

for when you need courage to take the next step

When on a vacation with your extended family which includes 12 adults and just as many kids all of which are under the age of 10 and more than half of which are 5 years old and younger, peace and quiet is not something you count on achieving.  Though fun and energy are most definitely daily tasks that are being checked off, when your soul leans more to the introverted side and thoughts do not tend to come to fruition until quiet moments are found, a writer's heart, such as mine, assumes that another week will go by where that part of herself needs to be placed to the side so that the energy needed for creativity and pondering can be funneled instead to being in the moment and enjoying it to the fullest.  Are there those in the world who do not have to voluntarily transfer their mental energy on the daily? If you are one such soul, be thankful my friend.

However, my doubt was overcome by His promise yet again and on a morning with a cup of tea in hand I sat on the front steps in Florida air mixed with humidity, a faint breeze, and the mottled noises of a houseful of folks beginning their day and came away with one thought that has continued to grow since, "It's time to keep going forward, I promise I'll tell you if you need to stop."

He speaks friends.  When you listen, you hear.

One of my children not only needs step by step instruction, but he needs it clearly written and sequential in order to complete everything needed.  If instructions are spoken instead, he requires the time to complete one, maybe two at a time, before adding to the list.  If given too much at one time, all is forgotten and nothing will get accomplished.

I simultaneously love and get frustrated with this quality of his.  The love comes from my own inner need for order and lists and wanting to make sure everything is done that is needed to get done.  The frustration comes from not understanding how, even when it's the same routine over and over, there is not an immediate and habitual moving on to the next thing.  What is keeping that little mind from using past experiences and context clues to just keep going?

Can you see where I'm heading with this?  The dawn of understanding pieces of yourself often comes through observation of others.  This is not judgement, in its negative sense, it is the judging that brings understanding, wisdom earned through situational discernment with a good dose of humility on the side.

The Christian life is full of unknowns, not for our Creator of course as He wrote our stories before the beginning of time, but for us and our minds personally.  Situations that have not yet come to past, experiences that have not yet been lived through, and wisdom that has not yet been gained are all dotted along our paths to be.  Sitting there for their planned time and place.

However, like my precious boy, we can find ourselves waiting, hesitant to take the next step because of the uncertainty of what will happen when we do.  Whether we admit it or not--and I have a feeling most of us would admit it freely--there is a great desire for a list of steps.  A sure, written in stone, sign that says go and do this exact thing.  Forgotten are the Words left with us and the example of those gone before us.  Distrusting are we to the people placed in our lives presently that mentor and guide.  Even ourselves we doubt.  What if we did not really hear what we thought we heard?

So instead of using our own context clues from the information given, instead of allowing our habit of walking in the Spirit propel us forward, instead of living in Faith and taking our own "leap from the lion's head" we sit, and wait, and look for a 100% no fail guarantee.  Both instances, the childhood chores and our spiritual stalling, stem from immaturity.  Both do not just improve with age, but with practice as well.

There are times we are called to wait.  Where there is a deeply felt need to stop trying to constantly take control and to sit and be still instead.  I have experienced a season of wait myself.  Never is a true wait on the Lord wasted, because not only is the wait required for building up those lovely qualities of patience and contentment, within it is also a process of preparation.  Whether God is preparing your heart, mind, soul and strength for the next step or preparing other people and places for your arrival, there is work in the wait. Says Oswald Chambers, "To wait upon God is the perfection of activity.  We are told to rest in the lord, not to rust."

Some can sit, wait, and look for a lifetime.

"It never works to wait for God to do what he has clearly called you to do."  ~Paul David Tripp

For myself, there are three things possible on the horizon, three things firmly planted in my heart, and for almost a year I have been trying to discern which one was supposed to be first.  Agonizing over taking a secure step forward and instead circling around trying to pick the right path.

I do not know what has been placed in your heart, but I do know that if you have prayed about it, sought the counsel of another about it, and it is still firmly planted--assuming whatever it is is not completely heretical of course--that it's time to leap, it's time to keep moving forward trusting that He will tell you when to stop.

He promises to make those paths straight, not smooth or easy or quick, but straight to where He's guiding.

The end results might matter and they might not, what changes your heart the most is the walking forward when you do not know the way but ever Trusting that God does. So go, and in the words of the ever wise Will Ferrell, "Enjoy the process of your search without succumbing to the pressure of the results."

 I will be praying for you as you discern and take those next steps in Faith, pray for me.

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